The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book picks up, time-wise, after the last of Stieg Larsson's Millennium books ended. Mikael Blomkvist is struggling - his career is being debated in the press and his beloved Millennium magazine is floundering. He receives a tip from a source about a story. Mikael reluctantly follows up, but becomes more intrigued when it sounds like the story might involve Lisbeth Salander. Mikael immediately gets sucked into a plot of intrigue with implications far beyond his greatest expectations.
I was hesitant to read this novel, knowing the fights between Larsson's girlfriend and his family over his material. Eventually, I chose to read it, as I think of Blomkvist and Salander as dear friends and it was difficult to pass up the chance to continue to read further about their lives. I think Lagercrantz does a good job picking up with the material. No one can fill Larsson's shoes, in any way, but he does an excellent job of staying true to the characters and creating a highly suspenseful and interesting tale.
It's apparent you're not reading a Larsson novel at times - the plot is almost too quickly paced, versus Larsson's meandering writing. Lagercrantz goes into a lot of backstory, which is very interesting, but did leave me wondering how much was "true" (hard to leave behind the whole author dispute at times). But mostly, the plot was so well paced and well-written and Blomkvist seemed so like himself, that I just found myself immersed in the story. The story flips between Sweden and the USA -- bringing in an element of the NSA -- and it's exciting and fun. Lagercrantz does a strong job of bringing the series into the present day with this plotline. He also writes about an autistic child, August, so clearly, that you just find yourself rooting for the kid.
Blomkvist, as I mentioned, seems much his usual self. I love him so, so it was a little easier to overlook the lack of Lisbeth in this novel, but I do have to point it out - there's definitely not as much Lisbeth as one might want. She's around, of course, and amazing and strong (of course!), but you'll find yourself wishing for more Lisbeth scenes.
Finally, the end left me wishing for more in the series, so I figure that's a sign Lagercrantz did his job well, despite all the tumult associated with the book. I appreciate the care he took with Lisbeth and Blomkvist, and I was glad to spend some time with them again. I have to admit - I hope they'll be back. In the meantime, it was fun to catch up with them again.
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