08-Jul-2011

The Girl who stirred the hornet's nest by Steig Larsson


Rating - Read


The first book in the Millennium series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, introduced us to the series. It was a stunning novel. Lisbeth Salander, the protagonist, is a 20 something girl, who has been under legal guardianship most of her life due to an incident from her childhood. Mikael Blomkvist is a journalist looking to lie low after his story and credibility on an investigative journalism piece are ripped apart. Enter Vanger, an aged, wealthy patriarch wanting to solve the mystery of his grand-daughter’s death from long ago. Lisbeth and Mikael paths cross each other and they become allies/friends/what you will.

The whole set up is in Sweden and the book immediately immerses you into tongue-twister names which you have rarely heard before. The pace is quick and heart thumping and the violence, unabashed in its full glory.

When I finished the first novel, I could not wait to get my hands on the next one, The Girl who Played with Fire. This book is a continuation from the next novel and dwells more into Lisbeth Salandar’s background and the reader is exposed to some stunning discoveries. In parallel, Blomkvist takes on an investigation on sex-trafficking. Given the topic of Book II, the stories are fairly heart-wrenching and stomach-revolting. The violence is more gruesome, if that is possible.

Which is why despite wanting to find out what happens in the final part of the series, I decided to take a break from the series. In retrospect, I really needn’t have.

Book III, The Girl who stirred the Hornet’s Nest, ties up loose ends without unleashing fresh bouts of violence. Most of this book goes into providing a background of Swedish law, security police, governance, parliament etc and what needs to be done with Salander. Coming from the Indian culture of accepted corruption and the casual misuse of power, I found it increasingly hard to believe that the option of the Swedish establishment punishing an old crime rather than hiding it away could even be considered in the book. The book eventually ends with the answer to the question ‘Will Lisbeth get justice’.

The series on the whole is definitely a must-read (a no-brainer given its position on best seller charts). What I liked about the series was

- set in Sweden, a country I have not seen as a backdrop in novels
- a female protagonist who is incredibly strong and quick-witted and whose character feels true despite the low probability of actually meeting someone like that in my daily life.
- plots that keep your interest going with some detailed fleshing out
- no apologies for the kind of violence that the stories narrate. Most of them are based on crime statistics.

The points all tick off well, but most importantly the mix is served neatly.

6 comments:

Musings said...

I have been meaning to read this series for a long time. Many have been recommending it. Should check it in my library or else can pick it up from you when I'm there(?):)

Anita said...

Feel free to. Now I have the entire series with me

Sonal said...

going to get this one soon and cloud atlas too :) thanks for the reccomendations

Priyanthi said...

You cab borrow Cloud Atlas from me, Sonal. One of my all time favourites!

Mum's delight said...

Read your post and felt motivated to pick up the book from the shelf and start reading it!

Anita said...

Sonal/Priyanthi - I think you guys should start mailing me books your are reading so I know which ones to borrow!

Mum's Delight - Thanks for giving me the book! Yes, you may as well finish the series