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

April Peveteaux

the girl who kicked the hornet's nest
Amazon; $11.92
The final edition of the Millennium trilogy hits US shelves today, wrapping up the adventures of investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist and punk rock, bi-sexual hacker Lisbeth Salander. As someone who couldn't wait for the US release and got a copy of the UK novel last year, I implore you to run, don't walk, to your local bookstore and start devouring The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

Beginning the second The Girl Who Played With Fire leaves off (and I mean the second -- apparently Larsson's request was to number the chapters of the second and third novels consecutively), I was immediately sucked into the unpredictable, violent, yet moral world of Salander and Blomkvist. After all, when one book ends with the heroine being buried alive after being shot in the head, you can bet you're going to want to find out what happens next.

What happens next is a flood of information as to who Salander is and why she's the antisocial but sympathetic one-woman fighting machine. Most interestingly, Larsson doesn't gloss over the whole "Oh, she was shot in the head and buried alive and her demon of a father is still trying to kill her" thing with a quick and easy solution that negates the tension of the previous book. These physical and emotional struggles are some of the most fascinating parts of Hornet's Nest.

Larsson managed to create a final installment that not only answers many questions about the heroine and how she became the complicated and frustrating Salander, but advances multiple plot points surrounding secondary characters that are just as riveting. Niedermann, Palmgren, and Berger are all back as well as some new and fascinating players that have their own unique roles in the Zalachenko cover-up and government corruption.

Especially appealing, the black and white nature of Blomkvist and Salander's world views keeps you rooting for them even when it seems either party has gone too far. Not unlike LOST, I was very sad, but still satisfied, when I read the last page and knew this adventure was over. At least I'll have the movies.

Like Larsson's previous installments, no story follows a predictable path and I wouldn't say Blomkvist and Salander live happily ever after at the end of this trilogy. But that wouldn't be very interesting, would it?

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest ($11.92) -- Amazon


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