The Girl Who Lived Twice
An uninspired conclusion in D. Lagercrantz's trilogy.
Let me begin by stating that I was in favor of the continuation of Millenium series by an author other than the late Stieg Larsson and I've enjoyed the first two books (The Girl in the Spider's Web, The Girl Who Took An Eye for An Eye) but this one failed to meet my, admittedly high, expectations. It is an overall mediocre attempt in bringing beloved fictional characters such as Lisbeth Salander or Mikael Blomkvist back to life, in a story that lacks a clear direction and a plot that seems to be flat and without the necessary exciting twists and turns that usually make a crime novel a success.
Lisbeth has a secondary role here, and even though her conflict with her sister Camilla is built from the early pages, she is mainly busy with hacking to help Mikael to uncover the truth about a suspicious suicide of a foreign man who was once a guide at Mountain Everest. The main plotline seems compelling enough in the first part of the novel but it quickly reveals its weak structure and lack of inspiration. When the reader learns the truth about the beggar's suicide in the third and final part of the book, he is not sure if he cares any longer. The subplot concerning the feud between Lisbeth and Camilla is equally dull and the showdown is so implausible that almost makes you laugh.
David Lagercrantz's prose has a nice flow but seems to be rather naive in some parts while the characterization in The Girl Who Lived Twice is not as strong as it was in the previous two novels. Both the two protagonists, Mikael and Lisbeth, seem to be constantly out of depth, while the secondary characters and villains, who were one of the most interesting aspects in S. Larsson's original Millenium trilogy, are outlined awkwardly. Lagercrantz tries to connect the book's plotline with those of the previous two but even that is unsuccessful as the result seems -more or less- forced.
There was a major conflict between the Larsson's family members, Stieg's father and brother, and Eva Gabrielsson, Stieg's partner for more than thirty years, regarding the rights in the Millenium legacy. Gabrielsson claims to be the only person suitable to continue the series, as she was involved in some parts in the original trilogy -though not in the writing process itself- mainly having to do with some of the characters and locations used in the novels. Thus, she was not supportive of D. Lagercrantz's writing endeavor, but the Larsson family, who finally inherited the rights, agreed and gave him the green light to extend the series. The reading audience was divided into two groups, with some loving the new novels and others hating it. I was positive from the beginning as I'm in favor of bold writing experiments like this one. Unfortunately, The Girl Who Lived Twice, which is the last book in the series written by Lagercrantz, left me with a bitter taste and as I finished reading, I couldn't help but feeling kind of nostalgic remembering the original trilogy's brilliance.
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