The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (Millennium #3..)

Read from April 25 to May 23, 2013 — I own a copy, read count: 1
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is relatively uneventful.
Picking up where its predecessor left off, the late Stieg Larsson reintroduces us to his characters and their dilemma, all the while attempting to persevere in a linear manner. He woefully fails in this attempt.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes featuring Salander and-to an extent– Blomkvist, the others pale in comparison. And there are a lot of them, too. Overall, they left me feeling bored, almost dejected (though admittedly, Larsson does incorporate just enough intrigue to keep the pages turning,) much of which stems from needless repetition and an agonizingly slow pace.
Along the way, a cast of new characters emerge, thus complicating an already complex scenario. I’m still not completely certain whether these intricacies are a natural progression of the story, or wholly unnecessary.
Either way, the author weaves an impressive conspiracy theory of a subplot. One that, if not resolved prudently, could result in dire consequences. Larsson manages something else, as well: through this top secret organization known as the Section, several gaps are filled in. Certain details involving Salander’s mysterious past came to light, and it made more sense to me. These revelations are done in such a way that I couldn’t help but be in awe of his literary prowess. He clearly knew his characters (both the major and minor) inside and out. He spent time with them, nurtured close bonds with them, as if they’d literally known one another for years.Of the trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is probably my least favorite, despite my critique of the first book. It’s also the most political. The author’s political affiliations aren’t didactic, or even apparent, however, and that’s to be commended, IMO.
If anything, it proved to be a fascinating experience. Especially the insight into former Swedish Prime Minister, Olof Palme, and his tragic assignation in 1986. So fascinating, in fact, that it’s inspired me to want to learn more about the subject, and who he was, on a personal level. high point of the novel came with Part II: Hacker Republic. All throughout, we see glimpses of Lisbeth’s cyber underworld, and its inner workings. Her online acquaintances, known as Plague and Trinity, made quite an impact on me. These chapters were a blast to read. It almost felt rewarding to finally “see” them, and get a sense of their characters.
At the same time, Erika Berger’s life takes on a new meaning as her place of employment drastically changes. With these, I really gained a poignantly transparent picture of the individual. Alongside that insight, I grew to respect and truly admire her. Until that moment, I hadn’t fully comprehended the sheer depth of her strength. I think she’s almost as strong a heroine as Salander (“Ricky,” per Blomkvist pet name for her, would never do some of the things that seem virtually second-nature to Salander,) only for different reasons.Sadly, the novel’s momentum never really sets in until approx. 425 pages in. From that point on- or the subsequent 200 pages, at least- Larsson’s prose is incredibly compelling, I could hardly put it down. I couldn’t read them fast enough. It’s just a shame that it took so very long to reach that point.
(view spoiler)

After such monumental scenes, the remaining 50 or so pages disappointed me to no end. I mean, to have such high hopes- nay, expectation– only to have them shockingly dashed by yet more boredom felt worse than zero redemption at all, IMO!
But the good is inevitable with the bad, I guess. For the time being, I’ll leave you with a passage that I’ll probably always cherish. It’s very telling, too:

“He smiled at her, and she (Salander) froze. The components of the equation she had constructed in the air before her came tumbling to the ground. She could hear the numbers and mathematical symbols bouncing and clattering as if they had physical form…”

The Millennium Trilogy: an overview

There’s no doubt that Stieg Larsson’s prose is for the most part, very compelling and well-written. But I ask myself: is it all just hype? Or did the literary world lose a truly great storyteller? I think it’s a combination of the two, actually. All the hype surrounding them is excessive and, to a degree, unwarranted. But there’s no mistaking the depth and beauty of his writing. For the love of the written word alone, I am honored to have experienced it. His expert character development immensely raised my opinion and gratitude for what Larsson achieved. It saddens me very, very much that he’s no longer with us. My heart yearn for many more Salander-Blomkvist adventures. There’s no telling what they had in store!


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