The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, by Stieg Larsson

Last in the Millennium trilogy, this one picks up immediately after the end of the second book, with Mikael being questioned by the police, and Lisbeth Salander being taken to hospital after having narrowly survived being buried alive.

Well I was pretty disappointed by this one. The second book got up a fair bit of momentum towards the end, but here you feel like the foot has suddenly been taken off the accelerator, and it never really gets re-applied. Salander spends most of the time in hospital, and while there are a couple of tense moments (her father is in an adjoining room; they're both aware of this, and each is considering murdering the other), it feels a bit of a drag.

Outside hospital, Mikael is planning on writing another expose, this time about how a rogue clique in a government agency conspired to keep Salander locked up in mental institutions. The clique is still active though, and is determined that Mikael should be discredited, or worse.

But although the secret service baddies are made out to be powerful and dangerous, they never feel particularly frightening, and you never really worry about what's going to happen to Mikael and Lisbeth.

Really it felt like this was a book where Larsson ran out of ideas. The first book had a great whodunnit page-turner, and introduced the intriguing Salander; the second provided Salander's back-story. But this one had nothing new; just elaboration on the stuff about Salander's life, tacked on to what felt like a half-hearted attempt to write a thriller plot about shady characters in the secret police.

I think it would have been better if he'd not done this one. I'd say it's not worth reading, although it is going to be hard to resist if you've read the other two. But this one took me about three weeks to read, whereas I finished each of the other two in less than a week. Enough said.

Completed : 15-Dec-2009

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