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

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The stunning third and final novel in Stieg Larsson's internationally best-selling trilogy.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 Stockhol...

Title:The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Reviews

  • Grace Tjan

    What I learned from this book (in no particular order):

    1. You can use duct tapes to close up serious wounds; they keep the blood in and the germs out.

    2. You can be shot in the head and STILL have photographic memory, though annoyingly, you will forget the solution to that pesky Fermat's Theorem that you have just discovered.

    3. Congenital analgesia is a useful condition to have for mafia henchmen and Bond villains.

    4. Muscular, one meter eighty-four tall Latina policewomen who can out-wrestle a ma

    What I learned from this book (in no particular order):

    1. You can use duct tapes to close up serious wounds; they keep the blood in and the germs out.

    2. You can be shot in the head and STILL have photographic memory, though annoyingly, you will forget the solution to that pesky Fermat's Theorem that you have just discovered.

    3. Congenital analgesia is a useful condition to have for mafia henchmen and Bond villains.

    4. Muscular, one meter eighty-four tall Latina policewomen who can out-wrestle a man are HOT.

    5. Middle-aged, out of shape Swedish journalists are powerful chick magnets.

    6. Threesomes and other bedroom antics involving leather, especially if you are stupid enough to record them, WILL come back to haunt you.

    7. “Statistics showed that the absolute majority of people who harassed women were men.” Yes, we know it, that barring a few notable exceptions, most men are SADISTIC PIGS, PERVERTS AND RAPISTS!

    8. ”The majority of poison pen artists were either teenagers or the middle-aged.” Only people between 26 and 54 years of age are crazy enough to become stalkers.

    9. Amazons are cool because they were willing to cut off their right breasts to be better archers. They also liked to copulate with random men to make babies.

    10. Meatballs with potatoes and Lingonberry sauce are good Swedish food.

    BUT SERIOUSLY,

    this final book in the Millennium Trilogy is a let down compared to its predecessors. The conspirators who protected Zalachenko and committed Salander into the asylum are revealed early on in the novel, thus removing any sense of mystery. The pair of elderly, terminally ill men who lead them are so out-gunned, out-maneuvered and out-hacked by the good guys from the beginning that there is hardly any suspense left. Salander herself spent the majority of her time on a hospital bed, convalescing from the shot in the head that she received from Zalachenko. The previous books were able to succeed largely because of the peculiar originality of her character and the outrageous stunts that she pulled. With those elements missing, what is left is a rather predictable police procedural filled with tedious bureaucratic wrangling and dull talking heads. The pace picks up a bit with the trial and the novel ends with a sorely needed action piece that provides a closure to Salander’s dark past, but it is nowhere near the level of the exciting episodes that preceded it. Still, if you have read them, you will want to read this one too, if only to get a satisfying ending for Salander, Blomkvist and other characters that we have came to know from the series.

    My review of

    and

  • Georg

    It seems to be unfair to rate the two first Millenium-novels by five stars and then give only three stars for the last one. On the other hand it is not fair to write two brilliant books and then publish a 600 pages long epilogue without much of a new story, either.

    600 pages look like a long story, but if you skip the 300 cups of coffees Micke and his friends make, stir and drink, if you skip the complete index of the Stockholm city-map and if you skip the subplot of Erika and her stalker (which

    It seems to be unfair to rate the two first Millenium-novels by five stars and then give only three stars for the last one. On the other hand it is not fair to write two brilliant books and then publish a 600 pages long epilogue without much of a new story, either.

    600 pages look like a long story, but if you skip the 300 cups of coffees Micke and his friends make, stir and drink, if you skip the complete index of the Stockholm city-map and if you skip the subplot of Erika and her stalker (which yields nothing to the main story) it boils down to 250 pages at most.

    Some trivia questions you will answer completely wrong if you have not read this book:

    1. If you are in hospital and your father who wants to kill you lies in the room next to you, what would you do?

    a) Call the police/a friend/your lawyer for security.

    b) Keep quiet and arm yourself with a pencil.

