The Girl In the Spider’s Web

In 2011 I saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the American version of the film starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, and I was hooked. There was something about that film that really captured me. It inevitability let me to the books written by Stieg Larsson. Now Stieg wrote those books in Swedish, so they had to be translated, and the fact that the books were as enjoyable as there were is a real testament to the story that was there. Unfortunately Stieg died before the series was completed, and for many years there, I didn’t think we’d ever get anymore books. Then one day I noticed the trailer for a movie called The Girl in the Spider’s Web. At first I didn’t even make the connection that this was part of the Millennium series as they recasted everyone. But a bit of snooping revealed what was up, and to my surprise there were more books out there. Thus I picked up The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz.

Going into this book, I was excited to find out what had happened to Lisbeth Salander and where she would be heading next. I figured Mikael Blomkvist would also play a part, and there are other familiar characters along the way. However, the book had a real slow start. After a while, I realized it wasn’t picking up or getting better. Sadly, I had to slog my way through the entire book to be able to definitely say, ‘Yes, this book sucks.’ It’s a sad thing, but it’s the truth. Keep in mind this book is also a translation, so maybe some of the fault is there, but there are a lot of indicators that the fault lies entirely with the author. One of the biggest problems is a fundamental rule of writing – show, don’t tell. Throughout this book, the characters recount what happened rather than the author letting the actions play out and letting the reader witness them as they happen. The flow of the story is clunky, the plot is boring, and a lot of it is contrived. There is a main character who is very intelligent when it comes to math and equations. He’s an expert in artificial intelligence, and he has a son who is autistic but gifted with artistic and mathematical skills. It takes a while for the book to explain what’s going on, and it doesn’t add anything to the story by drawing it out or making it so convoluted, but the gist is he makes some enemies with his AI research. Some Russian criminals try to kill him and his son, and Lisbeth and Mikael get drawn into it. Of course Mikael ends up turning the thing into another blockbuster story that helps out his magazine and keeps him famous, meanwhile Lisbeth gets most of the action and helps out with her hacking skills. The NSA plays a part in the story, and most of the book skirts on topics of computer security, national intelligence, spying on people, stealing corporate secrets, and there’s some focus on autism and gifted children.

But here’s the thing – the translation, and perhaps the source story itself, is boring. It’s a long, boring read. There’s no excitement, no mystery, no engaging characters. There’s not one redeeming thing in the whole book. The whole computer security plot is extremely dull and reads like someone who did some research on the topic and forced it into their story to make it seem edgy and modern. They fail to make it interesting. Furthermore, their take on Lisbeth seems to be extremely off. It’s been a while since I’ve read the original books, but this version seemed like a different person. The continuity seemed off. So not only did the story struggle to hold any interest for me, but the characterizations failed as well. It’s a real bummer.

For anyone who is a fan of the series, I highly recommend not wasting their time on this book. Read an online summary somewhere if you really want to know where they’re taking the character, and let’s hope the movie somehow makes it better (but that’s a long shot). I disliked this book so much, that I will not be reading any of the other books in the series by Lagercrantz. As is, I give The Girl in the Spider’s Web a half of a metal bikini out of five.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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