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Our Mysteries and Thrillers winner and pick for Audiobook of the Year, 2008....
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Continuing Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series.
In this adrenaline-charged, up-to-the-moment political thriller, Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist are back. The troubled genius hacker and crusading journalist thrilled the world in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, which have sold more than 80 million copies worldwide.
David Lagercrantz is a Swedish journalist and best-selling author of fiction and nonfiction. He was hand selected by the Larsson estate to write this standalone sequel based on Stieg Larsson's characters.
STORY (thriller) - Yes, the loss of Stieg Larsson is huge, but I so appreciate David Lagercrantz for this effort. Lizbeth is an awesome character and, thanks to him, she's going to be around a little longer!
Personally, I didn't like this book as much as the first three, but that stems from my own personal taste and, perhaps, stupidity rather than from Lagercrantz's writing. For one, I would have liked a few less characters to keep straight. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I got confused with who was who several times. Second, although Lizbeth definitely plays a major role in the story, I would have preferred more of her. (Yes, I'm a fan). And, third, while I normally do not enjoy violence, I've come to expect it in this series and actually would have liked more of it in this book.
On the positive side, the plot is thrilling and complex, and it was wonderful to spend time with Lizbeth and Mikael again. Thankfully, their characters have not changed one bit! The addition of an autistic boy character was very interesting, and I loved the deeper insight into Lizbeth's childhood and the dark relationship she has with her sister. The book doesn't end with a bang, but everything is explained and it's a nice ending.
PERFORMANCE - Simon Vance delivers his usual awesome performance and lends continuity to the series.
OVERALL - As always, there is some violence and cursing, but no sex scenes this time. Recommended for anyone who loves The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I hope the criticism Lagercrantz is receiving for this sequel doesn't dissuade him from continuing our beloved series...
108 of 122 people found this review helpful
The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the continuation of the deceased Stieg Larsson’s the Millennium Series, better known as the The Girl . . . With the Dragon Tattoo, Who Played With Fire, and Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, is very good but not yet to the level of its predecessors. Stiag Larson created and wrote the first three installations of the Millennium Series publication, but passed before his writing drew popular and scholarly cliam. So, the present title is authorized by Larsson’s heirs’, as a continuation of his novels, as allegedly plotted out by Larsson before his untimely death. They are written now by David Lagercrantz, himself a well published and successful Swedish mystery novelist. The book, the fourth in the Millennium Series is a wonderful murder/espionage/crime syndicate enigmatic story. Furthermore, the tale is told so well it is very difficult not to read in one sitting. A good work and recommended. Yet, . . .
. . when compared to Stieg Larsson’s prior works, the present installation, Spider’s Web is without the geometric depth found in the earlier plots. The peculiarities of the interlacing histories of the individual characters are not presented with the same, “oh my gosh, can you believe that twist in the plot”? A twist that always intrigued the reader in the earlier works because although improbable they were nevertheless believable given how well the story was put together and told. That characteristic in not present in Spider’s Web.
The story does give us back our old friends, Lisbeth Salander, Mikael Blomkvist, Erika Berger and a cameo by Plague. Wonderful to visit with them again. Did not want to let them go and maybe now we can have them as friends for ten more novels? Yet, like this summer’s revisit with Atticus (Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee), one can never redo those unique pasts. The present versions of Lisbeth and Mikael are not the full bodied characters Larsson made, yet, they are still deployable, employable and interesting. Just not larger than life any longer. Though, I do not feel Lisbeth and Mikael’s special relationship was demonstrated whatsoever in this novel.
The story is about super hacking, and of course, this is all engineered by Lisbeth to bring about the better good. The story also ties back into her past, specifically her evil father’s criminal empire, which she was able to put an end to in the trilogy. Yet, effluents of his past remain and seek Lisbeth’s demise. The hacking that initiates the story and Lisbeth’s family past dovetail to produce a potentially terrific story. All this is spiced up by the introduction of a savant syndrome child whose prodigious capacities blend uniquely with Lisbeth’s genius. The story is good, the telling is good and the unfolding is good, but less than it could have been. At some points just too many people are introduced and it makes it difficult to follow who is who from what organization and why are they added to the plot.
Nevertheless, not a Stieg Larson but definitely a Swedish mystery lover’s read. This is definitely the only time I have found Simon Vance’s presentation less than great.
We are told by the media that Larsson’s lifelong significant other lady friend, someone who was with him as he created his characters and plots, was not given opportunity to participate in prolongation of the series. She was not a legal inheritor and not permitted to guide the follow along series because Larsson’s brother and father, his inheritors, did not want to share the bounty. Someone should have pointed out to them; long time loving mates share an élan and perception of the original Lisbeth tales that perhaps no one, not even an editor may share. This may have been quite stupid. If Larsson’s life mate was there when he created our loving characters the story may have had an insight which we do not and now will never have.
