Firstly, if you haven’t read the Millennium trilogy yet don’t read any further. Secondly, if you’ve ignored this word of warning (out of rebelliousness or not), and you’re curious as to what the hype is all about, take a look at this.
Now to The Girl in the Spider’s Web – when it was first announced that the Larsson’s best-selling trilogy was to be continued, like many others I found myself in two minds about Lagercrantz, or indeed anyone, taking on a much loved series and set of characters. It could either be great, or catastrophic, ruining the original books in its wake.
Thankfully it is the former. Despite the legalities preventing Lagercrantz from using the drafts and notes for further novels that Larsson reportedly left behind, the plot is interesting, action-packed and more importantly not short of a few surprises. The plot focusses on the work of a computer-wizard, Frans Balder, whose life is danger. Meanwhile, the treasured journalist Mikael Blomkvist has found himself in a slump, that is until he receives an unexpected phone call, and finds himself chasing a story that is also of keen interest to Lisbeth Salander.
Whilst the differences stylistically between Lagercrantz’ novel and Larsson’s trilogy is somewhat noticeable, I wasn’t disappointed or distracted as the narrative progressed. Taking on the characters of Salander and Blomkvist was also a huge risk, that on the whole Lagercrantz pulled off – although at times I felt that Salander could have shown more ferocity and bite. But these are minor points, and largely born out of natural comparison.
Whether you are driven to read The Girl in the Spider’s Web out of pure nostalgia for the Millennium trilogy, Lisbeth and Blomkvist, or perhaps even out of sheer curiosity, fear not. The book is by no means perfect – in my opinion Lagercrantz likes to remind us a little too often about the events in the previous books – but it is thoroughly enjoyable and a great opportunity to see Lisbeth back in action.