Friday, October 15, 2010

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

Larsson takes a realistic approach to his story-telling in his Millennium Series that continues on in the third installment, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Next." Larsson creates characters that are fully developed and unique.

Larsson loves strong women. And because he loves strong women he creates strong female leads in his story. You have Erika Berger, fearless Editor-in-Chief. She refuses to succumb to a tireless stalker, even when she is physically hurt. Next is Annika Giannini, Mikeal Blomkvist sister and attorney. Giannini never backs down from a case involving women's rights and abuse. And of course the infamous Girl with the Dragon Tattoo herself, Lisbeth Salander. She's the strongest of them all and the tiniest. And in the third and final book, introducing the rock hard body of Monica Figuerola who makes a bold statement that a woman can be physically tough and maintain femininity and sex appeal. It is refreshing to see these vibrant, tough women that Larsson has birthed.

The story is a continuation of The Girl Who Played With Fire. It begins with Lisbeth Salander having surgery and surviving a gunshot wound to her head. And just two doors down from her hospital room is the man who ordered the bullet put there: her father Alexander Zalachenko. Only one gets out alive.

Also on her plate, Lisbeth has to fight against a number of convictions, including attempted murder and assault. Knowing Lisbeth's sensitive background, Mikael Blomkvist hires his sister to defend Lisbeth. Equipped with Giannini's intuitive and quick-witted style, and video evidence of explicit material, Lisbeth is acquitted of all charges.

In the meantime, Blomkvist has worked out yet another mass expose into the sex trade. And who would be heading it up but Alexander Zalachenko?

It is the strong female characters that keep a reader moving through the book. The whole series is commendable. Hats off to Mr. Stieg Larsson and, unfortunately, a good night. RIP Mr. Larsson.

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