The third book of the Millenium Series by Swedish author Steig Larsson is titled ‘The Girl who kicked the Hornet’s Nest’. This book is the concluding part of the trilogy and continues right from where the 2nd book ended.
At the end of 2nd book of the series lead character Lisbeth Salander is found, by journalist Mikeal Blomkvist, with a bullet in her head. The story continues in the hospital where Lisbeth and her father both are mortally wounded. The story continues with both of them recovering and her father being killed by a section of Swedish Secret Police. There are pages after pages dedicated to investigations and inquiries related to the cases involving murders, Lisbeth’s past and ‘Millenium’s research into secret section of the Swedish Secret Police. The story culminates with the trial of Lisbeth and to be honest is bit predictable about it. The end of course keeps you wanting for more, but you know there isnt going to be any more in this series.
This book is perhaps the weakest of the 3 and is a bit letdown as the story does not move forward much and meanders at times in the plots and sub-plots of investigations and research. There is even a sub-plot involving Erika Berger’s stalker which is completely irrelevant to the main plot. There are at times far too many characters and most of them doing same kind of things researching and investigating and chasing someone. There are bad guys in the form of a section of Swedish secret Police, then there are good guys in the secret police and then there is regular police with its share of good guys and bad guys and security agencies and the magazine’s own research team. It does at time get confusing with ultimately leading to nothing substantial in the plot. The main character of Lisbeth for the most time in is Hospital and is not doing much. The reader craves for Lisbeth and there is not enough of her in this book at least not in the first 600 or so pages. The last 150 or so pages deal with the trial of Lisbeth, which at times does get interesting but is shown in very caricaturish way.
The story ends with some unexpected action in the end and a happy conclusion although I doubt if the author had any thoughts of terminating this series this way. I am sure the 4th book was in the pipeline for this series, sadly the author passed away unexpectedly after he finished writing the 3rd book.
The main problem for this book as I see is that it does not have anything fresh to say, it doesn’t have a new mystery and is simply a continuation of the mystery of the 2nd book, which was more or less wrapped up in the 2nd book itself. The reader does feel bored at times as there is too much of talks and not much action and certainly very less of Lisbeth. Also you cannot read this book without reading the 2nd book,as the story continues from it. The 1st book was quite independent that way.
The character of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist stays with you even after the book ends and you certainly crave for more and want to know what happened to their lives, especially Lisbeth. Although this book isnt the best to finish the series, one still gets engrossed reading in it and never wants it to finish.
My Ratings: 8/10 – Slightly weaker than the first 2 books but you HAVE to read it to know how it all ends.
P.S. I have read about rumors that there IS a fourth book, written by Steig Larsson before he died and finished by his long time lover but is currently under dispute between Larsson’s partner and his parents. Perhaps one day it would come out !!