6.14.2023 | Wednesday

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

category: Book Reviews

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nesttitle: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
author: Stieg Larsson
series: Millennium #3
published: 19 May 2010
publisher: Knopf
genre(s): thrillers
pages: 656
source: library
format: eBook
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

rating: five-stars | series rating: four-stars

the blurb

Lisbeth Salander - the heart of Larsson's two previous novels - lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She's fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she'll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge - against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.

a few notes

content warning:❗reference to murder, sex assault, family dysfunction, incest❗

steamy rating: 0 🔥s
language level:

POV: 3rd person
HEA: n/a
keywords/phrases: theft, family, conspiracy, revenge


  • Glass Key Award (2007)
  • CWA International Dagger Nominee (2009)
  • Audie Award for Thriller/Suspense (2010)
  • Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery & Thriller and Nominee for Favorite Book (2009)
  • LovelyBooks Leserpreis for Krimi (2008)

my review

If it was any other writer, I would say that the writing style absolutely does not work, that there is just too much of every little thing. But somehow, it absolutely does work. Instead of bogging me down with unnecessary detail, it brings me into the story in a deeper way.

This book marks the end of the original trilogy written by Stieg Larsson, each book very different than the last. The first was an odd but intriguing mash-up of a serial killer thriller and a political thriller, with some Silence of the Lambs vibes. Then book two was focused around the politics of the Swedish police and the media. And this one felt like a legal thriller. There is no doubt that the books are a statement about the existence of some rather heavy-handed misogyny. In fact, together, the three books could be seen as a bit of a manifesto on that misognyny and the resulting injustices faced by women in Swedish societies.

This installment really allowed for a broader insight into Lisbeth’s past. She is an interesting character that is somehow both the villain and the hero, often at the same time. This book really helps to explain why she is the way she is, diving deeper into the things that have happened to her.

This is not an read for the faint of heart. It’s dark, often horrifying, but it’s also deeply intense and engrossing.

About Stieg Larsson

Stieg Larsson (born as Karl Stig-Erland Larsson) was a Swedish journalist and writer who passed away in 2004.

As a journalist and editor of the magazine Expo , Larsson was active in documenting and exposing Swedish extreme right and racist organisations. When he died at the age of 50, Larsson left three unpublished thrillers and unfinished manuscripts for more. The first three books ( The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo , The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest ) have since been printed as the Millenium series. These books are all bestsellers in Sweden and in several other countries, including the United States and Canada.

Witnessed a rape when he was 15, and was helpless to stop it. This event haunted him for the rest of his life. The girl being raped was named Lisbeth, which he later used as the name of the heroine on his Millenium trilogy. Sexual violence against women is also a recurring theme in his work.

Rating Report
Overall: five-stars

reading challenges:

  • 2023 Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge
  • 2023 Library Love Reading Challenge
  • 2023 Linz the Bookworm Reading Challenge
  • 2023 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge
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