THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB | DAVID LAGERCRANTZ | BOOK REVIEW

I have been off sick now for eight days, the longest I have ever had a flu and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better, I can get up and walk around for an hour or two but as soon as I lie down I am exhausted and out of action for a few hours after that. I have tried writing articles for both the sites as the back up of submissions from the writers is getting huge but I keep losing concentration and lying down. This hasn’t effected my ability to read though and I have spent oodles of hours in bed on websites and Facebook and on Thursday I got a present/ parcel from Hachette Australia, a fresh off the press copy of THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB, this time written by David Lagercrantz, as sadly Stieg Larsson passed away prior to the first book releasing. It is out now and will be available EVERYWHERE. Lagercrantz does not disappoint in the slightest.

 

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB AUSTRALIAN BOOK COVER IMAGE
THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB | SALTY POPCORN BOOK REVIEW | AUSTRALIAN BOOK COVER IMAGE

 

BY JASON KING

With Stieg Larsson no longer with us were we ever going to see another Salander/Blomkvist/ Millennium book? The Millennium series of THE GIRL IN THE DRAGON’S TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST were a worldwide phenomenon – it was like a depraved crime series that in popularity was only matched with the HARRY POTTER series, as of March 2015, 80 million copies of the three books have been sold worldwide. The Swedish movies were rushed in the making and weren’t as brilliant as the books although it did help throw Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist into the world as talented leads playing Salander and Blomkvist. Hollywood, trying to cash in on the money train also re-made the first book into a movie starring Rooney Mara and James Bond (Daniel Craig) but to me Rapace was Salander and it was stupid making the movie with anyone else, I don’t think it made enough money because we never saw Hollywood going for the second or third instalments. Based on the above the logic behind continuing the story was sound, it has happened in the past with new writers continuing James Bond’s arc (as an example).

But enough with them, Swedish author David Lagercrantz has written his start to the continuation of the series, there is so much more to the stories and Larsson originally planned the story to be TEN BOOKS, just wow, so much more he had envisioned and after reading this one so much more that was hinted in the first trilogy as to what this could be about.

For THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB, we move a little into the future, Millennium has a a financial backer (with their own agenda) as things were starting to crumble and Mikael Blomkvist has not had a hit article in a while with competing publications and journalists on the hunt for his scalp while he is down with the occasional negative article coming out explaining how he has “had his day” and is a “dinosaur” of the industry without any social media avenues etc. In this the book also mirrors the publication industry for news and journalism, in reality Millennium would be a dinosaur, there is no serious journalism anymore, it is all advertising based and media controlled for profit, this is reality and it is also clearly spelled out in the book.

So the perfect world to set this story in is the world of Salander, the online world of hacking, encryption, N.S.A. and their own spying and to bring this world into the world of the series and its protagonists, and it is PERFECTLY handled.

 

DAVIG LAGERCRANTZ AUTHOR IMAGE
THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB | SALTY POPCORN BOOK REVIEW | DAVIG LAGERCRANTZ AUTHOR IMAGE | PHOTO CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND

 

Lagercrantz manages to pay homage and the upmost respect to the original trilogy and if you didn’t know it was from a different author you would assume Larsson continued writing. Everyone is back, everyone gets a look in, we catch up with every detail from the previous books and we get to meet some old and new enemies that are back to make life hell for everyone. That being said it does not appear artificial homage in any way with a need to bring in all the old characters, it just works that way. Lisbeth and Blomkvist have the same personalities and are as perfect a duo as you can imagine but this also uncovers more of the understanding of Lisbeth and why her handle/ hacker name is WASP. And this addition to the story is superb, as is the background behind it and hatred that flows from the past. I don’t want to give too much away of the plot as it needs to be experienced, not spelled out for you. But loosely Lisbeth is on the run from a murderous closely related criminal organisation with a severely autistic child who also happens to be a numbers and artistic savant, the N.S.A. is after her, Blomkvist as usual will do everything to support her and the police are suspicious of everyone, but with due course as basically every police agency in the world appears to have leaks to criminals. I love how one of the characters explains the betrayal and leaks, it is not necessarily black and white, good and evil, it is allegiances to people, to goals, to self and to beliefs and sometimes these interests and allegiances are in conflict to the others leading people on possible wrong paths.

The book maintains the format of the original three, it is a slow burn but also an exponential slow burn that is timed brilliantly, by page 80 I was enjoying but wondering if action was about to happen but when the action does start it never ends and it is very superhero-like in sticking to one of the themes of the story. The climax is one that may see you up until all hours cheering on the crew, I woke up and couldn’t sleep at 3am with sneezing fits this morning so finished it then.

I have two gripes with the book, not really gripes, more things of note. It could be seen there is too much smoke blown up Salander’s ass from Lagercrantz, she is really described as a superhero, it was like the speech at the end of THE DARK KNIGHT – “Because we have to chase him. Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now, so we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it, because he’s not a hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector, a Dark Knight.” I personally doubt Salander herself would appreciate being described similarly like that. We all know she is the silent anti-hero keeping a watch on everything but maybe the descriptions sometimes went too far. And also people may notice this is missing the levels of descriptive violence we get from the original trilogy. That does not say there is no violence, on the contrary, there is lots of murder and violence. One death in particular will make you sad.

But negatives aside, the book is near flawless in its execution and I love how it isn’t just good guys and bad guys, everyone of them are people with a history, said history and what effected them in the past is what has led them to where they are. Having an assassin question his choices based on guilt and his love for his daughter is something to be truly appreciated and gives the book some realism and more beyond a simple goodies and baddies crime book.

 

NOOMI RAPACE AS LISBETH SALANDER IN THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB | SALTY POPCORN BOOK REVIEW | NOOMI RAPACE AS LISBETH SALANDER IN THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

 

The book is clever and written superbly, sadly I do not read much these days, I am too busy at “day job” work or screenings, restaurant venues, or writing and editing, I get an hour before bed nearly every day to just chill out and watch TV or read a book and it has been a long time since a book has excited me to the point of “can’t put down.”One book I am reviewing at the moment puts me to sleep and is doing my head in so it is with great thanks to Hachette, and the fortune of being unable to do much else besides watch TV, sleep or read that this arrived at the perfect time and inspired me to read a lot more.

It is OUT NOW – HUNT IT DOWN!!!!!

 

4 and a Half Pops