Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Review: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornests' Nest

Hello, fellow bibliophiles!

Here's my first book review for this year and hopefully you will enjoy reading this post. If this is your first visit on my blog, I have written about my Book Review Journal and have presented my criteria on reviewing a book.

The Rating Scale

  • Quality of Writing - the book was originally written in Swedish and the English versions are all fantastic. The author had a background in investigative journalism and he definitely aimed the mark in describing the dangers and triumphs of being involved in this kind of work. 
  • Pace - the first chapters will put you on the edge but the middle part is pretty much a dull moment. Especially when a new character is being introduced and discussing the history of Sapo.
  • Plot Development - umm.. there are many twists and turns, with various characters that contributed to the whole life story of Lisbeth. There was also a subplot on Erika, and I like this part too.
  • Characters - you will be introduced to many characters in this book. I suggest that you keep track of their roles. The author provided background on each characters like what they were doing before being involved in the Salander affair.
  • Enjoyability - I enjoyed the subplot story of Erika, the trial of Lisbeth, and the maneuvers that The Hacker Republic did in order to retrieve information from The Section in favor of Lisbeth.
  • Insightfulness - there are more interesting stories to the crime and spy plots of this book. You will also read about ethics and morality, truth and justice will always prevail to those who are innocent, the dangers of computer technology (if you are not careful), and women empowerment.
  • Ease of reading - I had a hard time reading thru Swedish political stories (and pronouncing their names). I find this boring and sometimes I skipped these pages. I feel like I don't really want to know about the politics and government and would just concentrate on Lisbeth's story.
  • Photos/Illustration - there were no photos or illustrations in this book. But I can say that the conversations of The Hacker Republic in the chat room was written in the same way as it used to be. 

Notes and Opinions

Now, let's talk about the book at hand. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornests' Nest (yes, the title of the book is quite a mouthful) is the third and final book of the Millennium series. I have read the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and saw the movie too), but not the second one - The Girl who Played with Fire. Why, do you say? Because at that time when I bought the books at National Bookstore, the second installment to the series was not available. So, I settled with these two books instead.

My own copy of The Girl who Kicked the Hornests' Nest.
Unlike other series books, I found that reading the third book was not hard in terms of relating the chain of events from the first and second books. I can even say that you can read this as a stand alone.

The story starts where the second book ended having Lisbeth Salander treated in the hospital after a bloody and near death encounter with his biological father, Alexander Zalachenko, who turned out to be the head of an international sex/drug trafficking ring and also a former Soviet defector under secret Swedish protection. By defector, we mean a person leaving or abandoning his or her previous country or party in favor of the opposing one, or simply a spy.

There is more to this father and daughter relationship as the story unfolds on how Lisbeth, her twin sister and her mother suffered from the brutal physical abuses of Zalachenko, which prompted an unforgivable vendetta from Lisbeth.

The book is titled that way because kicking a hornests' nest is an idiomatic expression meaning to cause trouble or commotion. As you read along, there will be various characters that you will be introduced to (not the mention that they are hard to pronounce) that will create a myriad representation of their roles on the major characters of the book.

