It's quite likely you have heard of Steig Larsson's Millennium series and his anarchic anti-hero Lisbeth Salander, the originalz Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Sadly Larsson died before a single word of his 80 million copy selling trilogy had been published. After a long drawn out legal battle between Larsson's family and long term partner for control of his literary estate, a new Millennium book was published 11 years after his death - but it isn't the continuation of the series Larsson had planned and has been heavily criticized by his partner.
So what do I make of this 4th novel? Is it a welcome addition to the Millennium Story or would it have been better to allow the series to die with Steig?
The plot opens with Millennium's celebrity journalist Mikael Blomkvist being contacted by renowned Swedish scientist Professor Frans Balder. Concerned for his safety but more concerned for his son's well-being, Balder wants Millennium to publish his story - and it is a juicy one. But Blomkvist is more interested in Balder's possible connection with a certain female super-hacker than his revolutionary advances in AI technology. Could this be Blomkvist's first news of his old friend and sometimes partner Lisbeth Salander for some time? His curiosity is peaked enough to visit Balder in the dead of night, only to walk into a murder scene and the beginnings of a tangled mystery which see both himself and Salander caught in a lethal conspiracy.
Opening this book initially feels very familiar. The tone is also right and the dialogue has that classic Scandinavian minimalist appeal. You could tell me it was written by Larsson and I'd believe you but (yes, there is a big but) I'd also tell you he'd gone off the boil. Unfortunately the story line and the pace of events lets this book down. It has taken me 5months to finish it. Now it being in paperback rather than my Kindle app has some bearing on this but for the most part the story has dragged. I really didn't care about the back story and felt I was treading water, for a long time. And then there is Lizbeth, or at least an 80% version of Lizbeth. I can't quite put it into words but she has lost something. Some of the unpredictability (or perhaps madness) has gone. It feels like she is being led by events rather than exploiting them. It's a disappointment as she is one of the truly iconic characters of modern fiction.
So did I enjoy this book? Well I enjoyed meeting my old friend's Blomkvist and Salander again but I won't be racing out to buy the 5th book in the series. I will probably read it at some point though because those 2 are like a drug, you can't really ever get enough.
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The original Millennium Trilogy
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Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.