Wednesday, July 7, 2010

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


Lisbeth Salander - the heart of Larsson's two previous novels - lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She's fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she'll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge - against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.
Finally, it's over and I'm a little relieved. I didn't like this one as much as the first two but I am glad that I read it and that the story was wrapped up for me. I really was afraid that there would be unanswered questions left hanging. I also wondered if some brave soul would try and continue the adventures of Lisbeth and Mikael as Larsson had planned. I don't believe that's the case.

Obviously, I had a few issues with Hornet's Nest. There was too many boring patches sprinkled about in Hornet's Nest; all the Swedish governmental history I encountered here has already left my brain as I have practically no retention for uninteresting bits. Some of it was actually relevant to the plot but it didn't do anything for me. I also didn't like the title. Yes, I know it's extremely picky of me but it implies that Lisbeth is the one who keeps causing the trouble when in fact Lisbeth is the real victim of this series.

Lisbeth finally gets to grow up by the end of Hornet's Nest. I really appreciated that. The circumstances of Lisbeth's childhood and treatment by the state kept her from being an adult in the eyes of other people and in her own.

On the whole, I did enjoy reading this one. Some twisty plots and resolution made it a satisfactory end to the Millennium series. Earlier today I watched the Swedish film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and was pleasantly surprised with it. I'm not sure though if anyone not familiar with the book would have been able to follow everything and they had to edit tons of stuff out to manage to fit it into a reasonable movie length (it was still two and a half hours long). The actors picked to play Lisbeth and Mikael were both good and well-suited for their roles. So far, there has been Swedish movies made of the first two books and there is even a television program called Millennium airing in Sweden. Daniel Craig has been picked to play Mikael in the US version that is to be directed by David Fincher with a release date in 2012.

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