Blog Tour Book Review: Cage, Lilja Sigurdottir
Fiction: Cage, Lilja Sigurdottir
I love the opportunity that a blog tour gives to become familiar with the work of an author I might otherwise never know. Thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda Press for the invitation and for the electronic ARC of Cage by Lilja Sigurdottir. Cage is the third book of her Reykjavik Noir trilogy, and I may just have to seek out the previous two, Trap and Snare, and get the rest of this story.
Cage tracks the story of multiple characters in Reykjavik, Iceland, all of whom are connected in some way. Agla is in prison for financial crimes, but her expertise is still sought by a consortium trying to determine where aluminium is disappearing to. Sonya still calls Reykjavik home, but she is hiding in London from enemies. She and Agla were lovers, but parted on angry terms. Elisa is a prisoner with Agla, struggling with addiction. Ingimar is involved in various businesses, most of them shady. His son Anton is hoping to impress Julia, his girlfriend, in a non-traditional sort of way. Maria is a journalist who has been a nemesis to Agla, but in the investigation of the missing aluminium they find themselves allied.
These and other characters find themselves connected and interacting in multiple ways, leading to an exciting and not entirely expected conclusion. Sigurdottir does a terrific job revealing enough information to keep the plot moving, but withholding some to make the ending twist provocatively. I really enjoyed the various threads and trying to piece the puzzle together, and although I was partially successful, I love it when the plot is complex enough to surprise me with its ending.
The title, Cage, is also provocative and well chosen. Agla and Elisa are literally in a cage: prison. Sonya and Ingimar are in cages of their own making. Even after her release from prison, Elisa remains caged by her addiction. In some way almost all of the characters are caged, and their ability to find release (or not) makes the book a fascinating read.
Cage is definitely a book with universal appeal, but it retains its Icelandic roots. Questions of immigration and tradition, of what makes someone truly an Icelander, permeate the story. Foreign influence is both welcomed and despised. Immigrants are resented and welcomed, and the way that plays out in Anton and Julia’s relationship is creative and pivotal. Foreign corporations and crime syndicates are also challenges for our characters. Still, the greatest challenges most of them face are from each other, and in the end not all of them will be uncaged.
I found this to be a very good read, one that kept me engaged throughout the entire novel. The ending is both satisfying and unexpected, with enough revealed to make the ending logical but also with enough concealed to keep some surprises. I highly recommend Cage as a standalone novel, but suspect that it would be even more satisfying if read in conjunction with the previous two offerings in the Reykjavik Noir trilogy. I personally hope to get to those soon, and I am glad I had the chance to discover Lilja Sigurdottir as an author.