At last I am done with the Millenium trilogy. It took me a year to complete. I blame that partly on the 1st book, which ties up all the events in the story quite neatly. So, while I loved the book, I didn’t also feel the burning need to know what happens further. However, once I finished book 2 – The Girl who Played with Fire, I just had to read the final book to know how events play out.
The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest continues the Lizbeth Salander story. She is now lying helpless in a hospital bed. She is accused of manslaughter charges, and she has powerful enemies lining up against her. Thankfully, her faithful (and resourceful) friends Blomqvist, Armansky, and Palmgren are working together to expose the Sapo and the nasty elements there.
The book finally ends in a high-octane trial that really exposes the flaws in Swedish democracy and provides Salander the long-delayed justice she deserves.
How does this book hold up to the rest of the books?
I liked this book, but I can’t say I loved it. It’s slower than books one and two. Considering that the book is essentially a continuation of book 2, it takes a couple of hundred pages for the book to come to a slow boil. By this time, I was getting quite impatient with all the waffling. Just wished Larsson would get to the point faster.
I did appreciate the way Larsson builds the case for Salander. Blomqvist and his friends uncover one proof after another to bury the bad guys.
However, I was surprised that one key/interesting witness possibility was overlooked by both the prosecution and the defense. I am of course referring to Camilla Salander – Lizbeth’s twin sister. She was just an intriguing name mentioned in The Girl who Played with Fire, and I was expecting (and hoping) that she would play a bigger role in this book. But unfortunately, that is not the case. And it’s pretty disappointing because I was really interested to know what Lizbeth’s twin was like. There are a few hints dropped that she is quite opposite to Lizbeth – supposed to be very pretty and very manipulative. How great would it have been to see the two sisters pitted against each other during the trial sequences.
I suppose that she was due to play a bigger role in later books, but of course Larsson’s death means that we can only speculate.
Another aspect of the book that I loved were these wonderful snippets about women warriors through history that are peppered throughout the book at the start of each section:
But from antiquity to modern times, there are many stories of female warriors, of Amazons. The best known find their way into the history books as warrior queens, rulers as well as leaders. They have been forced to act as any Churchill, Stalin, or Roosevelt: Semiramis from Nineveh, who shaped the Assyrian Empire, and Boudicca, who led one of the bloodiest English revolts against the Roman forces of occupation, to cite just two. Boudicca is honoured with a statue on the Thames at Westminster Bridge, right opposite Big Ben. Be sure to say hello to her if you happen to pass by.
The historian Diodorus from Sicily, 100 B.C. (who is regarded as an unreliable source by other historians), describes the Amazons of Libya, which at that time was a name used for all of north Africa west of Egypt. This Amazon reign was a gynaecocracy, that is, only women were allowed to hold high office, including in the military. According to legend, the realm was ruled by a Queen Myrina, who with thirty thousand female soldiers and three thousand female cavalry swept through Egypt and Syria and all the way to the Aegean, defeating a number of male armies along the way. After Queen Myrina finally fell in battle, her army scattered.
I guess I like these little snippets because they give some insight into Larsson’s mind. He seems to be a staunch feminist, and who cannot love a writer who promotes a woman as a figure of strength?
This book was even more relatable considering the wikileaks Assange saga that is playing out in the media today. Some hacktivists (hacker activists) launched Denial of Service attacks against banks and credit card companies to protest against Assange’s arrest. It was rather a weird feeling following this news when I was reading a very similar plotline in the book.
Maybe fact and fiction are a lot closer than we make them out to be!
All in all, I love the Millennium trilogy. Sure, it’s pulp fiction, the translations are a little wordy, but still enjoyable. I will however be giving the movies a miss. I can stand reading about rape and torture and violence. Seeing them enacted on screen is an entirely different matter!