First off, I went into this with mid to low expectations. I just wanted to spend time with Lisbeth again and was ready for whatever would come my way. It could be pure unadulterated crap, churned out for the sole purpose of squeezing out more cash from Girl fans across the globe, which is pretty much what Larsson’s partner Eva Gabrielson believes it to be. But there was a chance it could also be a decent continuation for some beloved characters (while still making loads of cash, blah blah blah) in the world of Scandinavian Crime fiction. And you know what, for the most part it is as entertaining and as convoluted and sometimes ham-fisted as the original. Let’s be honest, Larsson’s plots could be downright ridiculous, padded out with boring (or stomach-churningly horrific) details and the writing sometimes slipped into a stilted mess. But quite frankly I didn’t care because Lisbeth and her world was endlessly fascinating to me. And you could see how he was working on his craft and building a framework.
In this new book, you can see that Lagercrantz did his homework, not messing with established characters much but sometimes relying too heavily on them to provide background in the form of long expositional passages. I love old Holger Palmgren, but it seemed he was only there to talk us through all the stuff that had already happened to Salander. Sure we got a little new information and that was cool, but this is a problem I always have with the majority of series. I read the other books, stop punishing me for that! A little refresher is fine, but criminy, so many books could be dozens if not hundred of pages shorter (I’m looking at you Ms. Gabaldon and Mr. Martin) if not for that padding. But I see I’m off topic once again.
This book has it all; computer intrigue (the NSA, Darknet, AI), kick ass action, Salander coming to the aid of the abused, Blomkvist being Blomkvist and all that Millennium “drama”, and in the form of her sister, Camilla, the evil twin known as Thanos (to Lisbeth’s Wasp…..do your Marvel universe research) a formidable adversary. You see, she has taken over much of Zala’s old empire, making it more viable in this digital age and, natch, has made it her life’s work to destroy her sister. It’s a battle of wills that I am interested in seeing the outcome of.