My first book of 2011 was a great one, the final chapter in the Millennium trilogy, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" (563 pages) by Stieg Larsson. From Goodreads:
This novel not only puts the cap on the most eagerly read trilogy in years; the sequel to The Girl Who Played With Fire marks the completion of its Swedish author's career: Stieg Larsson died at the age of fifty in 2004. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is, however, too exciting and too adept to be read simply as a major author's memorial. From its onset, with 'avenging angel' protagonist Lisbeth Salander lying in intensive care, this fiction pulses forward. One British critic called it 'intricately plotted, lavishly detailed but written with a breakneck pace and verve...a tantalizing double finale—first idyllic, then frenetic.'
"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" is a fantastic finish to the Millennium trilogy. It's unfortunate that the stories will not be continued with Larsson's untimely death. I've really grown to enjoy the multitude of characters that the author introduced and expanded upon in all three novels. In some regards this latest novel is my favorite and most disliked of the series. When the story picks up steam it's a book that's nearly impossible to put down. At other times the narrative came to a grinding halt and was a bit taxing to push through. The last novel can be extremely intricate and thus is hard for me to write a fitting recap. There are so many characters and plot lines going on at the same time that it could be easy for a reader to lose their way. This wasn't too much of an issue for me but I could see how it would potentially be a problem.
All in all a great series and a great conclusion. This novel should be read in order after "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Girl Who Played With Fire." I think reading the novel on its own would be nearly impossible to fully understand. The only complaints I have about the book is the sometimes stop and go pacing and the sheer volume of characters and plots that intertwine throughout the story. Recommended.