Drum roll please........presenting the characters of the book:
  • Lisbeth Salander - the hacker -- gothic computer genius with photographic memory, who prefers not to talk about her life but will do all means to obtain justice from what she had experienced.
  • Mikhail Blomkvist - the formidable investigative journalist who will put his life on the line just to get the truth of the story out to public. He is also described as a lady's man and has created many love-hate relationships in this book series, including Lisbeth. 
  • Erika Berger - powerful, sultry and sophisticated. She embodies the image of a successful working woman in a professional standpoint. With the position of Editor in Chief of Millenium magazine and then hired by Sweden's largest daily paper (which is by the way fictional), her character represents 
  • Annika Giannini - Blomkvist sister who's a lawyer that handled Lisbeth's trial. Being a women's rights lawyer, she felt that she will not be able to help Lisbeth because she believed that Lisbeth's case was more of a criminal case. But Mikhail assured her that she is the perfect lawyer to acquit Lisbeth from all charges. Boosting her self-esteem, Annika was brilliant during the trial and even gained the trust of Lisbeth in the end.
  • Dragan Armansky - his character was first introduced in Tattoo and is part of the Team Salander. He is the head of the Milton Security and provided security services to Mikhail in the process of freeing Lisbeth.
  • Advokat Nils Erik Bjurman - this guy was mentioned in Tattoo as the guardian of Lisbeth, but he's one of the main villain characters that injured Lisbeth's persona by raping her brutally. 
  • Magnus Borgsjo - he is the big boss of Erika at SMP (the fictional newspaper that I was telling previously). His story is a subplot of the book that confronted and challenged Erika's work ethics and morality. Erika learned from Mikhail that Magnus is involved in a company that uses child labor to make toilets. The subplot is like a recess from the Lisbeth-Zalachenko affair and will allow you to concentrate on the character of Erika and how she was able to solve this dilemma on her own (well, with the help of an agent from Milton Security and of course a little intervention from Lisbeth).
  • Torsten Edklinth - he is the director of the Constitution Protection Unit of the Secret Police. Edklinth is part of the Team Salander and helped out in toppling down The Section, a group of Sapo secret agents that protected Zalachenko and was willing to destroy Lisbeth as well in order to protect their illegal organization and the persons responsible in the Zalachencko affair.
  • Dr. Peter Teleborian - the psychiatrist that The Section paid and maintained in their little group of horror by reporting (in his professional point of view) that Lisbeth is a paranoid schizophrenic with satanic ideations and gender identity disorder. With his "supposed" examinations and psychiatric treatment recommendations, they succeeded in putting Lisbeth in a mental facility. But unknowingly, he was outdone by Lisbeth when The Hacker Republic accessed his computer and discovered "forty-seven folders containing close to 9,000 photographs of explicit child pornography....A number of pictures were infants. The majority were girls. many of them were sadistic."
  • Prosecutor Richard Ekstrom - because of greed (maybe), he decided to take side with The Section by defending Dr. Teleborian and condemning Lisbeth by arguing that she is mentally ill and dangerous thus should be locked away for good. Nonetheless, his legal maneuvers were all kaput and he conceded that he made a terrible mistake with his professional career in the end.
  • Monica Figuerola - I am literally imagining Michelle Rodriguez in her. Her favorite past-time is working out (and having sex with Mikhail). She's not totally the Johnny Bravo female version since she loves to read non-fiction books, like books about ancient religions. Oh she works for the elite team of Sapo but is on the Team Salander.
  • Peter Fredriksson - Ah,the most unlikely character of the book. Remember Erika's subplot story in SMP? Well, this guy is responsible for the nasty stalker actions to Erika, because it turned out the Peter was that guy in high school who have a big crush on Erika but did not get too much attention (or even noticed that he existed. Ouch!). So when he found out that Erika is going to be the new Editor in Chief (and his boss), he started to create this maniacal habit of sending her mischievous e-mails until he was identified and got caught.
  • Idris Ghidi - I wish the author did not dwell too much on this character. Well, his role was monumental as he was hired by Mikhail to smuggle the Palm computer to Lisbeth in the hospital, but the background story on him (and his life) is not really significant. 
  • Dr. Anders Jonasson - not only that he was the surgeon who saved Lisbeth's life, he also helped regained her trust and restored her humanity. He also helped out in sneaking the Palm computer to Lisbeth as requested by Mikhail.
  • The Hacker Republic - is composed of several individuals that helped Lisbeth in retrieving (and hacking) computer information from several characters in the story. The names of these people were Plague, Trinity, and Bob the Dog -- of course, all of the names are screen names. 
  • Suzanne Linder - she is Erika's bodyguard when the stalking events started. She works for the Milton Security and made Peter F. promise to stop harassing Erika. Well, this was not definitely done over a peaceful cup of coffee.
  • Ronald Neidermann - he is the Lisbeth's half-brother and the person who is programmed (yes, because he is more like a robot than a human being in this story) to kill Lisbeth. 
  • Alexander Zalachenko - Lisbeth's hell dad. His whole story started in Played with Fire and the remaining chapters of his life ended in this book. Lisbeth was planning to kill him but he survived the axe-cutting incident that Lisbeth took on him. He was killed in a rather shocking way in the book. Now, that's for you to find out.
Actually, there are a lot of minor characters in the book describing who's on Team Salander and The Section allies. But I will no longer delve on them further. 

Overall Rating

Okay, here we go..I give this book 3.5 stars -- I am entertained by the different twists and turns of the story and glad that Lisbeth's sufferings has come to an end.

But her adventures does not end in this book. There is a fourth book to continue the works of this hacker genius and our rockstar journalist -- The Girl in the Spider's Web. I already added this to my Book Wish List and hoping that I can read it within this year.

So, I hope you enjoyed reading this book review and I have inspired you to read this book (or any other books perhaps). See you till the next book review... **waves**

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