    2. Imagine you are the most famous reporter in Sweden and you are after the biggest story of this otherwise story-free country. What would you do?

    a) Keep my mobile switched on in case something new happens or someone needs my help.

    b) Always switch it off so I have at least some rest when it’s dark outside.

    3. If you are a lawyer and you are in possession of a secret document which can destroy part of the secret service (and can save the freedom of your client), what would you do?

    a) I will put the only copy I have in my briefcase and take a walk.

    b) I copy it several times on my hard-drive, some CDs and my USB-stick and make some further printed copies before I take a walk.

    And: Where is Camilla?

  • j

    These books really shouldn't work. Stieg Larsson is a very weird writer. He likes to tell us absolutely everything someone is doing. If Stieg wrote the story of my morning, it would go like this:

    "Joel woke up around 7:45 a.m. and looked at the clock. He decided he didn't need to get up yet and hit the snooze button. When the alarm sounded again, he dragged himself out of bed and used the toilet. He brushed his teeth and then dressed in a blue striped shirt, black tie and flat front dress slacks

    These books really shouldn't work. Stieg Larsson is a very weird writer. He likes to tell us absolutely everything someone is doing. If Stieg wrote the story of my morning, it would go like this:

    "Joel woke up around 7:45 a.m. and looked at the clock. He decided he didn't need to get up yet and hit the snooze button. When the alarm sounded again, he dragged himself out of bed and used the toilet. He brushed his teeth and then dressed in a blue striped shirt, black tie and flat front dress slacks he'd purchased on sale at Kohl's. He made himself a cup of coffee, fired up his 13-inch Macbook laptop and checked his email. He had 14 messages. 11 of them were advertisements from various mailing lists or spam emails encouraging him to enlarge his penis. One message was from his mother and two more were shipping notices for books he'd purchased from Amazon.com. He read the note from his mother but decided to reply later. He then deleted all the messages but the two from Amazon and closed his laptop. He sat on the couch and stared into space, drinking his coffee and thinking."

    Most writers would probably start the scene several paragraphs later, when I finally get to work (that's where the real excitement happens! I check even MORE email!). (Plus it turns out I'm not even a main character.) But for some reason, this style is, I don't know, endearing instead of annoying. I love the way he tells us every time Mikael has a cigarette or what he likes on his sandwiches. And hey, at least I know what brand of cell phone everyone is using.

    It's kind of weird how the series wound up being not at all what I was expecting. Book one was closest, a serial killer story that was nevertheless a weird mash-up of political potboiler and are-the-lambs-screaming-Clarice murder fun. But then book two was mostly about the internal politics of the Swedish police and media industries. And the big climax of the trilogy comes down to an incredibly extended legal thriller, Grisham-style. I assume. I've never read a John Grisham book.

    But really, everyone knows why the books work, and it's because of the characters. Stieg approached the whole trilogy as a sort of manifesto about the injustices heaped upon women in Swedish society, and illustrates them via a host of compelling, level-headed, fairly well-rounded women who are fun to read about even when they spend every other page having sex with the Stieg stand-in. Everyone loves Lisbeth, of course, and this installment does a good job of fleshing out her back story and explaining how exactly one winds up a tattooed, antisocial computer-hacking genius with an insatiable hunger for revenge and Billy's pan pizza.

    This is an excellent wrap-up to Lisbeth's story and the trilogy, leaving exactly one thread hanging, and a small one at that, which is remarkable considerng it's number three in a planned run of 10. It leaves Mikael and Lisbeth in a great place, and pays off pretty much everything that was established over the previous two books. That it does so with a histrionic courtroom scene, all the better.

    I don't read legal thrillers but I love courtroom scenes in movies, especially when judges say stuff like "I'm going to allow it, but you'd better be going somewhere with this." No one says that here, but only because apparently you can do whatever the fuck you want in a Swedish courtroom without bothering to talk to the judge at all. On the bright side, a flustered prosecutor does break out another old chestnut --"This is highly irregular!" -- that almost makes up for it.

