books, reviews

Book Review: The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz


The Millennium trilogy was the publishing sensation of the early twenty first century, Steig Larsson’s three novel story featuring antisocial hacker Lisbeth Salander and noble journalist Mikael Blomkvist sold in their millions, translated from the original Swedish, made into films (including a not very good Hollywood remake – seriously, stop it!).

But then Larsson died. With rumours of a projected further seven novels and a legal battle over his drafted fourth book, it looked like that was it for Salander and Blomkvist.

But here we are, legal wrangles over (however you feel about it), and a fourth book. Written by fellow Swedish novelist David Lagercrantz, from Larsson’s notes, The Girl in the Spider’s Web.

Larsson’s books were noticeable not only because they were hefty tomes, but also because of their often extremely violent and graphic content. The planned title for the first book was “Men Who Hate Women”, but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was easier to sell to a public who might have felt uncomfortable with such a clear misogynistic theme.

Larsson, like his hero Blomkvist, was a journalist who believed in the socialist ideals the Nordic region is famed for, he wrote campaigning political pieces, espoused feminism, fought corporations he saw as exploitative in his writings and his novels, to some extent, are a continuation of his beliefs and ideals.

Lagercrantz, isn’t quite as heavy hitting. Spider’s Web has less explicit violence, fewer political rants, and seems a little gentler on the reader.

That’s not to say it isn’t good, it is. Well written and paced, with a story that suits a world post Edward Snowden and the Panama Papers, a world that knows the governments of most nations are spying on their citizens, a world that has heard about the NSA’s counter intelligence game, a cynical world that knows criminals are more tech savvy than law enforcement and manage to get away with their crimes because of it.

Blomkvist is older, battle weary and close to giving up, it’s been some time since he last saw Salander, and his magazine is in trouble.

When a tech genius calls him in the middle of the night claiming his life is in danger, little does Blomkvist realise he’s about to he thrust into international conspiracy, tech fraud and meet a young boy who sees the world very differently. This case will bring him into contact once again with volatile Salander, who has her own reasons for getting involved.

I really enjoyed this, it was different in tone to the original trilogy, but I don’t think it suffers for it, personally I can do without extreme sexual violence, and I thought this was well executed.  

Have you read Girl in the Spider’s Web? Were you a fan of the original trilogy? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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