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Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson, 2010, * * *

As the final installment of Stieg Larsson's trilogoy, I wish I could say that this book was of the same caliber as that of the prior two books, but in my opinion, it was not. The book picked up right where the last, The Girl Who Played With Fire,  left off, with Lisbeth Salander in the hospital being treated for her injuries. Mikael Blomkvist continues to sleuth on her behalf in order to expose those who have made her life hellish and attempted to frame her for all manner of crimes. All of the other familiar characters from the prior books return but the overall feel of the book is that it was the least edited and least considered of the three. This would make sense if Larsson had intended to go back and do some more tweaking and editing before publication, but he was obviously unable to do so following his death. There are entire sections of the book that meander on and on with no apparent purpose with regard to moving the story forward – these sections would have benefited greatly from some serious editorial paring.  There are also way too many characters who have not appeared before, and like a Russian novel, you needed 3x5 cards to keep track of them and how they fit into the plot line. I simply could not put down the previous books, but I was nowhere near as riveted by this one. For the ending alone, this story is worth reading and I wavered between a 3-and 4- star review for this reason. Ultimately, I considered whether the book, standing alone without the previous two, would be a 4-star book, and I don't believe that would be the case. Anyone who has read the first two books simply will not be able to deny themselves the final installment, nor should they. It is a great loss that Mr. Larsson passed away before he could really fine-tune the final book, and before he could write another.

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