132 of 155 people found this review helpful
How could the performance have been better?
I love Simon Vance's narration, but I think there is something wrong with the translation. "William Borg", Blomkvist's long-standing enemy in the press has a different last name, as does Erica Berger - I can't even figure out what it is now. It just doesn't make sense.
Any additional comments?
I have listened to the original three Millennium books at least 4 times. I love them. I enjoy them every time I listen. But this book "reads" more like fan fiction. As though Lagercrantz was attempting to emulate Larsson, but missed the mark. Not to mention, there are terrible holes in continuation. There is no mention of Monica Figeurola AT ALL (Blomkvist's major love interest in "Hornet's Nest.") and Salander is back to having a bunch of piercings, which doesn't fit with how she looked in "Hornet's Nest" either (she had taken several of her piercings out and had a few tattoos removed and was generally working on appearing more "grown up").<br/><br/>I am a die-hard fan of the series, and will finish it on principle, but I am woefully disappointed about the whole thing.
81 of 96 people found this review helpful
Yes it truly was a huge disappointment. As a highly enthusiastic fan of the Stieg Larsson novels I awaited this one with great eagerness. What I got was a rambling disorganized plot and with ancillary characters being added every chapter and not even close to enough of Elisabeth Sallander. Perhaps others might be able to appreciate this novel but for me this one is a total no go.
54 of 64 people found this review helpful
What would have made The Girl in the Spider's Web better?
A totally different writer could have taken the key characters and put together a Larrson-worthy book. This is SO not it. Why? There are a tremendous number of monologues in this book where either the narrator or 1 character tell you what happened in the past OR describe something they could not possibly know. These monologues are very long and tedious and take the place of action and plot.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Nothing by Lagercrantz
What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?
He's good. Sad he had to do this work.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
Simon Vance only.
Any additional comments?
I've thrown myself on the alter of bad book sequels so others don't have to. Please get another book and not this one. Try Robert Galbraith. Excellent.
23 of 27 people found this review helpful
I'm so freaking happy that this story was not a disappointment. After all the fuss with Larsson's family v. partner I didn't have much hope for this story but boy was I wrong!
The beginning was quite confusing, to be honest, there were so many characters being introduced at once I was starting to think there was no main character (ha ha)... but once I adapted to the writing and knew what to expect the story took over like an amazing heart-wrenching rollercoaster. I also thought the chapter Blomqvist visited Lisbeth's former guardian was unnecessary, he wrote a freaking magazine article on the woman and researched the heck of her life... it was kind of repetitve and boring since we, readers, knew Lisbeth's story, but I guess it helped with the perspective about Camilla.
I have to say, and I'm sorry if I am offending anyone, but I actually preferred Largercrantz writing to Larsson's. It is cleaner, flows more smoothly without some of the over-emphasis or pesky little details the previous books have (especially book 1).
He does an excellent job sticking to the best characteristics of Larsson's. A story with so many layers that unfolds like an onion, full of mind boggling info, nerdy scientific discoveries.
For most of the story our badass heroine seems tamed, and although she is a big piece of the puzzle, she almost felt like a secondary character, giving the reader a chance to get to know other characters, witness other stories while learning more about her.
I know this story has 0% of Larsson's manuscript but I was amazed, could not put it down, and am extremely happy that Lisbeth's saga will continue. She is such an amazing character, she deserves to keep on going, we deserve it too.
Simon Vance was outstanding with the delivery of the story
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Oh brother! Two chapters in and it is so boring it's unbearable. I feel like I'm listening to a technical manual. I thought for a moment it would pick up, there would be some character development, some seeds of a plot brewing, some foreshadowing, something to wet my interest but sadly no. How long do I have to listen to him go on and on and on about the my new show the day today operations of the newspaper?
This book is unfairly capitalizing on the Dragon tattoo series' reputation. It bears little resemblance.
I feel like the characters are in an alternate, parallel universe and not in a good way. Do not waste a credit.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Salander and Blomkvist are back; Stieg Larsson isn't; having died unexpectedly in 2004 without witnessing the global success of his Millennium Trilogy, or the consequences of not legalizing his relationship with his partner of 30 yrs. Eva Gabrielsson. 2015 seems to be the year the publishing world is giving readers novels tangled in a web of controversy dealing with publishers, lawyers, authors and wills. The ongoing battle over the estate of Stieg Larsson presents us with a Gordian knot. Is it possible to set aside the misfortunes of Larsson's life-management failures while thinking about this new novel, and the dark sprite born in his head and reanimated in that of another's? Probably knot completely.
