Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Girl Who Takes An Eye for an Eye -- Lisbeth Salander and Book Review

Photo: from the book's pic on my Goodreads review page

A bit of a letdown after Lagercrantz's excellent previous The Girl in the Spider's Web, his continuation of Stieg Larsson's Millenium series. This one takes a loooooooooong time to get going--more than half the book, I'd say. It's a little dull and plodding; only the faith that it would all mesh explosively at the end kept me going. And that mostly didn't happen, either.

It's extremely dry writing, more so than the already dry Nordic Noir usually is. I don't know if it's the original writing, or the translation, but I think it's the first, because there's only so much spicing up you can do with original material. It's very straightforward, lots of simple sentences, with no feel for its own drama. It's like a book-length newspaper article. It's interesting, but the reader should figure out the twin twist long before the author finally gets there. And because it's so drawn out, the reader should get the minor twin twist long before the author also gets there. There are no surprises here.

It's also very bloodless, though the three women of the story--Salander, a psychopathic baddie she meets in prison (and what the hell was Lisabeth doing there?) and a victim also in that prison--do come away extremely black and blue. Salander actually should've gotten a ton of broken bones, but somehow doesn't. And two characters survive a major stabbing, and they both crawl into the forest and survive. While Salander suffers quite a bit here, Blomkvist sleeps around with almost everyone.

In fact, I would've given this one two stars but for the truly great epilogue--three freakin' pages that save the book and show Salander at her most true form, really being her. By far it's her most honest scene, the Salander we've grown to appreciate and respect. Too bad she's not allowed to be like this at all throughout the book until this point. If you feel like stopping short on this one (and I almost wouldn't blame you), do me and yourself a favor and read the epilogue before you put it down for good. You don't have to read the whole book to fully appreciate it, either.

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