The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (original title in Swedish: "Luftslottet som sprängdes") is the third and final novel in the million-selling Millennium Trilogy by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson. It was published posthumously in Swedish in 2007 and was published in English in the UK in October 2009. The Swedish title literally means "The Air Castle that was blown up". Luftslott ("Air castle") is used in Swedish to designate a pipe dream.
The novel is a direct sequel to The Girl Who Played with Fire, and is part of the award-winning Millennium Trilogy by the late Swedish columnist Stieg Larsson, and features most of the same characters from the first two novels.
Two seriously injured people arrive at the emergency ward of the Sahlgrensa hospital in Gothenburg. One is the wanted murderer Lisbeth Salander who has taken a bullet to the head and needs immediate surgery, the other is Alexander Zalachenko, an older man who Lisbeth has attacked with an axe.
In this third novel in the Millennium trilogy, Lisbeth is planning her revenge against the men who tried to kill her, and even more importantly, revenge against the government which nearly destroyed her life. But first she must escape from the intensive care unit and exculpate her name from the charges of murder that hangs over her head.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest is an incredibly worthy successor to the previous two books in the trilogy. Larrson knew precisely how to play with timing, rhythm, and wording to pace the story and its ending just right. I'm hard pressed to even guess how else he could have ended this series.
The story follows the natural conclusion of the events in the first two books as everything dovetails toward a "behind-closed-door" trial. Larrson did a very good job of the first part of this book that takes place in the hospital where Lisbeth is recovering. I really enjoyed reading things from her perspective, then spinning out to others involved and each of their limited pieces of the evolving puzzle. And things just get better as the book moves along.
Frankly, once you hit part three of the book, it's almost impossible to put down. I picked it up just once...just to read a chapter or two in the second half of the book...only to find that three hours had gone by and the book was over.
Rarely a book has had so many smart female protagonists.
Larrson's tying up of many loose ends throughout the book - and this is key - throughout the book (not all in the last few chapters like so many other writers) is masterful. And that emphasizes the one tragic aspect of this final book: knowing that we will never again be graced with Larrson's storytelling mastery.