    So, yeah, I'm a little sad that Lisbeth has stalked off to that big Ikea-furnished apartment in the sky to join her creator. And I wish Stieg didn't eat quite so many of the fatty sandwiches and Billy's pan pizzas he loved detailing so much (hey, write what you know). If book 4 never emerges from that mythical laptop, though, this is a pretty good place to end things.

  • Kemper

    Lisbeth Salander, we hardly knew ye.

    It seems like a particularly cruel joke that Steig Larsson died shortly after getting a deal to publish his Millennium Trilogy. Would he have continued on with these tales of Salander and journalist Mikeal Blomkvist if he would have lived? Unless the rumors are true about Larsson’s long-time girlfriend having a laptop with a fourth book saved on it stuck in a safety deposit box somewhere as she fights with his family over the cash cow this series has become, w

    Lisbeth Salander, we hardly knew ye.

    It seems like a particularly cruel joke that Steig Larsson died shortly after getting a deal to publish his Millennium Trilogy. Would he have continued on with these tales of Salander and journalist Mikeal Blomkvist if he would have lived? Unless the rumors are true about Larsson’s long-time girlfriend having a laptop with a fourth book saved on it stuck in a safety deposit box somewhere as she fights with his family over the cash cow this series has become, we gotta assume that this is the last we’ll see of Larsson’s dynamic duo. And it is a crying shame because Salander has quickly become one of my all-time favorite characters.

    This one picks up almost immediately after the events of

    , and I can’t say much about the plot without spoiling that one. (Anyone interested in this series should read them in order if at all possible.) As the title indicates, Salander started an almighty shit storm in the last book. The anti-social, brilliant, violent, revenge-driven hacker has managed to kick off a constitutional crisis that shocks the Swedish government to the very highest levels and threatens numerous deserving douche bags with exposure of past crimes. Atta girl, Lisbeth!

    Meanwhile, Blomkvist recruits a number of unlikely allies as he tries to save Lisbeth by publishing her true story as he plays a variety of dangerous cat-and-mouse games with the people trying to shut her up for good. Of course, his biggest headache will be convincing the pain-in-the-ass Salander to cooperate in trying to save herself.

    Oddly enough, each book in the trilogy reads like a different type of genre story.

    is a traditional whodunit mystery with modern twists.

    was more of a fast-paced action thriller. And this one reads more like a legal suspense novel, including an incredible trial scene. There’s an overall arc to the three books with events from the first one not paying off until near the end of this one, but they have three distinct personalities.

    Despite being over 550 pages, it reads quickly, but it isn’t flawless. There’s a sub-plot with Blomkvist’s friend and sometime lover Erika Berger being the victim of a stalker as she struggles with a new job as a newspaper editor that seems out of place with the rest of the book.

    And there’s two other things holding this novel back. First is that the heart of the these books is the character of Salander. While Blomkvist and the supporting characters are all engaging enough, it’s Lisbeth that made these books a cut above the normal mystery/crime thrillers. But circumstances here keep Salander out of the main action for most of the story. It’s a shame that we didn’t get more of her in Larsson’s last book.

    Second, even though Salander and Blomkvist are the main characters, in the three books, they’ve only got to work together directly for about half of one novel. They get very few scenes together other than that, and that odd couple aspect was a great part of the first book and their unlikely friendship is a key driver to the plots of all three novels so it’s weird to realize that they spent more time apart than together.

