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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest…

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Millennium Trilogy Book 3) (original 2007; edition 2010)

by Stieg Larsson, Reg Keeland (Translator)

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20,954655118 (4.12)595
If and when Lisbeth Salander 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.… (more)
Title:The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Millennium Trilogy Book 3)
Authors:Stieg Larsson
Other authors:Reg Keeland (Translator)
Info:Quercus Publishing Plc (2010), Paperback, 656 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson (2007)

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    whymaggiemay: Though written for YA readers, these books have the same feeling of urgency while reading.

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English (581)  Dutch (19)  Spanish (11)  French (8)  Swedish (7)  Italian (6)  Danish (5)  Norwegian (4)  Catalan (4)  German (4)  Finnish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (655)
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In the conclusion of the Millennium trilogy, Lisbeth Salander, the book’s female lead, lies in hospital with a bullet in her head. When and if she recovers, she faces a litany of charges against her, including aggravated assault and murder. With the help of Mikael Blomkvist, lead reporter for Millennium magazine, she will have to fight against a government conspiracy and cover-up to avoid a lengthy prison term.

Blomkvist, meanwhile is determined to bring down the “Section,” the secret government organization that has nearly destroyed Salander since childhood.


As in his previous works, Larsson has a no-nonsense, journalistic writing style. He does an incredible job of providing documentation for each bit of evidence presented. No plot holes are left open, and even the implausible seems credible, given his attention to detail.

The story, however, is Larsson’s true strength. The Millennium books work because Lisbeth Salander is a unique character in the midst of a complex and interesting tale. Though it is sometimes easy to tell where some plot lines will end up, it is a rich enough tale that it makes the reader enjoy getting there.


Did I mention the richness of detail? In truth, if details were calories, this book would be an artery-clogging nightmare. I assume that Larsson brought his journalism credentials directly to his fiction. In fact, the book often reads like an intricately documented report, or preparation for the tediousness of trial. In the first half of the book, I counted some 40 pages of details that could have and should have been omitted. Larsson provides background stories on even minor characters. What I wanted to know was who they were, and what they wanted. I didn’t want to know what who bullied them in the 3rd grade. (I’m exaggerating, but not by much.) We are also bombarded with talk of a sister who we never meet.

The first half is sluggish at times, not at all helped by the fact the main character spends most of the book in bed (but not in the fun way). This is problematic because although all the characters have varied behaviors, Salander is the only one with a truly unique personality.


Overall, I give the book 6 out 10 stars. The second half of the book was much better than the first. With characters established, Larsson finally allowed the plot to flow. I was somewhat disappointed in that the conclusion was not suspenseful as I hoped. How things happened was more intriguing than what happened. I was all set to raise my grade up to 7, but even in the final chapter, Larsson once again launched into pointless activity that did not advance the plot. However, if you liked the 1st book, you’ll probably be okay with this one. ( )
  billjonesjr | Jun 27, 2020 |
Okay, I've read this now and I really don't have anything to add. It's a nicely done story, I read 400 pages of it yesterday and I'm in hospital and feel like shit, so I guess that is a compliment. The good guys win and you sense fairly early on that they are going to, so it's tense without being worrying. I quite liked that.

Excuse me. I'm going back to do that drugged dozing that Salander spends the first half of the book doing and in which regard I seem to be following in her footsteps.


So, we start off with Salander in hospital, several gunshot wounds including one to the head, and there’s this sense of poor little tough fragile bird for whom we are supposed to be feeling sorry and I’m thinking to myself I bet it just isn’t that bad, but I can’t prove that, can I?

Or can I? All I need is some data and I can collect that myself. I’m in Switzerland, which is practically the same as Sweden, indeed I do have a brother who thinks the one is inside the other, so all I have to do is figure out how to get shot. Which is easier said than done in Geneva, it turns out. What I did manage, however, was to turn up at Emergency almost dead and so I started close enough to par with our heroine.

Salander’s advantages over me were clear from the start. I don’t speak a word of French and other than my extreme pain making it clear something was wrong, what was it? Bullet wounds on the other hand are so obvious. Salander got painkillers right from the start, I had to wait 24 hours without food, water or drugs. It was most likely I had a pulmonary embolism and needed a CT scan before they could proceed. Timing critical maybe. But as it happens a terrible accident in France saw people brought from it to this hospital and so I had to wait 12 hours for my scan. In agony and wondering if I was going to die because of something that happened in another country. Sigh. Well, not sigh, actually. I could scarcely breathe at all, let alone anything close to a sigh. Ditto crying. It might have looked like I was Salander-brave, but crying would have caused unbearable pain. Some have bravery forced upon them.

