The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nestby Stieg Larsson
Published by: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Published on: May 25, 2010
Page Count: 576
Genre: Thriller / Mystery
My Reading Format:An audiobook purchased using an Audible.com credit
Available Formats:Hardcover, audiobook, eBook
FYI: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest contains some graphic sex and violence. This review will contain some references to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire. I will keep those to the minimum.
This must have been one of the most anticipated novels of my lifetime – at least my recent lifetime. After first reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo following immediately by The Girl Who Played With Firelast year, “What happens next?” was never really that far from my mind. I gush about books with the best of them, but this series has a hook in me like no other. Lisbeth Salander is a heroine like no other and is a great compliment to Mikeal Blomkvist personality. I don’t really think that Mikeal would have made such an impression on me without the way he welcomed a misfit like Lisbeth into his personal and professional life. Likewise, Lisbeth needs the dose of reality and trust in humanity that Mikeal brings into her life. When The Girl Who Played With Fireleft off with Mikeal finally finding Lisbeth near death with gunshots in her hip and head, I wasn’t sure I could stand the wait. Receiving an ARC out of the blue didn’t help matters, either. After listening to Simon Vance narrate the first two novels, I decided that I would indeed wait until the official release date. I survived the long wait and I must say that the eager anticipation was rewarded and, in fact, helped to enhance the experience.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is a different novel. Instead of the action packed mysteries in the first two novels, Hornet’s Nestis slower and more deliberate in its pacing. It is the culmination of Lisbeth and Mikeal’s involvement in the murders of Dag Svensson and Mia Johansson. What begins is a case against Lisbeth becomes an indictment of the Swedish government and legal system. Full of procedure and conspiracy, I was in heaven throughout. In addition to the main storyline, Erika Berger’s character was explored more deeply in a creepy plot that made me realize just how much I cared about her. Stieg Larsson was most definitely building up to this point in the story and I am sad that I may never know what else he intended.
Of the new characters introduced in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Anders Jonasson was my favorite. He is the surgeon who saved Lisbeth’s life and, against his better judgement and initial intentions, becomes one of her strongest allies. His character illustrated how, when people look at one another objectively, the truth shines through without the facts. He is essential to Lisbeth in many ways, but it is in his professional care and concern that she is able to learn to trust another human being again. That he is a doctor is not insignificant. His character is in direct contrast to Peter Teleborian.
Now that I’ve finished the complete series, I am amazed at Stieg Larsson’s imagination and knowledge. I am not certain if Reg Keeland translated all three novels into English at one time, but Larsson’s tone and dialog are consistent throughout. I sure I can’t comprehend the talent that alone required. This will not be the first time that I’ve said this, but Simon Vance was absolutely perfect as the narrator of this series. He brought each and every character to life. I have no doubt that my initial frustration with Swedish names and places would have easily been overcome by the story had I chosen to read this series in print. I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon the audiobooks instead. When I pick up the print copies and read passages, it is Simon Vance’s voice that I hear. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My Final Thoughts
In my review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I compared Lisbeth Salander to Scarlett O’Hara. The two women and the two novels could not be more different, but they have the same impact on me. As Hornet’s Nest came to an end, I felt the same way about the ending of Gone with the Wind. The very last sentence has sat with me ever since, full of meaning and promise. Just as with Scarlett and Rhett’s fate, Lisbeth’s and Mikeal’s future is wide open. While I might very well be tempted for the first time to read fan fiction based on this series, I also relish the time I know I’ll spend once again pondering “What happens next?” The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest immediately made me want to begin the adventure all over again. As with Gone with the Wind, I’m sure that my opinions will sharpen and change with each reread.
Be sure to come back to The Literate Housewife Review tomorrow for my exclusive interview with Simon Vance! In addition to getting to know him and his process, you’ll also have the opportunity to win one of three sets of two free audiobooks from Audible.com!