As a reader I always find it bittersweet when I get to the end of a series I have enjoyed. The Reykjavik Noir Trilogy by Lilja Sigurdardottir has been an interesting and exciting series and Cage is the final book in it. The book has already won the title of Icelandic Crime Novel of the Year in Iceland and Val McDermid has described Lilja’s writing as “tough, uncompromising and unsettling.”
Cage jumps forward in time from the first two books Snare and Trap so we are essentially reading about the conclusions of the story and the long-lasting consequences of peoples’ actions. There is more crime – fraud and finance – relationships and affairs of the heart are as complicated as ever and I felt a lot of loneliness and despair in the characters in this book. The book starts with a great description of a prison in Iceland as Agla starts her sentence. We get a great feel for the physicality of space but also what is going on with Agla emotionally and how she copes with the experience of being caged. Agla understands and knows how to play the system and the resources she has available to her when she receives an intriguing proposition.
Maria, Sonja, Ingimar, Anton – all the characters from the other books are in there and it is for this reason I would suggest reading the books in order. The character development is an important part of this trilogy and by reading the first two books you will experience the conclusion of the story more fully in Cage. The story once again takes the reader to the USA for some detective work about shady business transactions before returning to Iceland. Cage is brilliantly translated, fast paced, told from multiple viewpoints and touches on events which are particularly relevant to Icelanders (as well as the rest of us of course). Throughout this trilogy Lilja has excelled at weaving in real life concerns to the story. The plot is intricate and well woven and the trilogy draws to a satisfying ending.
My overriding takeaway from this trilogy are how devious, greedy and cruel some humans can be, how this becomes woven into business and how Lilja creates robust emotional characters for the reader to invest in. She really is a strong storyteller. I stand by my review of Trap where I said “What Lilja does so well in her writing is tell an exciting, terrifyingly realistic human story through a multiplicity of female characters.” Lilja has over the past few years appeared at quite a few UK book festivals and anyone attending panels where she appears will hopefully be getting familiar with her and her work. She has really invested herself in our book market and I applaud her and her publisher for getting her books and personality out there. The good news is Orenda books have bought her stand alone thriller with a political twist Betrayal (Svik in Icelandic) to publish next. We will have more news on that as soon as we can. Bring on the Icelandic version of Borgen!
This blog post is part of a blog tour. You can check different reviews of the book by taking a look at the poster below and searching for the blogs mentioned.