The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

By Stieg Larsson, translated by Reg Keeland

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Knopf, c2007, 2010

Genre: Suspense, thriller, mystery

Series: Millennium trilogy; 3

ISBN: 9780307269997

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 563 (plus 2 pages of notes)

Setting: Stockholm and Göteborg, Sweden

Time period: Contemporary – around 2005

Plot summary: Even as Lisbeth Salander lies in critical condition after taking a bullet to the head, the secret organization that made her life hell as a child, still plots against her.  Her immediate concern, however, is her father – Zalachenko – two doors down in the same hospital.  She also has police problems.  Fortunately, Salander has help.  Mikael Blomkvist and his sister Annika Giannini both help Salander in their own ways.  There is also a whole team of people eager to help her online in ways in which Blomkvist and his friends have little skill.  Contacting them will be tricky without either a computer or internet, though.  Salander can receive no visitors in the hospital and will be transferred to prison to await her trial once she has recovered.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Fast pace, in general, but a bit more erratic than the previous book.  The beginning picks up right from where the last book ended – so it starts with a fast pace.  It then slows a bit as new characters and situations are introduced only to increase once again.

Characterization: Told in third person from multiple perspectives.  The primary perspectives continue to be Salander’s and Blomkvist’s.  Erika Berger has a much larger role in this book and many new characters are introduced.

Language: Terse.

Frame: The frame continues to be dark and destructive with everything which has occurred in previous books, however the story offers more glimmers of light in this book.  The Swedish title for this book – Luftslottet som sprängdes – means “air castle that blew up” – and hints at a possibility for justice.  However, the original title for the first book (translated into English as Men who Hate Women) continues to be relevant with this book.

Tone: Tense, yet hopeful.

Story line: This is the third installment of a very suspenseful story filled with many twists, turns, and surprises and deals with corruption, misogyny, and revenge.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Political corruption — Fiction.

Revenge — Fiction.

Suspense fiction.

Similar authors:

Books suggested from a NoveList article “Murder with a Foreign Accent III” by Merle Jacob which are not police procedurals:

Yrsa Sigurdardottir – Last Rituals (Icelandic)

Johan Theorin – Echoes from the Dead (Swedish)

Declan Hughes – Ed Loy mysteries which begins with The Wrong Kind of Blood: An Irish Novel of Suspense (Irish)

Recommendations by The Book Seer

Recommendations given by LibraryPoint

Personal notes: I am so sad that there will not be any more of these books coming out.  Lisbeth Salander is a wonderfully interesting character – even when she’s stuck in a hospital bed.  I will miss reading about her adventures.  Having finished this trilogy, I can now see how it is that Larsson wrote all three of these books before bringing them to a publisher.  These three books really do just tell one incredibly long and convoluted story.

Other (diversity, themes, websites): Diversity – socially challenged (extreme introversion), hackers, Swedes, bi-sexuals

A website for and about Stieg Larsson.

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