When I first saw The Girl In The Spider’s Web on bookshelves early in October, I was apprehensive. I remain a huge fan of the Stieg Larsson Millennium mysteries (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest) as well as the films based on them. I lamented when I discovered that Larsson had died shortly after delivering the completed manuscripts to his publisher. I thought to myself, “No one else could possibly do a decent job carrying on this series.” And yet the series begged to be continued. The characters were so deep and interesting, the issues raised by the books so topical and discussion worthy. So I decided to give The Girl In The Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz a fair shot.
I am aware of the negative reviews penned about this book, claiming it lets the series down. To the authors of those claims I say, check your expectations. No one placed the Millennium books on a higher pedestal than I. In fact I once stated, with all the authority vested in me by my English degrees, that the Millennium books were among the most important novels written so far this century. Think about it –computer hacking, privacy, the security state, misogyny, surveillance, the place of high-technology in society, the power of information, the embattled state of journalism –all these issues are explored in the books through nail-biting plots and captivating characters. Yet as much as I loved the original series, I would say the yard by which we measure this new installment by David Lagercrantz should not be: “Is it as good as the original three?” but rather “Does it accomplish what it needs to?” I would say that it does.
The Girl In The Spider’s Web deepens the mythology behind the first three books by introducing us to characters just mentioned previously. It fleshes out existing characters with more detail and back story. It continues exploring all the major themes just as the original books did. It remaines true to the style and pace of the original trilogy. My only complaint about the book is that it could be longer. I hope to see three more Millennium books by Lagercrantz and/or other equally talented authors.
Bottom line: don’t set unrealistic expectations and you’ll be delighted that the characters of Millennium live on long after their original author. 4.5 out of 5 stars.