Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3)The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the 3rd book in what is known (in the US) as the Millenium Trilogy. The first book is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the second is The Girl who Played with Fire. I have now read all three, and must say this set of books is one of the most powerful books I've ever read. I can't talk about this 3rd book alone - it's really just part of a whole.

The series follows Lisbeth Salander, a Goth, anti-social genius computer hacker, and Mikael Blomquist, a magazine reporter. They are drawn together at first in a mystery about a disappearance of a young girl, and end up exposing the Swedish underworld, corrupt government officials and human trafficking. The Swedish title of the series (the author is Swedish) is "Men Who Hate Women", so that should tell you what this series is really about - violence against women, and what that does to the victims and what it does to society.

These are riveting books - absolute page turners! But they are also full of very violent scenes, which are hard to read, and you will end up thinking about them for a long time.

Neither of the main characters is really heroic. Both are very flawed people, and often aren't even very likable. But I found myself really rooting for them, nonetheless, and celebrating when Lisbeth manages to put one over on someone (who usually deserves it!)

You can certainly enjoy these as nothing more than thrillers (a la Dan Brown's work) but there is much more to these books than just entertainment. Larsson wanted to expose the hidden side of Sweden's idyllic nation, often viewed as a model country, and show us the cruelty and violence that is still perpetrated on women by men in positions of power.

These are very powerful books, but also just plain good reads!

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