Saturday, February 19, 2011

CBR-III: Book #4: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest

It’s a shame that Stieg Larsson died. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is by far the most superior book of the series. Even though I am a little upset at, once again, the lack of Ronald Niedermann in the story.

The third book of the series picks up right where The Girl Who Played With Fire left off. Salander and Alexander Zalachenko are being transported by helicopter to a hospital. Niedermann is on the run after killing some cops, and Blomkvist is trying to figure out the story.

The main difference between this book and the last two are the pace. Plus, some new artistic flourishes that Larsson uses (such as incorporating historical accounts of warrior women). The pace because, unlike the other two, the book maintains a steady rhythm. Both The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire started out agonizingly slow…and have several moments throughout the books that could induce a coma. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, because of where the book is picking up, automatically begins at a feverish place. The pace continues, except for a few clipped moments that were easily overcome.

Plot? It’s kind of hard to say without giving away too much detail. Details that make the story wonderful. Salander is in the hospital, awaiting trial for attempted murder and a host of other charges. When she, with the help of Blomkvist, gains internet access and quickly goes on the hunt. Blomkvist is searching for a group called The Section. The group responsible for Salander’s cover-up in her youth, also the same group responsible for Zalachenko. Along the way we are exposed to the new cover-up that The Section is trying to create, with the help of internal knowledge, and an investigation involving Sapo, the regular police, Milton Security, and Millennium. In a sub-plot we had Erika Berger. Now working for a rival paper she is being stalked and threatened. While her story can easily be considered one of the weakest it is also rather interesting.

Larsson managed to host a massive amount of characters fluidly. With a combination of both new, and returning players. Some of the least influential in the other novels are now brought to the stage, while some of the main ones almost take a backseat. One of the most captivating new characters is Figuerola, Blomkvist’s new love interest in this one. She’s an Amazon woman who works for Sapo, addicted to working out. Despite how much Larsson devotes to describing the characters physique…it really leads to nothing. The entire time I wanted her to engage in some kind of battle with Niedermann. Sadly, I was disappointed.

The trial is also one of the best ones I’ve ever read. That’s saying something considering I’ve read a lot of Grisham. However, I don’t know Swedish law…but I would have to say several things happen in the court room that probably aren’t very legal. Oh, and I suppose I should have mentioned that Blomkvist’s sister is representing Salander.

The ending felt a little forced. I don’t really know the reason for this, but I felt slightly cheated. I expected something bigger…grander.

Like I said, shame Larsson died. He seemed to have finally found a really unique and distinct voice in this, the third book. Rumor has it that he had almost completed a fourth…I wonder if they are going to get a ghost writer. It’s also been reported that he apparently had outlines for quite a few more books. I honestly don’t know how many more he could have done before he just completely exhausted the potential of the characters. After all, there is only so many times Salander can be in trouble, Blomkvist can crack an international story, and people can keep fucking strangers without contracting a serious STD.

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