Lisbeth Salander is amazing. So is Mikael Blomkvist. So are Annika Giannini, Erika Berger, and Monica Figuerola. Stieg Larsson created some amazing characters, strong female characters that I appreciate, but not to the detriment of intelligent, caring male characters. The balance is fantastic, from the characters, to the slow and quick points in the plot, the action and the thought. I also loved that there were basically two climaxes. I wondered after the first one, why there was so much book left, I thought maybe an extended prologue, Lisbeth and Mikael working out their problems or something, but nope. It was lulling us into a false sense of completeness before more danger crept up. Honestly, I had kind of forgotten about that guy, as I was wrapped up in the court trial and the bad men being arrested and the bad doctor being shredded. Those court scenes were amazing.
I started reading The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest with a lot of eager anticipation. I was not disappointed. The beginning of the novel primarily focused on Blomkvist and his quest to save Salander. I love the character, even though he's a bit of a womanizer, though kind of not on purpose. Maybe that's what lets me enjoy him, that he is himself and doesn't pretend to be something else. As the beginning was dominated by Blomkvist, the end was all Salander. I enjoyed following her journey. I wondered how self-destructive it would become or if she would become a citizen of the world. The two main characters of the story barely spent anytime together, but everything they did affected the other.
I really enjoyed Larsson's bits about the Amazons throughout the novel. He littered the Millenium trilogy with his own Amazons. Lisbeth Salader, Berger, Linder, Figuerola, Giannini, Modig, all strong women.
I can't really go on without spoilers, so, you've been warned.
I can't believe they shot Zalachenko so soon. He's creeping around, I'm getting ready for him to do something to Lisbeth, for some kind of confrontation, a final, epic struggle, then BAM! He's shot and Lisbeth doesn't have to worry about him any more. Also, who thought it was a good idea to put them two doors down from each other in the hospital? It was frustrating, but a good fake-out by Larsson. The story gets you thinking one thing, but then takes a sharp turn and there is something else to worry about.
I liked that Larsson did not blame all of the Security Police for what happened. It was just a small part of Säpo doing these things, not the entire organization. When Figuerola told Blomkvist about why she worked there and the good work that she did, it really spoke to how Larsson handled the separation between Säpo and the Section for Special Analysis. It was the Section, working on its own, that did this to Lisbeth Salader, that caused her not to trust psychiatrists and the police. It was good to see that as the story unfolded, Lisbeth could admit to herself that Modig and Bublanski were on her side, even though they were the authorities.
Have I mentioned how much I liked the Berger subplot? Another woman being threatened by a man in the Millennium series. Even though Lisbeth starts out not liking Berger, this is something she won't stand for. With Salander's secret help and the help of Milton's employee, Linder (another strong female), Berger is able to break through the threats and do what is right, not just for the child labourers in Vietnam, but for herself.
I haven't even mentioned Dr. Jonasson. I thought he was fantastic. I liked how his relationship with Lisbeth evolved beyond a doctor/patient one. I really like how he shut down Teleborian. I liked that he gave Teleborian an alternative diagnosis and became very suspicious as soon as he was shot down. I wonder if we will see him in any subsequent books or if Larsson ever intended on ever bringing him back.
Where is Camilla Salander? I want to know. Is that in the unpublished material that we might not ever get to read? Zalachenko talks about the children he has fathered, is there more information on any of them? Mostly though, I wonder about Camilla. She just left her sister and mother? She has her own classified file, is there something more? I wonder if any of her story will be dealt with in The Girl in the Spider's Web.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest kind of feels like the conclusion to a trilogy. There is the possibility for more, but with both Blomkvist and Salander finished with the Section and Zalachenko, there isn't anything else pressing them. Is it left open for the possibility of another book more like the end of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? Yes. There are loads of stories that would have been possible, if Larsson had lived and decided to write them. If he had decided to never publish another Millennium book again, I don't know if we'd miss it in the same was as if there wasn't another book after The Girl Who Played with Fire.
I was excited by the story from the first page of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. The entire Millennium trilogy was brilliant. I'm glad I've finally read all the books and even if you don't like mysteries, I would recommend them to everyone.