Review: The Girl Who Takes and Eye for an Eye – David Lagercrantz
2 of 5 stars
This is the second in the new round of books about Swedish hacker Lisbeth Salander, originally written by Stieg Larsson and now by David Lagercrantz. The previous book, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, while not *quite* up to the heights of Larsson’s vision and interpretation, was pretty good. I was more disappointed in this one. Lagercrantz is a talented writer in his own right and the in some ways I think he has captured the original spirit of the book and characters well enough but the book lacks the intensity of the Stieg Larsson trilogy.
We start with Lisbeth in prison for taking extreme measures to save a boy’s life. It’s not specified, but I think that was the result of the ending of the previous novel, The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Mikael Blomkvist visits regularly and then begins an investigation for Millenium magazine that has a connection to Lisbeth’s childhood. It’s going to tie together the young Muslim woman in prison that Lisbeth is trying to protect. And then there are identical twins, ties to a science/social experiment, and a lot of time is spent on this. In fact, there’s too much time spent on all the background and investigation and not enough time on Lisbeth which is mainly why I grew to love the original trilogy. In this book, she’s a shadow of her former self.
I find she doesn’t seem to be as engaged in the overall story, she’s almost an afterthought with most of her appearances in the shadows and the bulk of her storyline coming in near the end of this book rather than being an integral part of the whole thing. I like Blomkvist but I liked the chemistry between the pair of them and that’s lacking for the most part. In the tradition of the original concept, he shouldn’t be the star, he should be an equal protagonist or nearly so. Lisbeth Salander is the character that really made the books so successful, the underdog against all odds, used and abused and back for revenge. Her revenge doesn’t feel as satisfying this time.
In the first Lagercrantz book, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Lisbeth was written quite well and the book was a fairly satisfying sequel to the series. There was a new aspect to her past and family that was revealed but I don’t want to spoil it though if you’ve read this book, you’ve probably read the previous four.
This time, he builds on that fact and adds more to Lisbeth’s childhood woes surrounding it. None of the Lagercrantz reveals were hinted at in the Larsson trilogy that I recall. It makes me wonder how much more will be retro-fitted into her back story in future books. For me, it starts to stretch credibility. Add to that, the relative lack of Lisbeth as the central figure in this book and interest starts to wane. If it wasn’t a Salander book with high expectations, though, I would have rated it higher. If you’re going to title a book “The Girl Who…” then it should be about The Girl.