Review: ‘The Girl Who Takes An Eye for An Eye’ by David Lagercrantz

Foyles Bookshop, London, September, 2015. David Lagercrantz takes to the stage to talk about The Girl in the Spider’s Web – a book which sees him continue Stieg Larsson’s best-selling Millennium trilogy.

Photo of book cover.

One would be surprised if the author didn’t feel a little bit under pressure that night, or, more specifically, after the book was released. The original three novels chronicling Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist’s adventures are classics, and there was a chance that some were worried about the reboot of the series.

Yet, the book did well. Keen to stay true to the lore, Lagercrantz kept character development minimal and instead, it was how the main duo interacted with a gripping plot which made the book interesting.

Fast forward to today and the Swedish writer has lost the air of hesitation. In some regards, The Girl in the Spider’s Web was Lagercrantz dipping his toe into the water. This time, however, with The Girl Who Takes An Eye for An Eye, he’s prepared to take some risks, and be a bit more daring.

There’s two main plot points in particular which will probably leave devoted fans shocked, but for the sake of this review and spoilers, I won’t mention them. Nevertheless, it shows bravery and competence on Lagercrantz’s part to change the story in such a way.

Although, with that being said, the story perhaps could have worked better as a ‘personal vendetta’ story, as the name suggests. The plot in itself was interesting somewhat, but it was nothing extraordinary. However, the character development in this follow-up is to be commended.

Whether or not this is down to my lengthy breaks between reading (I blame university) or the story itself, but as I turned the last page whilst on the tube, I couldn’t help but feel a little confused. In some regards, the title hadn’t lived up to my expectations, and the epilogue lacked the sense of completion and satisfaction that one normally feels.

So, as a whole? It’s an enjoyable book which is satisfying for the most part. To some, it may well be seen as the ‘filler’ that the second book in a trilogy tends to be. Nevertheless, we approach the final instalment in the new trilogy knowing Lisbeth and Mikael a whole lot better, and with a refreshed, confident writing style from Lagercrantz.

The sixth Millennium novel looks set to be a gripping tale indeed.

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Musical Discovery: ‘Lemon to a Knife Fight’ by The Wombats

It’s always a joy rediscovering a classic band, and it’s even better when you realise that they’re back with new music. In my case, after months of re-listening to Kill the Director and Moving to New York, The Wombats return with Lemon to a Knife Fight.

If you were to compare Lemon to a Knife Fight to songs from A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation, then you’ll hear a subtle difference. The fast-paced feel of the latter is replaced with a slower tempo, yet the chanting vocals remain – along with the traditional, bizarre song titles…

This makeup creates a song which has the potential to be both a festival hit, and a laid-back track for a bedroom listening session.

Lemon to a Knife Fight shows maturity from The Wombats in what is a solid single marking their return.

Musical Discovery: ‘We Could Go Back’ by Jonas Blue (Jonas Blue & Jack Wins Club Mix)

Unlike previous releases, Jonas Blue’s We Could Go Back has a much slower tempo, opting for a smooth marimba feel complete with tropical house vibes. However, as with any track with a low BPM, the potential to speed things up a little bit is there. Cue the producer joining with the Dutch DJ Jack Wins to do just that.

Jumping straight in with the first verse, already we hear the flow of Moelogo’s vocals increased which sees the chorus brought in just 22 seconds into the song. At this point, we get a flavour of the instrumentals to come, with light synth melodies gaining prominence before coming to the forefront.

Staggering piano stabs keep things nice and bouncy, providing the first build-up of the track before a second build follows, complete with backing synth and drums. Then, come the actual drop, it’s the deeper, backing synth (a sound often apparent on a Jack Wins single) that we hear as the instrumental.

If there’s one thing to be admired for the track, then its smooth transitions into different musical styles. The DJ duo’s remix sees bursts of deep house, traditional piano stabs and, with regards to the second verse and beat drop, hints of drum-and-bass.

Whilst, of course, Jonas Blue’s original style is suited to the club scene (tropical house still makes a regular appearance at nightclubs around the country thanks to tracks such as Despacito), with a wonderful blend of styles, the UK DJ’s collaboration with Jack Wins is also the perfect track for any party-goer, with any musical preference.