The sting in the tail....

I've finally got round to reading the final installment in Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest some time after reading the previously reviewed Girl with the dragon tattoo and The girl who played with fire.

As you'll see from my previous reviews, I thoroughly enjoyed vol. 1, was rather more ambivalent about vol. 2, and am still rather on the fence about vol. 3. If I thought the opening of The girl who played with fire was confusing if you hadn't read the opening novel; The girl who kicked the hornet's nest was even more confusing. The first 80 pages or so were pretty incomprehensible, even though I had read volume 2, albeit a year ago. Once you got past these initial pages (it is a very long book), Larsson does explain most things, so you didn't feel that you had to re-read the second volume, but for a reader new to the series I think it would have been very off-putting.

The story has now firmly moved away from the serial killer element of the first novel, although there are still a variety of psycopathic, Bond type villains, and is more into the world of espionage, and secret services within secret services undermining the State. Yes, it's all good fun, but believable - no, not really. Larsson's style of journalistic writing works really well here, though, making what is pretty unbelievable sound almost convincing.

What wins through in this novel, however, are the good guys - some great characterisation, and a motley cast of characters all aiming to get Lisbeth Salander freed from a possible life term in an asylum. It's hard going sometimes, the novel does get bogged down in technical detail and the weight of the previous novels in the series sometimes lie very heavily upon it, but it's generally a fun escapist read. If you get the chance read the three back to back to fully appreciate the weird world of Lisbeth Salander.


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