    Despite these points, I still loved these books and their slightly off-beat structure. I only wish that Steig Larsson was alive and sitting in Sweden on a pile of money as he churned out more of these terrific thrillers

  • Ellen

    to include link to Nora Ephron's very funny piece ("The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut") from

    :

    You’re probably depressed when, in the space of 3 or 4 weeks, you leave the house only when absolutely necessary, and read about 30 books – 90% of which are crap, including 15 books by Harlan Coben, a grade Z mystery writer. Even worse, you read Coben’s entire Myron Bolitar series, which is the equivalent of reading the same

    to include link to Nora Ephron's very funny piece ("The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut") from

    :

    You’re probably depressed when, in the space of 3 or 4 weeks, you leave the house only when absolutely necessary, and read about 30 books – 90% of which are crap, including 15 books by Harlan Coben, a grade Z mystery writer. Even worse, you read Coben’s entire Myron Bolitar series, which is the equivalent of reading the same book nine times in a row. If you could survive it, shooting yourself in the head the same number of times might be more productive.

    Of course, this helps explain my initial hostility toward David Foster Wallace's title essay, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” because—given the same assignment—I probably would have clocked just as many hours in cabin 1009, creeping out only to take far less brilliant potshots at the touristas. I get agoraphobia, and Wallace's coping strategies were just a little too familiar.

    Among this book wallow, I read

    , having read Stieg Larsson’s first two books a couple months ago. Larsson’s third book is akin to re-watching a long movie, with a somewhat predictable and semi-satisfying ending. You know what’s going to happen, so it’s just a matter of letting it unfold. Unfold may be too kind a verb. I need a verb here that conveys time passing very slowly – a bit like Marvell’s description of time in the first third of “To His Coy Mistress” when the would-be lover muses on the possibility of according two hundred years apiece to properly adoring his mistress’s breasts.

    There’s really no way to spoil this book given that its outcome is pretty damn evident, but rather than provoke complaints I’ll provide some quiddity.

    : Forgive me for writing ill of the dead, but come on. I thought the Godfather was the male bible! You go to the mattress, you don’t sit with your back to a door, and you learn life’s lessons of violence, murder, and mayhem. For example, you figure out that if someone, like Lisbeth Salander, who can apparently do anything and makes Rambo look like an ineffective twinkie, is *theoretically* immobile you put a guard outside her hospital room, and YOU DON’T HAVE HER PATHOLOGICALLY WARPED & EQUALLY DANGEROUS FATHER TWO ROOMS AWAY. Did you learn

    from these movies, Larsson?

    : To borrow from

    , the bad news about cholesterol has not yet reached Sweden. They eat sandwiches – morning, noon, and night, and these aren’t ordinary sandwiches, but sandwiches that are serious contenders for KFC’s double down. Throughout the first two books, and for the first third of the last book, we get a steady array of sandwiches complete with descriptions of their ingredients. One sandwich – toast with orange marmalade, cheese, and avocado – sounded so interesting that it prompted one of my few ventures out of the house so that I could get the ingredients. As awful as it sounded, it’s good. ...The others, though. Gawd. Cheese is the primary ingredient. How about a nice sandwich of cheese, caviar, and a hard-boiled egg? Cheese and liver sausage? Cheese and pickles? Cheese and liver pate?

    However, the regularity with which the sandwiches surface seems to be a narrative crutch. Larsson hauls out the sandwiches whenever his characters need to ponder something ponderously. It also gives Kalle Blomkvist something to do when he’s not boinking the main characters.

    Despite the serious editing needs of the third book in particular, I enjoyed the trilogy. Lisbeth Salander is an interesting character, and her slim presence in the third book contributed to its sluggish pace.

    Larsson’s books are escapist literature to be sure, but a few steps up from Harlan Coben. 2.5 stars.

  • Will Byrnes

    This is the third (completed) novel of what Stieg had hoped would be a ten-volume opus. At the end of the last book, Lisbeth Salander had been shot by her evil and well-toasted natural father, a former Soviet spy who had been granted immunity in Sweden in return for handing over information. We pick up the story here as she arrives at an ER with several wounds, including a bullet wound to the head, with the bullets still inside.

    Don’t even try reading this if you have not read volumes 1 and 2. T

    This is the third (completed) novel of what Stieg had hoped would be a ten-volume opus. At the end of the last book, Lisbeth Salander had been shot by her evil and well-toasted natural father, a former Soviet spy who had been granted immunity in Sweden in return for handing over information. We pick up the story here as she arrives at an ER with several wounds, including a bullet wound to the head, with the bullets still inside.

