I remember when I first devoured the Millennium Trilogy, simultaneously learning about the death of the author (that sounds so Barthes), I was stunned – by both the octane-pace of the writing, its depth and complexity, and by the notion Steig Larsson would not be around to write any more.
Well, the man they passed the Millennium torch to, David Lagercrantz, has not only breathed life back into Larsson’s fantastic characters, but he’s maintained the extraordinary level of excitement in terms of plot and pace as well. His The Girl in the Spider’s Web (book #4) was fabulous and this, the fifth book in the Millennium series, The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye, is another stellar instalment.
In this novel, Lisbeth Salander returns with a vengeance (I don’t think she knows any other kind), and the reader finds her serving a brief sentence in a women’s prison for saving the life of a young boy (from the previous book). Refusing to defend herself, Lisbeth is more concerned about protecting innocents from grave injustice – both within the prison and from without.
Utilising her technical skills and strength as well as her connections outside the prison, including journalist, Mikael Blomkivst, not only does Lisbeth start to uncover facts about her traumatic childhood and the role she and her twin played in a sinister experiment, but due to her determination to play fair for others, incurs the wrath of extremists.
It’s only when she unites with her friend and one of the only people she trusts, Blomkivst, that Lisbeth can not only set a great wrong right, but also find her own kind of justice – an eye for an eye.
A little slow to start as the novel sets up the prison system and the characters within it, once it takes off, it moves swiftly. Required to suspend your disbelief a few times, it’s easy to do within the world created by Larsson and Lagercrantz and just go along for the wild, Salander-inspired ride. What this book does offer is some of Lisbeth’s back story, a tale which goes a long way to explaining the type of strong and capable woman she becomes.
A terrific, easy read that enriches an already iconic crime series.