Saturday, 21 May 2016

The Girl In The Spider's Web - David Lagercrantz [Review]

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If you read my blog or have been reading it for a long time, you'd know that I went on an extremely excited rant about The Millennium series being continued. And I'm about to do it some more.

After what seems like a million years, I FINALLY got around to read it. I was so ready to be disappointed. This is Stieg Larsson we're talking about. Heroes are never reliable. They're only human. They make mistakes and we get disappointed even though we know that. But Larsson was a phenomenon in the world of journalism. His work is what made me want to write and to want to become a lawyer. There are certain expectations surrounding him. I don't think anyone can surpass that, but David Lagercrantz has done a VERY, VERY good job.

Yes, I know, I've read that review from the New York Times, too. Apparently it has "too much computer-speak". I'm sorry, but what do you think hacking is? Poetry? This is a Lisbeth Salander book. It is supposed to written in technical terms. And it isn't so incomprehensible that someone with no computer degree won't get. If you really can't put together simple facts in a literary context, than you should seriously re-evaluate your career, old man.

The books takes place many years after the Zalachenko Affair, which made Mikael Blomkvist renowned for his journalism throughout Sweden. Blomkvist hasn't heard from Salander in ages. Millennium is falling behind on the financial scale. No groundbreaking story has been published in a long time and Millennium is forced to compromise it's integrity by bending to the will of a national tabloid headed by a former journalist who is extremely jealous of Blomkvist's fame.

Then, Blomkvist receives a tip from the assistant of a computer scientist - Frans Balder - who is considered a genius in his field. that links back to Lisbeth Salander. Frans Balder has an autistic son who is a savant who has advanced abilities in both, drawing and math. Frans has returned and taken his son away from his ex-wife and her abusive partner who have custody over August, his son. When Balder is killed, Blomkvist becomes involved in the case along with Salander.

I won't reveal anymore because I don't want to spoil the book, but you should know who turns up. Camilla Salander. That's right, the mysterious twin who Lisbeth despises. Lagercrantz involves her in the story in such a way that will leave you thinking, 'Yeah that makes sense,but I seriously wasn't prepared for that'. The book also talks about Zalachenko and Lisbeth's mother and the environment she grew up in.

Keeping prior to Larsson's style, the book deals with domestic violence against women and the sexism faced by women in the workforce. One particular quote that stays with me is:

...she wouldn't say that she was used to it because you never get used to it.

This was told in Hanna's (Balder's ex-wife and mother of August) perspective when she thinks about her abusive boyfriend. This quote was when I let go of the breath I didn't know I was holding. I knew then, that Lagercrantz would do justice to Larsson's work.

A thing I did miss, is how Larsson would allude to other works of literature, prominently Astrid Lindgern's. There is are references to Blomkvist's popular nickname - Kalle Blomkvist - and Salander's Pippi Longstocking, here and there. But other than that, there's hardly any.

But in the end, the book was absolutely fantastic and I really want Lagercrantz to write another book and continue the story.


Zoe Summers