“The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series” by David Lagercrantz, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group , $27.95
We live in a world of sequels and reboots that arrive whether we want them or not. “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” is both. It continues the adventures of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist with a new writer taking the reins. I, along with many others, had my doubts about this book being a good idea, but David Lagercrantz is a gifted writer who handles the beloved series with capable hands.
In “Spider’s Web,” a new character is introduced, and a new topic. Frans Balder is an expert on artificial intelligence, and is working to create a type of A.I. beyond anything that exists today. Blomkvist is still at Millennium, but the magazine is struggling, and he hasn’t come up with a scoop in quite some time. Lisbeth, who we only glimpse in brief encounters for the first part of the book, is up to the same old tricks — hacking into the NSA and avoiding the outside world.
When Balder reaches out to Blomkvist for help, Blomkvist finds himself protecting Balder’s child, an autistic boy named August. He then turns to Salander for assistance, drawing the strings of the story together.
I feel most readers of the original Millennium trilogy are wary of this new entry into the series, and with good reason. Lagercrantz is not Stieg Larsson. With that being said, I think he did a great job being true to who the characters are. The feel of the book is a bit different though — a littler more mainstream crime thriller and lacking the je ne sais quoi that Larsson’s books had. That being said, I still enjoyed it.
One of the aspects I admired most was Lisbeth’s interactions with August Balder — it introduces a new side to the prickly hacker. It also seemed like a quicker read than the previous entries, perhaps because it felt a bit less dense. If you’re still undecided about whether or not to make the leap to the series’ new author, I encourage you to give it a go.