The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Okay, in this incredibly popular trilogy, this book is by far the best. I almost never think a book is worth 5 stars, but this one really is.
For one thing, this book contains a courtroom scene that left me completely riveted and I absolutely HATE courtroom scenes. I know nothing about the legal system in Sweden. Frankly, I know almost nothing about the legal system here, which is terrifying in my current situation (litigious divorce). However, the particular form of being able to question multiple people at once is what makes this courtroom scene unfold so dramatically and wonderfully.
The book packs all sorts of drama and action from the start without giving up too much of the character development. This book contains more "aha" moments that change or define characters than the other books, but it is compelled by the pace of the action. On the other hand, the end of the book is really good.
I usually find the endings of books either disappointing or trite. Mostly both. This book does something wonderful. Instead of ending at the thrilling resolution of the major action, the book takes us on a relaxing meander for a bit to lull us into the character of the main person in the book. Then, the book adds a final little exciting moment and a resolution tied up with the standard distance developed in this character's personality. The ending is amazingly satisfying.
I highly recommend this book, but I highly recommend reading the others first. The entire trilogy is one of the few popular reads that is really worth the time. The book took me quite a long time to get through, but not remotely because it is slow. It took me forever because I work full-time and am raising two little kids. If not for that, I would probably have stayed up all night and finished it in one read. The story is so engaging that I suggest, if you can, putting the book down and savoring it over a couple of weeks. It will be an enjoyable couple of weeks.