I posted last week that after having read the first two novels by Larsson, I wasn't so keen on the Steig Larsson novels about Lisbeth Salander. It turned out I am far from alone in this view (see this, for example) I'm retracting that view here, to some extent. Encouraged by Ms. Eclectic's comments to me about it, I downloaded and read the third novel in the series.
It's a long book, but I have now finished reading Larsson's Hornet's Nest. It was by far the best of the three Salander novels. But, unfortunately, to understand the plot line in this one, you pretty much have to have read the previous two in the series or at least be quite familiar with their plots.
I liked Hornet's Nest for several reasons:
- It wasn't gruesome. There were references to the perversions and atrocities that took place in the previous two novels, but despite some violence there was nothing outstandingly gruesome in this one.
- The computer gee-whiz-isms seemed ingenious, yet plausible, especially enabling Salander's use of a Palm in the hospital. Maybe the rest didn't bother me so much because I had become inured to them in the previous two novels.
- The complexity of the plot was fun. It probably reflects more about my tastes, too, but I quite liked the increased emphasis on espionage and legal stratagems.
- The writing, as in the previous two novels, was gripping. I had a hard time putting the novel down to do other things.
I must say, though, that I thought the paragraph-long gratuitous attack on the peaty, smoky flavour of Lagavulin scotch near the end of the book was both incorrect and uncalled for .... 8-)
I recommend Hornet's Nest as a fine airport novel with two side recommendations. First, before you read it, you must familiarize yourself with the plots and names from the first two novels so that you understand what is happening in this one; it is not a stand-alone novel. But I'm sure there are good summaries somewhere on the internet so you don't have to wade through the unpleasantness of the first two. And second, if you are going to read all three, do so fairly close together. It had been over a year since I had read the second in the series, and I had trouble remembering the names and places from that novel.
Final note: as with the other two, I read this novel on my mini-iPad, aka iPhone. For those who want hard copy, the Amazon prices are quite a bit better than the prices in our local discount shops.