Friday, January 13, 2012

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Book Review

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

I've already read the first two books in Stieg Larsson's triology. So, it seemed logical that I would finish it off.

I don't like to leave things hanging.

And yet, the second book in the series left me wondering how much I really wanted to read the third book. The second wasn't absolutely terrible, but it wasn't great either.

I think I was pushed along to the third book mostly through character development. I wanted to know what happened next to The Girl. These books are far from perfect, but wanting to know what happens to my favorite characters is just about the perfect hook for a series.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

This book picks up the storyline immediately from the end of the second book. Continuity is good.

Unfortunately, the first two-thirds of the book are filled with extraneous information about secondary characters. This really detracts from the action. Some extensive editing could have only helped the book here.

And just as the previous two books did, this one is chock full of lots of similarly-sounding and similarly-spelled Swedish names. I think I finally got to recognizing some of them, but just as I did so, more similarly named, but different, characters were introduced. Is this really just a symptom of all Swedish surnames?

Likewise with place names. There are too many of them, they are similarly spelled, and they don't tell me anything about the setting. If anything, they, too, detract from the action, instead of aiding it. Maybe those familiar with Sweden can picture the setting based on these names. I certainly can't.

Skipping forward (figuratively, not literally) to the last third of the book: This is where I started to like the book a bit more. There was action, there was minimal background information, and there was dialogue between characters. The only real disappointment I felt was with the courtroom scenes. I liked the dialogue, but I found myself hoping for the little nugget of surprise that I, the reader, didn't already know from reading the previous, several hundred pages.

That precious little nugget never arrived. Not in the courtroom, at least.

The end provided more of what we expect of our heroine, but I can't see how it is relevant to the story. Maybe we would have found out if Larsson had been able to write the fourth book. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, that will never happen, so we'll never know.

If you are curious enough about the main characters, keep reading and finish the series. Just realize that it may require some reading endurance on your part.

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