Hello again everyone!
With the holidays now upon me it seems I have far more time on my hands. And being the bibliophile that I am, I decided to use this newfound freedom for a constructive purpose and finished the one book that’s been sitting on my nightstand for the past eight or so months: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by the eminent Stieg Larsson.
Now I must confess, I honestly did not think it would take me this long to read Hornet’s Nest. The previous two books in the series, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire, were far more fast-paced and were able to absorb me so much that I would stay up for hours past my self-appointed bedtime just to see what would happen next. Not so with Hornet’s Nest. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a FANTASTIC read. I simply found that throughout the entire novel Larsson’s characteristically short and concise prose style was somehow missing. It was very lengthy and detailed, and occasionally my interest flagged and I became lost in the high number of perspective switches.
But onto the synopsis.
Hornet’s Nest is the third book in the Millennium trilogy, and it details the final stages of Salander’s fight against the Swedish legal system and her father, Alexander Zalachenko (a Russian spy who sought political asylum in Sweden during the Cold War), who is attempting to eliminate her after she lit him on fire for abusing her, her mother and her sister when she was twelve. Salander’s half-brother, Ronald Niedermann, is also on Zalachenko’s side, and he features heavily in Played With Fire. Hornet’s Nest also focuses on a small, secret group of high-ranking persons within SAPO, the Swedish police department, who are acting as Zalachenko’s protectors and are found guilty of significant breaches of conduct and grievous constitutional breaches by protecting a known criminal (Zalachenko, for his behaviour whilst in Sweden and his abusive tendencies).
Hornet’s Nest focuses heavily on Salander, and reveals more about her personal life and her interrelationships than either of the previous books have. It becomes abundantly clear that Salander, through repeated sessions of confinement to a mental institution, sexual abuse, and being incorrectly diagnosed as mentally unstable and placed under guardianship, has been subjected to a serious violation of her rights as a Swedish citizen and as a woman. The second half of the novel deals with the extended court case that Salander attends as the accused for apparently attempting to kill her father as seen in Played With Fire, whereas her actions of putting an axe through his knee were only committed in self-defence after he attempted to shoot her and she had been buried alive by her half-brother and managed to escape.
Unfortunately, my memory fails me when it comes to the many intricate details of Hornet’s Nest. Suffice to say, although it’s not as fast-paced as its predecessors, it still has a good feel to it and the ending provides justice for those who deserve it and freedom also for others.
Consider this a mixed review on the work, but if you liked Dragon Tattoo and Played With Fire then definitely read Hornet’s Nest. It’s a fantastic conclusion for the trilogy, and in true Swedish crime style it deals with real-life facts and incorporates them into the story in a flowing and even educational way.
Don’t stop reading!