    Don’t even try reading this if you have not read volumes 1 and 2. There are many references to characters from those tales, and one can easily get lost among the many, many named characters here. The first hundred pages or so of this book seemed to me a bit of catch-up exposition. But hey, the novel is 563 pps. A little expo won’t kill ya. Once the story gets rolling it is a locomotive, picking up steam with each chapter.

    There is a diversity of action and character focus. There are the usual bedroom shenanigans, although that seemed reduced this time around. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist joins with other investigators, public and private, to get to the bottom of why the dastardly Zalachenko was officially protected for so many years, and why Lisbeth Salander was forced to pay a harsh price for his existence. Will the baddies get their comeuppance? Will Lisbeth hack into your computer, maybe get herself a new tat? Although the underlying concerns are serious, secretive, autocratic tendencies in Swedish government, wide-ranging societal hostility towards women, this is a fast-paced and riveting legal and journalistic action yarn, a page turner, populated with a wide spectrum of interesting characters. Fasten your seat-belts. Enjoy the buzz.

  • Shayantani Das

    Dearest Steig Larsson,

    I absolutely hate you! But,I think I love you too. While every author has some characteristic quality, yours seem to be to make readers pissed at you. Ever since I picked up the 1st book of this Millennium saga, I have regretted my decision countless times. You have forced me to bang my head on the wall, pull my hair, throw your books at the end of the room, and then pick it up again and read it like a mad woman, totally forgetting the outside world. You have left me with s

    Dearest Steig Larsson,

    I absolutely hate you! But,I think I love you too. While every author has some characteristic quality, yours seem to be to make readers pissed at you. Ever since I picked up the 1st book of this Millennium saga, I have regretted my decision countless times. You have forced me to bang my head on the wall, pull my hair, throw your books at the end of the room, and then pick it up again and read it like a mad woman, totally forgetting the outside world. You have left me with so many contradicting emotions, kept me awake at night, and if my predictions are correct, I will be thinking about you, this series and your incorrigible characters for at least 2 weeks now.

    I must commend you for your qualities, though. No one has ever created such impressive and realistic female characters. Lizbeth is always an inspiration, but I think you did an excellent job with all the other characters introduced in this book too. I must also state that you achieved the impossible task of making me like Berger. Indeed, that is a miracle! When you started explaining stuff about her leaving Millennium, I was totally mad at you. I couldn’t wait to get back to Salander’s part. Yet, you went on to create such realistic incidences! Berger’s problems go nowhere near Lizbeth’s, but they seem to be problems right out of real life circumstances. Then you introduce characters like Linder and Giannini, who are in one word amazing. You stun me Larsson, with your spectacular portrayal of women! I am so impressed!

    now, hold on for minute!

    Do not get too pleased.

    You have made life hell for me for the past two months. Do you know how irritating it has been to see this book as a permanent fixture on my bookshelf and currently reading shelf? I mean, what is the point of all the unnecessary yakking? Why the lengthy details? Why introduce characters like Salander’s twin, and that Fegarula person? And why the hell do you add sex scenes that feel so completely out of place in the story. I must also comment on how Mikael's character has become too much of a Mary Sue. Desired by all women? Why is that so? I wonder how much of you is represented through him.:P

    Also, I am so glad this saga is at an end. I am glad because I am certain that if there was another book, I would surely have gone ahead and bought it; in spite of my current experience. I am glad that I won’t have to go through all of the emotional drama again, experience all the turmoil, and feel kinship for Salander.

    I am happy and I am inexplicably sad.

    This book was clearly not how you planned to end the series. The ending left so much scope for other stories to come after it. I feel very very sorry that there is no more of your work to read and that you will never be able to read this review (not that any author of your standing would). I feel very sad that you died without seeing what a sensation your books became, how the memorable characters you created will forever be etched into the mind of us readers.

