Book Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millenium #3) by Stieg Larsson

A young girl lies in a hospital room, her tattooed body very close to death -- there is a bullet lodged in her brain. Several rooms away is the man who tried to kill her, his own body grievously wounded from axe blows inflicted by the girl he has tried to kill. She is Lisbeth Salander, computer hacker and investigator, and the man is her father, a murderous Russian gangster. If Salander recovers from her injuries, she is more than likely to be put on trial for three murders -- the authorities regard her as a dangerous individual. But she won't see the inside of a courtroom if her father manages to kill her first. 
I loved The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo so much and was disappointed that The Girl Who Played With Fire was not as compelling.  I had high hopes that the final installment in the series would make up for the deficits of book two.  While The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest was definitely better than The Girl Who Played With Fire, it didn't reach the same level of excellence that The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo did for me.

I can appreciate that the people of Sweden were totally floored by this series.  The books go into politics, history, police corruption, international terror, crime, and pull events in Sweden's history into the plot that makes you believe the stories are true.  I can see how Sweden went crazy for Stieg Larsson.  But that emphasis on Sweden and the political slant of this series is what made it hard to get through for me.  I had a hard time putting the events of the The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest into perspective, especially when Larsson references events in Sweden's history that I have no concept of.  He includes an appendix but I found flipping back and forth to be really tedious.  

There were times when I wanted to give up on this book, and almost did except for the fact that I've spent so much time on this series and I had to know how it would end.  The events of the last 100 pages saved the book for me.  The way Larsson wraps up the story, pulling all of the dozens of characters' stories together for a thrilling conclusion, is rivaled only by Ken Follett, in my opinion.  

I would recommend this series to fans of crime fiction.  People wanting a love story or a light summer read will be wholly disappointed. 

Just One Gripe:
The book is pretty dry at times.  Sometimes we would go for 100 pages without anything of note happening. Stieg Larsson doesn't just tell you that a character goes into brain surgery, he tells you exactly what the surgeon does in great detail during the surgery.  This is why his books are so longI thought I was never going to get through some parts!

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The ending, the poetic justice, the character growth were all great.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 

Characters: 4/5
Plot: 3/5
Setting/Imagery: 2/5
Originality: 4/5
Ending: 4/5
Total Score:  17/25

Read First:


  1. I have the first two books sitting waiting to be read. The last one sounds quite labor intensive... hmmm maybe I should put it off until I'm ready for the massive brick.

  2. Actually, PK, they are all pretty labor-intensive but still worth it!

  3. I keep meaning to read these books, but I heard they are way graphic. And they looked super long. I love to read and all, but I have some wicked ADD! I am going to have to get these or see if anyone has any to lend on the nook.


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