The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson.

Wow, what a masterpiece.  Stieg Larsson has created three fantastic books in his Millennium trilogy.  The man was an absolute genius and it is such a pity that he is no longer around and was never aware of how successful his novels would become.

I must admit that I didn’t love all of this book.  The first couple of hundred pages were okay but probably suffered from the fact that Lisbeth had only a very small role as she was pretty much out of action.  The middle section of the book is incredibly complex with lots of new characters being added to the mix – at one point I considered making a chart with everybody on it just so that I could keep up with all the different plot lines and who was working for who and who had been killed and which person was following which person…  Having said that my interest did wane a little bit in the middle section and if I hadn’t been so interested in the outcome I may have given up (sacrilage I know).  But, I didn’t, I carried on and it was well worth it.  The last couple of hundred pages were brilliant and I could barely put the book down as it was so gripping.

Some people may consider that to read a novel of this size (and it is a big book with a lot of pages of fairly small text) and to have to read a few hundred pages before you’re hooked isn’t worth it – but it really is.  SL was simply brilliant at constructing a complicated plot and managing to bring it all together so smoothly in the finale.

Strictly speaking I think some of the text could have been edited and maybe that would have made the novel a bit more punchy.  SL almost writes his novel like a police report i.e. (and not quoting actual text here) ‘Berger woke in the morning and dressed in black jeans with a white cotton shirt and a grey jacket.  She made coffee and read the papers then made a flask and sandwiches before leaving for work in her blue mini.  She drove down Peel Street and crossed over the junction towards High street.  She turned right onto Elm street before parking at the junction of Elm Street and Park Street’.  I don’t mind a bit of detail but sometimes I think you must ask ‘did that sentence actually bring anything to the novel at all??’ And I’m not convinced that all of it does.  Plus every new character is introduced with almost a full history of their background and again I’m not sure it adds anything.  Perhaps the extra detail means more to those readers who are actually familiar with the places being written about and will make them feel more connected to the story somehow.  I suppose if I read a novel that was based somewhere that I know well I would probably enjoy that extra level of detail because it would feel more personal??

Objections aside I have to hand it to Stieg Larsson for being a master at concluding his story.  Absolutely no stone is left unturned.  There is no sense of a rushed ending which sometimes happens in books and leaves you feeling really disappointed or cheated somehow.  No, the ending of this book is perfectly paced and leaves you feeling really satisfied, if not a little sad.

The other thing that stands out to me about this trilogy is the way in which each novel is different.  The first novel was obviously the introduction and was really set up as a murder mystery, but, to be honest it’s like that was just a foil to allow all these characters, who would eventually play such a big part in each other’s lives, to come together.  The second novel was like an unravelling of Salanders background, again with quite a bit of intrigue and action thrown in, but written in such a way to start to give you an idea of the scale of the deception involved and the third novel was the final coming together of all the pieces, everybody being revealed and the leading character succeeding against all the odds!  Quite uplifting.  And, even though Lisbeth was such a ‘difficult’ sort of person (understandably so) and had practically given up on people and built a wall around herself – in spite of that she ended up with so many people who actually really wanted to help her and were firmly in her corner.

I would definitely recommend reading this book – let’s face it you can’t not read it if you’ve already read the other two!  And I would certainly highly recommend all three of these books to anybody.

Rate these books with an A – and would say that book number two is my favourite of the series.

Millennium Trilogy

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