I bet Salander was prepared. Shave under arms, check. Leg wax, check. Boob job, check. So, she was ready to be examined by bunches of doctors. Not me. Not that I cared. I was in such pain, crying out loud agony, that the fact six doctors were looking at my breasts wasn’t of the least interest to me. Six young good looking doctors. Ummm. Somehow that registered. I’m given the CT scan at 2am and the next day the diagnosis. The head doctor with a team standing around tells me I have an impressive chest – I try to look modest, inappropriately as it turns out when he continues: you don’t just have one, you have many, many pulmonary embolisms. He described how they were all over my lungs. Evidently my lungs are interesting at the moment.

And did Salander do this? I played a speed chess tournament the day before, I knew I was sick and I felt too tired to play, but still. We’ve been speculating lately about the impact of illness on players of non-physical games. It is my contention that it doesn’t necessarily hurt and can actually help focus you on the job at hand since you have such limited energy. Still, I’d been thinking speed chess would have to be an exception. It requires physical and mental sharpness, after all. It was quite pleased to me, then, to discover that I played well and had a performance rating of 2011, which for somebody who hasn’t played anything like that for over 20 years seemed like a good result. Even better for half-dead.

And this is another thing. Salander didn’t have to read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. It weighs a ton. I could scarcely work out a way of holding it and when I dropped it on the floor that was it. No way could I pick it up again. It’s still sitting on the floor, about p. 100, when I can pick it up again I will report on the rest.

This was supposed to be funny, but I think maybe I’m a bit sick and I haven’t really managed funny. Sorry.


Update, next morning 6am. It was suggested to me that Salander had somebody in hospital trying to kill her and I didn't. Hmmm. Then why did I wake up this morning with my oxygen mask, which was on my face when I went to sleep, sitting on the table, detached from the tube supplying oyxgen? Maybe one of those chess players I beat? The mean nurse? And why do they keep taking my blood, of which in my opinion I must have practically none left? I'm just asking.

  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
So I liked this, but it was by far the weakest book of the trilogy. Above all, it was just very, very slow. I felt like there were lots of subplots and plot threads that were unnecessary, or not fleshed out enough to justify their presence in the book, but they took up space nonetheless. For instance, the Section fabricated a new exchange to replace the conspiratorial one that had really happened between Telorian and the other guy... but this never seriously posed a threat to the "good guys"' plan, ever? And Erika Berger's subplot seemed extraneous as well, and its resolution meant that the book really had two climaxes, which is just kind of weird.

Overall, this book is a bit of a mess. There are too many characters, too many plot threads to keep track of (I can tell you for a fact that I didn't keep track of), and my favourite character spends most of the book stuck in hospital not able to do very much. The corporate intrigue that irritated me in the first book but was joyfully absent from the second returns with a vengeance; as well, I continue to despise Mikael Blomkvist mostly for being infuriatingly perfect. Erika and/or Annika comment on his irresponsibility with relationships, how he sleeps around and toys with women's hearts without a care in the world, and while this is a good reason to despise him, this is also something there is next to no narrative basis for. The last book established how he's so perfect that he remains on good terms with all his former flames! What is this?

I don't know if that complaint even made sense, but it's basically a broader one about Larsson's sloppy approach to characterisation.

Anyway, the main reason I loved the first two books was that they were fun to read. They were, in large part, about a sassy and indomitable woman who took on all these men who are completely disgusting and (I would agree with Lisbeth) don't deserve to live, and wins. While it's not always straightforward, the bad guys always suffer eventually, and it makes for satisfying reading. This one just wasn't fun in the same way. Lisbeth was too incapacitated to do anything much, and the takedowns that occur seem like too little, too late at the end.

So, three stars. It should really have been edited, by which I mean completely restructured. The courtroom scene was fun though. ( )
  Jayeless | May 27, 2020 |
Die Ermittlerin Lisbeth Salander steht unter Mordverdacht. Ihr Partner Mikael Blomkvist schwört, ihre Unschuld zu beweisen. Er weiß, dass es um Salanders Leben geht. Als seine Ermittlungen die schwedische Regierung in ihren Grundfesten zu erschüttern drohen, setzt er alles auf eine Karte. Nach „Verblendung“ und „Verdammnis“ der grandiose Höhepunkt der Trilogie um das Ermittlerduo Blomkvist und Salander.

