In the third installment of the Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Lisbeth Salander fights for her life, with the assistance of journalist Mikael Blomkvist, against the corrupt institutions and the man who tried to kill her.
Hornet’s Nest is the last novel in Larsson’s Millennium series…also a thoroughly gripping read that shows off the maturation of the author’s storytelling talents …Larsson effortlessly constructs an immensely complicated story line that owes less to the Silence of the Lambs horror genre than to something by John le Carré. It draws together many (though not all) of the loose ends scattered throughout the trilogy… 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… The novel ends in a gory, made-for-the-movies confrontation between Salander and a malignant villain out of a James Bond novel… But the real showdown in this harrowing novel is between Salander and a ruthless government cabal: an equally familiar trope from movie and book thrillers, but one that Larsson manages to reinvent here with dexterity, ardor and a stoked imagination.
...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 ... Hornet's Nest, which carries on without pause from its predecessor, finds Salander near death from a bullet wound to her head and awaiting desperate medical measures ...but physical passivity does not imply helplessness ...Salander is a deeply radicalized feminist, portrayed in a manner designed to test the sympathies of a largely liberal-minded audience, the attention of which is diverted by the blur of his books' nonstop action ....Larsson asks us whether the understanding we normally, casually extend to the principles Salander acts upon can also extend to a character who so heedlessly exemplifies them ... [Salander] adds a certain weight to his entertainments, which has doubtless encouraged the clueless enthusiasm of his reviews.
A bit of advice, though: Dampen down the sky-high expectations. Hornet's Nest lacks the narrative drive, energy and originality of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire. Those books, you inhaled. Reading this one feels like work. It's more like a first draft than a polished novel … Lisbeth, a super-smart, ultra-asocial computer hacker, is the reason for the series' popularity. Imagine Pippi Longstocking all grown up … Familiar faces and themes reappear. There is a strong feminist bent to Hornet, particularly in the subplot about Blomkvist's married lover Erika Berger… But instead of complaining about the third novel in the trilogy, let's end with a big thank you for the spellbinding first two.