Book Review – The Girl In The Spider’s Web, David Lagercrantz
Title: The Girl In The Spider’s Web
Author: David Lagercrantz
Translation: George Goulding
Copyright: 2015 – Multiple – please see your own language print publication
Blurb: The girl with the dragon tattoo is back. Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist have not been in touch for some time.
Then Blomkvist is contacted by renowned Swedish scientist Professor Balder. Warned that his life is in danger, but more concerned for his son’s well-being, Balder wants Millennium to publish his story – and it is a terrifying one.
More interesting to Blomkvist than Balder’s world-leading advances in Artificial Intelligence, is his connection with a certain female superhacker.
It seems that Salander, like Balder, is a target of ruthless cyber gangsters – and a violent criminal conspiracy that will very soon bring terror to the snowbound streets of Stockholm, to the Millennium team, and to Blomkvist and Salander themselves.
Plot: I bought it, read it and am now sharing my thoughts. I don’t write spoilers so if you want a detailed breakdown you’ll need to look elsewhere.
The main witness to a crime is a small boy with communication issues, a clever way to highlight Lisbeth’s own personality and to add suspense. Lisbeth does show her soft side in this book, with a cleverly written relationship with the child. A meeting of minds, maybe a bit predictable but a nice development.
You can expect violence, suspense, numerous plot twists and turns, computer hackery (if that isn’t a word yet it should be) and the more than slightly damaged Lisbeth being frustratingly but understandably independent.
Lisbeth as ever is quirky, self reliant, violent, misunderstood and under threat. She must have more scars than, well, than most people! I just hope her dragon remains forever intact.
Characters: This book won’t really make much sense to you, or you won’t get much out of it, if you haven’t already got to know the characters.
The usual suspects are all mentioned in one way or another. You even get a handy list reminder at the start telling you who everyone is. I’m not sure if that’s in the hope that you’ll read it as a stand alone, I found it a handy reminder since it’s been some time since I read the first three books.
The highly dysfunctional Salander family is given more depth, with Lisbeth’s sister making an appearance.
I never liked the philandering Blomkvist and his actions in this book doesn’t change my opinion. The sexual tension between the two leads bugs me, I’ve just never thought it’s needed. Maybe he’s a father figure, I’ve not really decided.
In years to come Lisbeth and Blomkvist could settle down with baby girls running round chasing wasps but I don’t think he’s her Mr Right, she deserves someone stronger on her side, and most probably a woman.
Conclusion: If you are, like me, a Lisbeth Salander fan you won’t be able to resist this book. It was commissioned, not sure who by, as the author of the original three books, the Millenium series, died before he made his fortune from his excellent writing.
Cue a massive dispute over the fiction rights and subsequent fortune.
Anyway, back to the book. I had to buy it, I felt obliged to support the cause, which is ridiculous as the dead author, Mr Stieg Larsson, is not around to appreciate my loyalty and it’s not even his work.
I did enjoy reading it but didn’t devour it like the first two, or finish the trek as enthusiastically as I had with the third slighty less easy to read book in the trilogy.
Recommended: Yes, just to keep up with Lisbeth. If you haven’t read the first three please do, they are truly modern classics. They also spawned a whole new genre.
The Swedish title for the original novel was Men Who Hate Women. I read (can’t recall where) that originally the author wanted the book called The Woman Who Hates Men. This meant he apparently couldn’t get published. If that’s true it’s a shame because Lisbeth has quite a few really good reasons to hate men and I believe Mr Larsson’s writing shows he was a true feminist. Either way, they switched to the tattoo theme for the English market and that seems to have done just fine.
I won’t give this fourth tale a massive hype as I found it less compulsive than the originals. I’m not sure why, maybe the voice wasn’t strong enough. The dark deeds not quite dark enough. The characters a little off kilter. It just generally felt lacking, maybe it would be best to let Lisbeth walk away into the sunset. I’ve no doubt Mr Lagercrantz is an excellent author and I can only imagine how daunting it was to take on this classic sequel, but in some ways I wish it had been left alone.
Let me know what you think, should true classics have sequels or prequels by different authors?
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