The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Review)

Book cover for "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson.Title: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Author: Stieg Larsson

Narrator: Saul Reichlin

Publication Year: 2010

Pages: 576 (audio length: 25 hours 13 minutes)

Genre: Fiction

Source: Audiobook version purchased from

From the cover:

Lisbeth Salander — the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels — lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge — against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.

(This is the third and final book in the Millennium series, after The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire.)

In some ways, I enjoyed this book more than The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire, and in some ways I didn’t.

Let’s start with what I enjoyed: mostly, this was learning more about Salander, both about her past and her present. There was a lot more of a focus on her this time around, even more so than there had been in the second volume of the series. They kind of go together – The Girl Who Played With Fire ends with seriously unfinished business, and so if you’ve gotten that far, I’d definitely recommend that you continue on and finish up by reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. It’s not exactly a fairy tale ending, and it’s not entirely predictable (though there are some bits that aren’t too hard to figure out), but it’s an interesting finish to the story.

My biggest complaint about this book is so similar to my complaint about the previous book that I’m simply going to quote from my own review:

Even though I enjoyed [the book], I will confess that I really think that a good editor should have been brought in. There are too many irrelevant secondary characters, and way too much detail and description at times. Seriously.

And for this book, multiply that complaint by at least a factor of three. On the upside, though, the “extra” details and descriptions are at least mostly relevant to the storyline this time, so they slow down the story and are sometimes irritating, but at least they’re not completely useless and irritating.

So like I said, if you’ve gotten this far in the series, I’d recommend that you read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest to get yourself some closure. I’m not sorry that I read the entire trilogy – it was fun and I definitely enjoyed it. It’s just that Larsson isn’t exactly a master storyteller, so the writing leaves a lot to be desired. If you’re okay with mediocre writing, though, and really just want to read an interesting plot, then this might hit the spot for you.


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