The decision to disregard the text for a fourth installment, found in Larsson's computer after his death, and start fresh with a new author and his own imaginings of Larsson's mega-successful duo of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist invites a certain amount of scrutiny. Lagercrantz took on a job most of us would not want. I have to wonder at the level of authorial commitment and confidence it must have taken to step into this 80 million dollar (books alone) franchise. Surprisingly, he stepped in and continued on seamlessly, sometimes writing so much like Larsson it was uncanny, as if Larsson's ghost was nestled behind him guiding his hands on the keyboard whistling Unchained Melody. But where Larsson was raw and edgy, Lagercrantz is smooth and polished. He dances with these characters like a perfect postured ballroom dancer with flawless execution, while Larsson stepped on toes and slapped his girl around doing a passionate French tango. He definitely is leading this dance to his own music.
Salander is still a head banging ball of spitfire, but at times seems disappointingly more mature. She didn't dump the BMW like you would have expected and roll the bike out of storage, and I think Lagercrantz's Salander is a closeted Burberry fashionista, maybe a little Chanel, and definitely some Alexander McQueen. Her characterization is too flimsy to support the bad-ass we came to love. I wasn't convinced she could back down the bad guys with a picture on her phone and a few threats.
And Blomkvist is buried in a re-hashed starting point: once again fighting for respectability amongst his colleagues, still riding on the coattails of his last big story for the newspaper. He's a washed up has-been to his younger working mates, a man that can't text, doesn't do facebook, can't get his sexy on, and has traded in his coffee habit for guzzling shots of whiskey. Yet, we are expected (true to Larsson's characterization of Blomkvist) to believe he is a chick magnet, though completely with out evidentiary charm. Eh--I'm okay with that as long as I picture Daniel Craig in the role.
The characters drive this text. Larsson hard-wired a strong psychological profile into the main cast, and under his pen they methodically kept to those profiles. Overall Lagercrantz does an impressive job of assimilating the characters. His writing is most of the time well crafted and well paced. He is most vulnerable to criticism when he overly clarifies by using several characters to repeat the same facts instead of trusting the reader to just get it. Also his almost encyclopedic detailing of algorithms, quantum theory, and other high intelligency interferes with my undisciplined craving for easily digested, meaty, sexy, Swedish smut, devoid of literary significance. It's at times bumpy with pot holes that make the plot seem disjointed in places. And it begins with a significant murder...never mind.
The appearance of Camilla, Salander's drop-dead-gorgeous sister is promising, but I have my concerns about the Marvel-ization of our Girl. I always felt under the surface, Larsson hinted at a comic book hero influence, and I liked it there. I'm not sure I'm ready for a full blown WASP girl and the Spider Society (finally a connection to the USA title). I'd rather leave that to Marvel Comics and keep Salander in the world she already inhabits, whether it's in Larsson's hands or Lagercrantz's.
He hints at the end of the book that She will be back, as will Camilla, and Daniel Craig. Next time, I hope Lagercrantz is bringing sexy back. In fairness I have to admit I couldn't help but read his words in the shadow of Larsson. Larsson was by no means a master of literary style, but he was a helluva storyteller. Listening to the audio production, I thought at times it was Larsson -- then other times wished it was. I think Lagercrantz did a good enough job that he deserves my continued following on his next volume. It was a tough act to follow. If following Larsson's dream, he signed on to take the girl and her tats to 10 volumes. You know how this will go...die hard Stieg fans will hate it; most of us will think it's pretty darn good, and then, blessed are those peacemakers that will philosophize about the beauty of a message the rest of us have missed in the text regarding world peace and love...(GSAW was OK, but deep? : } ) .
*I'm wondering what he will come up with to replace that catchall shelf, the Millennium Trilogy.
83 of 106 people found this review helpful
I was worried when I heard that there was a fourth book coming. I thought that the first 3 books were really great and I was excited to get to know what happened to the characters, but I was worried that it might not be done the right way. And I was right.
The book started good in my o[inion, introducing new characters and preparing the readers for whats coming and the state of the original characters. And then it was followed by a good hunt and search and so far. But all the sudden the book ended, all happened too fast, an action here followed by an action there and then done. I really hated that. This book had an interesting story with good characters, but it felt like a summary of the story was given, not the whole story itself. Some characters were not even talked about once this book as well.
Narrator was good as always, but Simon was a bit off with the names of the characters, not all, but some; and I wondered few times who was he talking about, the names were not pronounced correctly.
Overall, good start, really interesting story, but a very fast ending. Extremely fast ending... Maybe the book would have been better if it wasn't as short as it was ( comparing to the other 3 books). It could have been easily 5 hours longer.
I was looking at my phone shocked that there was 20 minutes left for the book to finish.. so disappointing.
75 of 97 people found this review helpful
It was nice to pick up the series again. It wasn't bad, but you can see the difference in the author. Too bad Stieg's father and brother didn't let Stieg's life partner do it with what Stieg already had done on this book. I think she said he was almost done with it, and outlined 10 books. She did work with him on the books, I just have a gut feeling it would have been so different if she did it.
59 of 77 people found this review helpful