Review - The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye, David Lagercrantz

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The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye
#5 Millenium
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Book Synopsis

In prison because of her actions taken to rescue a young and troubled child (detailed in the prior novel of the series), Lizbeth Salander is stoically serving her time.  As with life outside, the prison environment operates with a delicate balance of power that can tip either way on any given day.  These are all niceties that Salander prefers to ignore - unless it serves her own purposes to enter into the messy fray that is prison politics.  The killer Benito rules the prison with an iron fist and her latest joy is to torture a young Arab inmate who does not have the defences and skills that Salander possesses.  There is an imbalance here that Salander takes upon herself to re-address.

Visited weekly by her ally, famous journalist Mikael Blomkvist, Salander isn’t that concerned about what she is missing out on whilst incarcerated.  It will all be waiting for her when she is released.  It does worry her however when her elderly friend and former guardian Holger Palmgren makes the effort to come to the prison.  Palmgren is gravely ill, and lives these days under the care of nurses that visit his apartment daily to attend to his needs.  Salander has few friends and the only certainty she has in life is that if anyone hurts her allies, there will be blood shed.

Book Review

Happily, we encounter here more of the same winning ingredients once again in THE GIRL WHO TAKES AN EYE FOR AN EYE. There is the resourceful and charming journalist Blomkvist, the enigmatic and bitingly intelligent hacker Lisbeth Salander, and another action based plot populated with frightening villains.  The relationship between the two mains is again reading gold (though we see less of it in this outing) and the dynamic between the two remains the strongest aspect of this now legacy series. 

Author David Lagercrantz confidently continues his commissioned task of continuing the Millennium series, two novels in after the death of fellow Swedish author Stieg Larsson. We were all relieved when the previous novel, Lagercrantz’s first Millennium outing, was such a cracker of a read.   Larsson’s spectacularly successful trilogy covered a lot of ground and firmly established Salander as an iconic figure of Scandinavian fiction.   It was no small feat to produce a book which seamlessly carries on the story of Salander and Blomkvist in such a convincing fashion.

THE GIRL WHO TAKES AN EYE FOR AN EYE is constructed on a smaller scale.  The global concerns of the stock market are mentioned again, but not pursued as a major plot driver.  Blomkvist is leading more of a regular life after all his hair raising previous escapades, and there is lot less of Millennium the magazine featured in this outing.  It gets a bit wearying to seeing Salander put on her superhuman cape to solve the world’s problems once again and the novel is not as complex as what we are used to seeing in this series.   The book struggles to keep momentum and is a mish mash of ideas that never quite gel to form a cohesive plot.  The first half of the novel meanders about and Salander’s motivations never ring true as she concerns herself with the problems of others instead of focusing on what’s necessary.

This entry in the series is more of a catch up with what everyone is up to and there is another death of a regular to make sure that Salander considers to suffer, regardless of any improved circumstances.  Not the strongest book but not a terrible one either; read this book for series continuity but the story will not glue you to the pages this time.

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