    I am happy that I am ending this year with this series but don’t disillusion yourself with the thought that I would ever reread this series. Oh, no

    again!

    Still, I am sure that I will never forget you as long as I live.

    Happy New Year!

    Your reluctant fan,

    Tanu

    PS: I highly recommend this series btw. I can guarantee you, that you

    regret it. You will probably swear at Steig Larsson, and if you read it on my recommendation, you would curse me too.

    and A Happy New year to y'all!

  • Lyn

    After finishing The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the last of the Millennium Trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson, I have a great desire to order a tray of sandwiches and coffee, fire up my 13 inch MacBook Pro, and order some Ikea furniture online.

    Larsson’s crisp, journalistic, almost report-like prose is endearing rather than tedious and just as after finishing the first two, I greatly lament his passing for the selfish reason of not being able to look forward to more of his work.

    This summe

    After finishing The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the last of the Millennium Trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson, I have a great desire to order a tray of sandwiches and coffee, fire up my 13 inch MacBook Pro, and order some Ikea furniture online.

    Larsson’s crisp, journalistic, almost report-like prose is endearing rather than tedious and just as after finishing the first two, I greatly lament his passing for the selfish reason of not being able to look forward to more of his work.

    This summed up the trilogy brilliantly, wrapped it all up. Larsson has created some characters that will live in world literature for some time. One aspect of this fiction that I can compare to our system in a positive light is that our statutory rules for involuntary committals require the testimony of two independent medical doctors. I was cringing throughout the final courtroom scenes as Swedish civil procedure is clearly very different from our rules, I kept waiting for an objection that never came. Still the cross examination of Teleborian by Jiannini was outstanding drama of the highest order.

    Some of the descriptions of the trial are stunning. This was so much more than a spy thriller, or a murder mystery or even a legal drama, this was a fascinating character study, psychological thriller and all the other genre specific labels rolled into one.

    Great book, great end to a very enjoyable series.

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin

    Another short review due to glitches on GR!

    Lisbeth is recovering in the hospital but she has to go to court because she is being charged with the murder of her rapist. Who cares if she did in my opinion.

    Mikael and the gang are also trying to get things pinned on Lisbeth's evil father and such as well.

    Lisbeth goes to trial to prove she's innocent in this matter. She's just too cool.

    Fin

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    Even if Lisbeth Salander had been raised in a “normal” environment of a white picket fence, with a swing in the backyard, a dad flipping burgers in a haze of barbecue smoke, and a smiling, sun

    Even if Lisbeth Salander had been raised in a “normal” environment of a white picket fence, with a swing in the backyard, a dad flipping burgers in a haze of barbecue smoke, and a smiling, sundress wearing mother, she would have been abnormal. As it was she was the daughter of a psychotic, deranged Russian father who lived under a blanket of security because he defected with secrets that the government was interested in knowing.

    Zalachenko beat Lisbeth’s mother so severely that she sustained brain damage that left her nearly a vegetable. He wasn’t prosecuted. After all she was a whore, just a whore, or so they say, but then “trusted” government official can leak any information they want and have it lapped up by the media.

    Lisbeth tried to kill her father.

    Okay.

    She tried to kill him twice, but he is a tough old bastard.

    Let’s just say the environment that Lisbeth was raised in required her to embrace the more abnormal aspects of her personality to survive. So why did she try to kill her father?

    They are related, but they have never been anybody’s concept of a family. She also has a half brother named Niedermann who can’t feel any pain and is a genetic giant of freakish strength.

    I think everyone knows the story of Stieg Larsson, the author of this trilogy. He died from a heart attack shortly after dropping off the three manuscripts for the Millennium novels with his publisher. It is imperative that readers read these books in order. If you attempted to read this one first, for instance, you would be lacking a lot of critical back story that will definitely heighten your enjoyment of the book. So no short cuts, no cutting to the end, the journey must be taken. You must take the blows along with Lisbeth so her eventual triumph will be your triumph as well.

