Monday, August 23, 2010

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" delivers

This book delivers a great read from start to finish.

I was pleasantly surprised to find myself reading this book as feverishly as I did the first. The plot is engaging, the characters are entertaining and the ending is satisfying.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is about.....

Lisbeth Salander -- the heart of Larsson's two previous novels -- lies in critical condition. She's fighting for her life in more ways than one. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority. And,

on her own, she will plot revenge-- against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.

Now, that's what the back cover says but this is what the book is really about: gangsters, violence, sex, romance, secret agencies, journalism, corrupt legal systems and lots and lots of crooked cops.

In other words, this book is  Law & Order SVU meets The Dark Knight meets Citizen Kane.

I could go on forever about how much I liked this book but instead, I've narrowed it down to three reasons:

Girl Power
As stated before, I'm not a feminist; However, I'm all about women using their female wits and assets to compete in a man's world -- and that's exactly what each female in this book does.

Erika Berger is the type of editor-in-chief who doesn't take any bull from anyone. She has more balls than any of the men in the newsroom and is smart about it. I enjoy reading how she manages to balance her internal turmoil with work stress. As a young female journalist, her character is empowering.

The next female on the list is Lisbeth. There are so many times in the book when I think to myself, I wish I had a friend like Lisbeth Salander. She is messed up, damaged and emotional just like any female with a broken heart BUT she doesn't ever let it break her. Instead, she uses it to gain revenge against the men who have done her wrong.

I'm not talking about men who have had a one night stand with her and then thrown her away. I'm talking about the men that have raped her, abused her or locked her up without cause. She is like a lioness waiting for the right time to pounce -- and when she does, it's incredible.

Women should all take a lesson on how she handles situations.

There are also three new women added to the group of "feisty females:" Annika Giannini (Blomkvist's sister who defends Lisbeth during the trial), Monica Figuerola (a Sapo agent) and Sonja Modig (a cop who is one of the few on Lisbeth's side from the beginning).

Without these five women, the book wouldn't have been as intriguing.

The book has an ending:
One of my biggest pet peeves is when books don't have an ending. I don't have to like the ending but I want an ending. I want all loose ties tied and I want to close the book not asking anymore questions.

Thankfully, this book does that:

We get the fool scoop on Lisbeth's past, the murder trial has a verdict and most importantly, we know where Lisbeth and Blomkvist's relationship is going to go.

The reader will close this book feeling satisfied.

The third reason I like this book is for the underlining message: life sucks but you'll overcome it.

Lisbeth Salander is the definition of a "victim."

She was a kid when life slapped her in the face,  she was thirteen when everyone betrayed her, she was in her twenties when she was raped, and it wasn't until her late twenties when she found a genuine friend.

But she survived through all of it and she only has herself to thank.

The series is a breath of fresh air because it's realistic, suspenseful and gives insight into a world of sex trafficking, drugs, white collar crimes and journalism.


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