Mit einer Kugel im Kopf wird Lisbeth Salander in die Notaufnahme eingeliefert. Sie hat den Kampf gegen Alexander Zalatschenko, berüchtigter Drahtzieher mafiöser Machenschaften, ein weiteres Mal knapp überlebt. Aber wird sie gegen den schwedischen Geheimdienst bestehen können, der alle Kräfte mobilisiert, um sie ein für alle Mal mundtot zu machen? Zu groß ist die Gefahr, dass sie die Verbindung zwischen Zalatschenko und der schwedischen Regierung aufdeckt. Unterdessen arbeitet Mikael Blomkvist unter Hochdruck daran, Salanders Unschuld zu beweisen. Es fehlen nur noch wenige Details, und er wird das Komplott gegen Salander aufdecken. Auch als seine Ermittlungen von höchster Stelle massiv behindert werden, führt Blomkvist seine Arbeit unbeirrt fort. Er weiß genau, dass er nur noch diese eine Chance hat, um Lisbeth Salander zu retten.

  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |
Outstanding conclusion to the Millennium Trilogy. Lacks the tightly woven, innovative, provocative and shocking storylines of the first two books but makes up for it by continuing from Book 2 and tying up loose ends.

Now that I've devoured the three books, three Swedish movies and one American movie, I'm extremely sad that I'll never have a chance to re-read these books for the first time again.

An outstanding mystery series of our times with far-reaching commentary on social justice, personal liberty, the role of media in a democracy, constitutional rights and, most importantly, the need to improve the way society, especially men, treats and values women. ( )
  nvenkataraman1 | Apr 1, 2020 |
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The tension builds relentlessly as backstories morph into intriguing subplots, threats to the very core of Swedish democracy are uncovered, men in positions of authority continue to abuse their power, and Salander and Blomkvist continue to fight for justice in their different, inimitable styles
added by 4leschats | editBookPage, Sukey Howard (Jun 1, 2010)
Larsson was a cerebral, high-minded activist and self-proclaimed feminist who happened to have a God-given gift for pulse-racing narrative. It’s this offbeat combination of attributes — imagine if John Grisham had prefaced his writing career not by practicing law in Mississippi but by heading up the Stockholm office of Amnesty International — that has made the series such a sui generis smash.
Still—bad writing is hardly a barrier to success in this genre. A good plot can run right over pages and pages of bad writing. And if there is a bad plot, or an incomprehensible one, great writing can always go around it. By these standards, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is a failure. No one should read this book for its plot or its prose.
added by Shortride | editSlate, Michael Newman (May 24, 2010)
The best features of Larsson's books are lively, intricately improbable plots. These, however, are set forth in a banal style that demonstrates no more than minimal skills when it comes to most of his characterizations and descriptive writing. It sometimes seems that Larsson's interest in novelistic detail begins and ends with the contents of a sandwich that one of his characters makes before dashing out on some potentially dangerous errand.
Cutting nimbly from one story line to another, Larsson does an expert job of pumping up suspense while credibly evoking the disparate worlds his characters inhabit, from the coldblooded bureaucracy of the Security Police to the underground slacker-hacker world of Salander and her friends, from the financially stressed newsroom Erika inherits to the intensive care unit of the hospital where Salander and Zalachenko are recuperating.

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Larsson, Stiegprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bjørnson, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keeland, RegTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuhn, WibkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kyrö, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lexell, MartinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ortega Román, Juan JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reichlin, SaulReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It is estimated that some six hundred women served during the American Civil War.
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Salander is plotting her revenge - against the man who tried to kill her, and against the government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life. But it is not going to be a straightforward campaign. After taking a bullet to the head, Salander is under close supervision in Intensive Care, and is set to face trial for three murders and one attempted murder on her eventual release. With the help of journalist Mikael Blomkvist and his researchers at Millennium magazine, Salander must not only prove her innocence, but identify and denounce the corrupt politicians that have allowed the vulnerable to become victims of abuse and violence. Once a victim herself, Salander is now ready to fight back.
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