The captivating third entry in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series

The Millennium series continues with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

First things first: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is unquestionably the most successful of Stieg Larsson’s three-volume Millennium series about Lisbeth Salander.

Salander, one of the most extraordinary characters ever to inhabit the printed page, is one of a large cast that includes the author’s fantasy doppelganger, the journalist Mikael Blomkvist; Mikael’s colleagues at Millennium magazine; Lisbeth’s employer and members of his staff; a hefty number of police officers; a crew of secret agents; assorted prosecutors, social workers, and attorneys; Swedish Cabinet members; and a large group of baddies, including the thugs who hang out in a motorcycle club and two members of Lisbeth’s own family.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Millennium #3) by Stieg Larsson @@@@@ (5 out of 5)

You might think that such a motley crew of characters could never fit within the confines of a single volume, much less come across as real people. Not so here.

Well, maybe not real people. But the novel works. The suspense will raise your blood pressure. In a word, Hornet’s Nest is unputdownable.

Unlike so many of the complex, multi-character stories I find myself reading, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is easy to navigate. I rarely found myself wondering where or how a minor character had come into the story. Larsson’s writing is so vivid, and his characters so well drawn, that I was able to avoid my usual habit of searching through previous chapters to remind myself who was who.

A novel, like all of history, is a study of change. As Joseph Heller wrote, “Something happens,” and a character (or characters) change as a result. In that sense, the three books in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, beginning with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and ending with this long but consistently gripping novel, together constitute a single story. It is only here, in the closing sections of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, that we can see clearly the change that has been wrought in Lisbeth Salander as she passes through the trials by fire spelled out in these three engaging tales.

For additional reading

I’ve reviewed the whole series of five books written to date in the Millennium cycle at The magical Lisbeth Salander novels.

You might also enjoy my posts:

For an abundance of great mystery stories, go to Top 20 suspenseful detective novels (plus 200 more).

And you can always find my most popular reviews, and the most recent ones, plus a guide to this whole site, on the Home Page.

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Grace Harwood - 10 years ago

Mal, I’m thinking this is a great little blog you’ve got going here. Thanks for doing this. I agree with you that the third is the great book of the trilogy. All best, glh

    Mal Warwick - 10 years ago

    Thanks, Grace. I started doing this blog because I was having so much trouble remembering the books I’d just read. Then I realized I’d always fastened memories more surely into my head when I wrote them down. Hence, a blog with an audience of one. I’m glad you and a few other folks are finding something in it, too. (It’s working for me!) Cheers, mal

Nazis in Norway, a mysterious assassin, and an insubordinate detective | Mal Warwick's Blog on Books - 8 years ago

[…] I reviewed the second and third books in Larson’s trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I’ve also reviewed Mankell’s The Man from Beijing, The Pyramid and Four Other Kurt […]

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