Book Review – The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (Millennium III) by Stieg Larsson

First published, 2007

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

In this third instalment of the Millennium series, the last written wholly by the original author, Stieg Larsson (who died suddenly at the age of fifty in 2004), we find erstwhile, antisocial and much-abused heroine, Lisbeth Salander, beginning the road to recovery from the shocking encounters of book two, The Girl Who Played With Fire. Not going to spoil it for anyone currently reading it but book two is dynamite.

In The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest, Salander is in hospital, looking for a means of communicating with the outside world, while absolute rotters Dr Peter Teleborian and the Section do their best to discredit Lisbeth and lock her up for good. Meanwhile, Mikael Blomkvist is writing his book about Salander’s devastating history, to be released at the beginning of a trial that’s bound to rock the nation. And Erika Berger, having started her new high-powered job at Svenska Morgen Posten, has drawn the obsessive attention of a misogynistic stalker.

Gosh, it all happens, doesn’t it?

As ever, Stieg Larsson has woven a fabulous cast into an astonishing, jaw-droppingly original story. Sadly, I did struggle through some of this 746 page brick. Strangely, it wasn’t the length that challenged me. There were quite a few scenes – especially those including descriptions of the structure of Swedish government and the secret service that just lagged for me. There was lots of complex, intricate information which slowed the story to a dead halt and intruded upon the narrative. It was enough to make me wonder if another writer had filled in the blanks in an incomplete manuscript and sought to stamp their own authority on it with a total change in style. But no, I was wrong.

I’m not without understanding: fact is, it is important to understand the structure of the various organisations that come into play within the story – to see how deeply the corruption runs, but it felt like an unceremonious info dump, spread across several chapters. That said, I wouldn’t have missed those last hundred pages for the world.

Five stars for the story and the characters. Three stars for the plodding informative bits. Meet in the middle, we’ll call it a four.