Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Girl in the Spider's Web - David Lagercrantz

We're going to see how this works on mobile, because the laptop is too cumbersome with baby! Apologies for any weird formatting or missed auto-correct shenanigans.
I finally finished a book! I focused on The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz, mostly because it was a library book and I was determined to get it done before I would have to renew it.
If I were to use the Goodreads system to rate this one, I'd probably give it three out of five stars. I liked it, but sadly, I didn't love it. I'll start with the positive: Lagercrantz did a phenomenal job picking up the characters and mimicking the style of the original Lisbeth Salander series. All of the original characters he brought back sounded almost exactly like Steig Larsson's creations. That is no easy task! Because the transition was so seamless in that regard, this book was as quick and almost as engaging to read as its predecessors.
Unfortunately, there were a couple of negatives, as well. Although the characters remained true to themselves, I got the sense that they weren't pushed to do anything new in this one. Blomkvist cracked a big story, but he was clearly smarter than the villains and therefore was never really in danger. Lisbeth did more of the life-threatening work, but after the trauma she endures in the first three novels, working with a bullet hole in her shoulder seems like next to nothing. And that leads into my biggest complaint - this novel lacks grit in a major way. There are violent scenes, but most of them - indeed the worst of them - happen offstage, as it were. For normal mysteries, that would be fine, but Lisbeth Salander's world was built on violence. It's what made her the woman we meet on the page, and it's how she's forced to survive. Without the violence, the book loses that sense of urgency that made the trilogy so great.
Of course, like most mystery authors do these days, Lagercrantz left the door wide open for a sequel. I'm sure I'll read it when it's out, but I won't hold any illusions about how it's going to hold up to what is easily my favorite mystery series in print.

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