Freedom and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest — only Franzen's novel delivered. The conclusion to the Millennium Trilogy is a dull, scatterbrained police, journalistic and courtroom procedural with a foregone conclusion. The drama — indeed, the thrill of this supposed thriller — is too few and way too far between.
I know this probably won't be a popular sentiment, but the reason I was bored is that the entire plot of this novel hinges on a mystery that Stieg actually spoils for us early in the novel— i.e., who is part of the Section, that the Section protected Zalachenko, and what they're planning going forward to protect the secret. This means that Mikael and the law-and-order folks of Constitutional Protection spend most of the novel hunting for answers the reader already knows. Not much drama there.
As usual, there's some "romance," some computer hacker stuff, some legitimately thrilling scenes here and there, and several side stories — including a semi-interesting one about Erika Berger and a stalker at her new job as editor-in-chief of a big Swedish newspaper. But in this case, which is another negative in my view, there were too many damn side stories, and the interesting ones got lost amidst the boring ones. For instance, when a section about the Section would start, I'd immediately look to the next pages to find out how long I'd be bored by their maneuverings. Usually, mercifully, it wasn't too long, as Stieg jumps back and forth between each story line on almost an every-other-page basis. But this also means the parts that include the interesting story lines — Mikael spying on his those spying on him, etc. — were just as short. There's no flow and the reader (at least this one) feels totally disconnected from the narrative.
Writing negative reviews is no fun, so let's end on a positive. Even though Hornet's Nest was a let down, I really did enjoy the first book in the series, and I also enjoyed a lot about the second book. In fact, I just looked at my ratings on Goodreads for these — 4 stars for Dragon Tattoo, 3 for Played With Fire, and now 2 for Hornet's Nest. I can assure you, that symmetrical descent in rating wasn't on purpose — just happened that way. And I can also assure you that this is the last New Dork post about Stieg. How disappointed are you right now?
If you've read these novels, which was your favorite (see poll in sidebar)? Anyone have a similar reaction as me to the last one?