Tuesday, March 5, 2019

David Lagercrantz - The Girl Who Takes and Eye for an Eye

Lisbeth Salander - the girl with the dragon tattoo, the brilliant hacker, the obstinate outsider, the volatile seeker of justice for herself and others - has never been able to uncover the most telling facts of her traumatic childhood, the secrets that might finally, fully explain her to herself. Now, when she sees a chance to uncover them once and for all, she enlists the help of Mikael Blomkvist, the editor of the muckraking, investigative journal Millennium. And nothing will stop her - not the anti-Muslim gang she enrages by rescuing a young woman from their brutality; not the deadly reach from inside the Russian mafia of her long-lost twin sister, Camilla; and not the people who will do anything to keep buried knowledge of a sinister pseudo-scientific experiment known only as The Registry. Once again, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, together, are the fierce heart of a thrilling full-tilt novel that takes on some of the most insidious problems facing the world at this very moment.

Comment: Having read last month the first book in the Millenium series (originally by Stieg Larsson) that was written by David Lagercrantz, I've decided to keep going with this one too, since it was available at my local library. 

In this fifth installment of the series, we find Lisbeth Salander in prison due to a situation which happened in the previous book. Lisbeth isn't going to spend too much time there but she still finds someone to look for in the inmate Faria Razi, a woman accused of murdering her brother. Faria and most of the prison population is afraid of Benito Andresson who terrorizes everyone, including the guards. Lisbeth gets annoyed and gives an ultimatum to the chief of the guards but that might cause her some problems int he future, especially because her beloved mentor dies while she's locked up and Mikael Blomkvist is investigating possible connected situations that might also have something to do with the older man's death. Will Lisbeth be released and remain safe enough from a few more enemies?

In the comment of the previous book I've said the style of this new author and that of the late Stieg Larsson are different but since the story has the same conduit, things don't appear to be that off. However, I can't help but notice that it does feel like the rhythm follows a different tune. Nevertheless, the storyline has the reader following certain steps which we can link to previous situations. Basically each new story is independent but still part of a whole. 

As always, Lisbeth is the central character although this time the focus wasn't much herself or her challenging relationship with her sister Camilla, which was one of the key situations developed in the last book. This time that is a little secondary, as the focus switches to a different perspective of how her family life has turned the way it did and how is helped shape her current personality.
Even Lisbeth's attitude while in prison and why she helps the other inmate have a purpose  and s somehow part of why Lisbeth is supposed to be a sympathetic character but part of me wonders if it wasn't simply a way to put Lisbeth in the right position for some plot moves...

I think it's always interesting to keep peeling the emotional layer Lisbeth has managed to hid due to her childhood and the bad things she lived through but part of me also can't help thinking the whole "Lisbeth as the victim" - the way I see it - has become a little too much, as if this storyline is being dragged on and on... perhaps it would be time to solve this side of things and maybe focus on Lisbeth's skills now to help with other stuff? I can see why the focus would be on this, after all any crime investigator is only as more interesting as his/hers personal issues but... it can seem to be getting a little repetitive.

The plot is filled with sudden discoveries, some more important than others for what matters the most in the plot, but all have some sort of connection between them. It can be quite difficult to mix things but still keeping them part of a whole and for that, I must commend the author's attempt to do things in a proper way, so that readers ca be captivated by all details. There are some elements which I would say were used to divert the reader's attention and others were so out there (the villain's reasons to keep secrets after years and without the personal possibility any positive outcome is very weak at times) I struggled to understand why some things mattered that much.

All things considered, I enjoyed the story and some of the things I liked less are minor in the bigger scheme of things, probably more due to my personal POV than a huge problem of the novel but despite the enjoyment, some things really don't allow me to think better of the story.
Grade: 7/10

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