    The first book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a mystery. The second one The Girl Who Played with Fire is a thriller. This one is a courtroom drama. Larsson wrote this trilogy in the evenings for entertainment purposes as an escape from the real world. He was an investigative reporter and I’m sure most of the time real life was too real for him. It was as if he were playing with different writing formats, proving that he could write one as well as another. There are rumors that his girlfriend has a partial fourth book locked up on a laptop computer until the legal issues with Larsson’s estates can be settled. I think Larsson was brimming with stories and had created a heroine, uniquely compelling, with sustainable appeal that would have kept him on the bestseller list for years.

    I certainly would have been a zombie consumer of Larsson’s books, but I am content with what he gave us. It gives me shivers to think of another author conceiving their version of Salander or trying to mimic Larsson’s version. I do believe that characters should die with their creator.

    So Salander is in the hospital recovering from wounds sustained near the end of book two. Her father is recovering on the same hallway. They are a mere two doors away from each other. If a hospital could ever be quiet they might have been able to hear each other breathing. Despite the critical condition of their wounds each plots the demise of the other. Each secures a weapon of what is at hand, a pen, a crutch, anything to give them a chance if the other attacks.

    Amazon women, men dream about them. They are not always pleasant dreams. Larsson did sprinkle a few facts about legends of Amazon women between chapters. How fitting, for though our heroine is a scrawny 5’1” she is without a doubt a warrior unhindered by compassion and driven to survive.

    Mikael Blomkvist, the ace reporter, one of the few friends that Salander has in the world whether she wants him or not, is leading the charge for Salander to be released. As he rattles the nerve of the Säpo (Swedish Intelligence Agency), in particular the part of the organization called The Section, he discovers a government that has sanctioned too much to protect too little. He has learned a lot about how far they are willing to go to protect themselves and deftly plays a cat and mouse game with them as he prepares his lawyer sister, Anika Giannini, to defend Salander at trial.

    I’ve noticed that some readers struggled with the investigative part of the novel as we see all the pieces being brought together by teams of people. Some working for Salander’s release and some working to make sure she never sees the light of day. I found it all very real, very interesting as if I were directly involved in the process. The trial is absolutely terrific.

    For whatever reason Larsson throws in a subplot involving Blomkvist’s long time lover and co-worker Grika Berger. She is being stalked by a someone who obviously has a deep loathing for her. Some of the aspects of this subplot were interesting, but it was totally unnecessary to the overall plot, unless we think of Larsson as a stage manager trying to give one of his favorite actresses a few more lines in the play.

    Salander has issues with authority, not surprising given how those in authority have routinely decided that she needed to be arrested, locked down in a psych ward, and disappeared altogether. Even without the bizarre circumstances that forced Salander to be an enemy of the state she would have struggled with anyone who wanted to tell her what to do.

    She could never be the demure little girl in pigtails sucking on a lollipop.

    She is a lesbian satanist.

    It is hard to tell which one of those words, concocted by her enemies was more alarming to them. She is certainly bi-sexual, uninhibited in sexaul matters. She is a hacker, a woman who can find out anything about anyone. She is nobody’s best friend, but it is better to be her friend than her enemy. As far as Satan is concerned, she would take his pitchfork away and impale him on his own hubris.

    As I read this book I thought about why I, like so many others, find Salander such a compelling character. I’ve certainly never met anyone like her. She is unfriendly, like handling snarled barbed wire. She is instantly suspicious of anyone who offers to help her or any cause that would require commitment. She is a lone wolf, not opposed to giving pleasure, but unwilling to ever say the words that would take a moment of delight to a level of tenderness. She tortures you with silence. She bludgeons you with negative vibes. Her moods swing between tolerable and gloomy. Her smile is like a falling star, rare; and yet, beautiful. There is something wonderful in her ability to fight the odds, to survive, to defeat, to somehow make the right friends that are willing to fight for her when she can’t fight for herself. She does need help, as painful as that is for her, to push past the wall of silent contempt that she erects between her and authority. As it turns out her voice, her story had to be told.

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