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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium Trilogy) - Stieg Larsson Originally posted on my blog guiltlessreading

While I was reading this, I knew in the back of my mind that it would end. Now that it has ended, I am disappointed knowing that "the end" has so much more finality because I know I will never be able to read any more of Steig Larsson's work.

I'm actually surprised that I enjoyed this trilogy as much as I did. I was very wary because of the hype and then the movies came out. I even dismissed this as another flash-in-the pan series. I have to say that I retract that ... I have to give this series more credit than that!

I found the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a somewhat dark read. But it was a definite page-turner and I got drawn in because who can resist such a strange character as Lisbeth? She's definitely a far cry from any "typical" heroine. She's very, very odd which equals very, very interesting in my books.

I could have stopped with the first book and been perfectly happy with my little gruesome mystery. But with the two next books readily available for the reading, i.e. friend pushing books into my face :) - what the heck, right?

So I dove into the second book The Girl Who Played With Fire. This sealed my love for Lisbeth and with that cliffhanger ending ...

... of course I needed to read the third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I think it is wonderful way to bring some closure to Lisbeth's life story -- a perfect continuity throughout the three books ending in revenge and redemption.



As I don't want to give any spoilers, I'm highlighting a few key points:

What I liked:

1. Lisbeth, Lisbeth, Lisbeth! Her character is consistent throughout and as more details about her past are revealed I only just liked her more. Everyone seems to admire her for different reasons - smart, ballsy, independent, among other. I admire her because she never pretended to be anyone else. She had an honest integrity about her. Naturally I cheered her on towards the end.

2. The pacing. Like the second book - which ended practically begging for you to have book 3 on hand - I again raced through this with the intent of finding out whether Lisbeth would (a) get out of this alive and (b) whether she would be found innocent of the two murders in book 2.

3. The conspiracy. While the theme of violence against women is a common thread throughout the trilogy, it is further heightened by the conspiracy within government - including a secret sector of the Swedish Police - to keep things under wraps. {Yes, I know this is cryptic but I don't want any spoilers!} This really satisfied my need for book 2 to evolve and become richer and more complex than a simple life story, fascinating as it already is! Those who love conspiracies will love the detail in this one.

4. The rallying of Lisbeth's allies. The whole cast of the previous books -- Blomkvist and the Millennium staff, Armansky and Milton Security, and of course, Lisbeth's kin of hackers -- all these come together in an unlikely fashion to support Lisbeth in proving her innocence and finally to battle it out in court.

5. The ending. It's simple and satisfying yet it left me wanting some more!

What I disliked:

1. The writing is awkward, just like the first two books (but I attribute that to the translation, despite it being much better this time around). Nonetheless long-winded descriptions, meandering and even trivial details can wear one down. If I can't forget that page-long description of Lisbeth's IKEA purchases in book 2, I can forget about the detailed descriptions of the secret sector hierarchy, inner workings and more political back stories -- because I skimmed through them. And what's up with the footnotes (which I ignored)?

2. Oh these red herrings! Berger's switch to a new job. Berger's stalker (and Berger's entire kinky sex life). Blomkvist's new lover. (Anyone notice Larsson's fixation on people's sex lives?) And Camilla, mentioned this book and the previous ... nada.

3. Improbable yes. But made a good story, I can't deny it. There were quite a few times when I went "Gah, really?!" or "No way that could've happened" or just plain head shaking. Despite the disbelief, I'll let Larsson have artistic license because I enjoyed the ride.

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I can't believe I'm done with the trilogy. I'm disappointed I won't be reading anymore of Larsson's work.