Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Review: 'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest' by Stieg Larsson

"I traverse the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice," -- Proverbs 8:20

I assume that you know there are two earlier books in this trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire. If you didn't know that, read those books first.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest deals with the consequences of the violent episode at the end of The Girl Who Played with Fire where Lisbeth Salander meets her father and brother. While that battle within the family would normally play itself out among those three, modern society isn't likely to permit that. Too many other agendas need to be served. This book recounts how those who want to take advantage of the situation face off against those who want to see justice done.

Along the way, you'll find yourself thinking long and hard about what doing justice means to someone who has been dealt as bad a hand by her family and government as Lisbeth Salander has been. Stieg Larsson clearly has that purpose in mind as he develops a resolution that's as much social commentary as it is a suspense story.

Lisbeth will continue to amaze you.

I found that story to be very intricate and complex. You may have to remind yourself from the earlier books who some of the characters are. Although it was rewarding in the end, a simpler, shorter story would have worked better for me. This book came across as though it could have used more structural editing, excising major plot lines.

Hang on the end and you'll be glad you did. Stieg Larsson's monumental work of imagination will leave you wishing he were around to write a fourth book in the series. Perhaps someone else will be asked to do so. I hate the thought of not reading about Lisbeth Salander as a character in new stories.

Great series! I must admit, though, that this was by far my least favorite of the three books. Don't get your hopes up too high.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Donald Mitchell. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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