The Girl in The Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz
The Nitty Gritty: Michael Blomkvist is an investigative journalist without a story and Lisbeth Salander is a undercover crusader without a cause. What happens when Sweden's best duo run out of things to do?
Well if you are Wasp and one of the best hackers in the world you tackle the biggest game in town, the United States National Security Agency, or the NSA. And if you are Blomkvist you find yourself in the middle of a murder investigation by the strangest of circumstances.
Lisbeth is on the hunt for an elusive group of hackers responsible for some of the biggest intellectual heists in the century, and a couple of murders and Blomkvist is hot on her trail.
This group who call themselves the Spiders have targeted Lisbeth and a Swedish scientist on the cusp of breaking through to A.I. Driven b vengeance and a sense of her own brand of justice Lisbeth is going to hunt them down to the last line of code and Blomvist will shine a light on their illegal activities of its the last thing he does...and it might just be.
Opening Line: "Frans Balder always thought of himself as a lousy father."
The Good: LISBETH IS BACK!!!!! I can't tell you how excited I was when this book was announced. I fell in love with Blomkvist and Salander after the first book. I admit I waited for all the hype to die down before I dove into the books, but once I did I was in a fan hook, line and sinker. I was gutted when I found out Larsson had died. Beyond the loss of a short life the world lost a literary gem. Larsson singlehandedly changed the game of crime novels in Sweden and indeed the world. Since the publication of the Millennium trilogy Sweden has seen an explosion of crime novels with brilliant leads and wonderful plots. I've found myself thumbing through the crime section more than the fantasy aisle since I first read Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
Lisbeth is the sort of person you want to have on your team when you're in a jam. She's the hail mary everyone needs in their life. And Blomkvist is better than Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and all of it if you want the world to know your story.
The Bad: We all know about the controversy surrounding the publication of this book. Eva Gabrielsson, his writing partner and his life partner has been vocally against the publication of the book, especially its author, but Larsson'd brother and father have literary rights over his estate and they approved the book and its author. So its a sticky situation with family on both sides of the issue. I bought the book all the same.
The Girl in the Spider's Web is like your favorite article of clothing that your mother accidentally shrunk in the dryer. It's still yours and it fits, but something just feels off about it. The shoulders don lay down like they used to. The color is a smidge lighter than it was yesterday. Its still the same garment but its not. That's what this book was like. Of course I wasn't expecting the writing to be the same. Larsson and Lagercrantz are two different people and sometimes I appreciated their different writing styles, but more often I wanted Larsson's flair for cutting through all the purple prose and getting to the meat of the issue. Larsson has a way of introducing characters with such clarity that I could describe them to a sketch artist and everyone in the world would recognize who it was and with Lagercrantz he jumps right into the action and then we get a little background on the character, but its not lasting. I had to go back and reread the first chapter about Balder to remember who he was when he was mentioned again.
Larsson didn't mind breaking the rules of fiction. He didn't start his book off with action. He didn't open up in the middle of a scene. He didn't have to. He had a compelling story to tell and you either sat down to listen to it or you didn't. He wasn't going to use trickery or slight of hand to capture your attention. Lagercrantz just falls right in line with the rest of the Fiction Hall Monitors. Every rule is followed to the letter, and yeah the story is compelling but the rigidity with which the rules are adhered to is distracting and disorientating to say the least.
The book is only 431 pages long and it took 410 pages to get to the point. This book felt like it was pandering to us the audience and to the characters. In the past books, Lisbeth's abilities came into play because the situation called for them. In this book its like the book that calls for the abilities. Lagercrantz has put the cart before the horse. Everything revolves around Lisbeth's abilities. Ok so if you want everything to revolve around Lisbeth and her hacking abilities then this book should be her book, but she is largely absent. The bad guys get more page space than she does. Which is a shame. Lisbeth Salander is a literary treasure and she should be treated with the respect she has earned.
The Girl in the Spider's Web feels like poorly conceived fan fiction.
My Hope if the Series Continues: That Lagercrantz sits down and reads the Millennium till he can quote a line from any page and the he really starts to study it. I want him to find a way to stick to the Larsson school of writing fiction because following the rules is boring and Salander and Blomkvist deserve better than that. I think it would really open up his writing and give him a freedom he might enjoy.