Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Though purists may debate this, Lagercrantz here embraces the challenge of sustaining the late Stieg Larsson's characters in a complex tale of cyberhacking and kidnapping. While much of the early chapters establish the technological intrigue, the story amps up after artificial intelligence expert Frans Balder is murdered in front of his autistic son, August, and Lisbeth enters the story as the boy's life is threatened. She is still the strong, enigmatic, vengeful heroine, while Mikael Blomkvist is perhaps too conveniently on the scene for many of the key conflicts as the plot slowly reunites them. Lagercrantz stays true to Salander's traumatic past and develops it further. Since the original trilogy was so well received and Larsson's death seemed to close any future encounters with such intriguing characters, this is a promising relaunch. Simon Vance's well-honed voice is featured well here. -Verdict Highly recommended for mystery/thriller audiences. ["Compulsively readable to the electrifying end": LJ Xpress Reviews 9/4/15 starred review of the Knopf hc.]-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
With Lagercrantz's prose acceptably miming the late Stieg Larsson, and Vance once again lending his rich, clipped British narration to the dynamic adventures of antisocial ultrahacker Lisbeth Salander and altruist reporter Mikael Blomkvist, the Sweden-set Millennium series continues almost seamlessly. This book finds Bloomkvist searching for a rejuvenating new project when he hears about an artificial intelligence genius named Balder whose latest creation has been stolen by Russian cybercriminals. Before he can talk to Balder, the man is murdered, and his autistic child, a witness to the crime, is placed in the care of a vile guardian. Salander steps in, vowing to right all wrongs. Vance doesn't just add a throaty quality to Bloomkvist's voice; there's also weariness and despair, both of which fade as the plot quickens. Salander speaks in a harsh staccato, underlined by impatience and an inability to compromise. Vance's presentation of the other characters is just as spot-on, including a gruff but understanding detective named Bublanski and an NSA superhacker named Needham, who admires Salander as much as he despises her. Every aspect of the novel benefits from Vance's vocal timbre. A Knopf hardcover. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* In our 2008 review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which was published in the U.S. after Stieg Larsson's death, we lamented the fact that there would be only three books in which to watch the charismatic Lisbeth Salander take on the world. That, of course, turned out to be a mistaken assumption. Salander may work most of her magic in the deepest recesses of the Internet, but what she does there never fails to have international repercussions. So it is with the punky hacker's fourth appearance in print, in a novel published worldwide three days ago by the Swedish house Norstedts, which gained rights to Larsson's franchise after a headline-making legal battle between the author's heirs and his longtime girlfriend, Eva Gabrielsson. Sympathy for Gabrielsson, who was vehemently against the publication of another Salander novel, has shrouded this book in a controversy not unlike that swirling about Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman, but now, thankfully, it's time to set all that aside, at least for the moment, and focus on the book itself.The Girl in the Spider's Web is a very fine thriller, true to the characters and the world Larsson created but also taking the ongoing story in some new and exciting directions. Wisely, Lagercrantz begins with a set of new characters, principally Swedish computer genius Frans Bader; his autistic savant son, August; and the bulldog head of security at the NSA, Ed Needham. After uncovering evidence that the NSA may be working with the Russian Mafia to steal Bader's groundbreaking work on quantum computing, the techno genius leaves his Silicon Valley position and returns to Sweden to care for his son. Meanwhile, our heroes from the Millennium Trilogy, Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist, have troubles of their own. Salander has hacked part way into the NSA's Intranet in search of information concerning the crime ring formerly led by her father and now in the hands of her twin sister, Camilla; and Blomkvist is struggling to protect his magazine from a takeover by a media giant eager to make the muckraking journal more commercial. So much for setup; where Lagercrantz shows his stuff here is in bringing these plot strains together into what is both a fascinating exploration of electronic surveillance and a gripping, highly suspenseful personal drama in which Salander and the autistic August are thrown together and find strength from one another, Salander seeing her young self in August and August realizing that there are other people whose heads are also full of very long numbers swirling in unexpected directions.Lagercrantz excels not only with the major characters but also with the supporting cast, giving us moving snapshots of the rabbi-quoting cop Bublanski; the ferocious, crew-cut Needham, who forms a surprising bond of respect with his nemesis Salander; and, of course, the chilling Camilla, who ably steps in to take her father's place as the Evil One. Hats off to Lagercrantz, then, for taking on a daunting challenge and rising above the controversy to do good work. In the end, though, this book, like Larsson's trilogy, is all about Salander. She is one of those characters like Hamlet, like Holden Caulfield who somehow jumps free of authorial restraint and goes where she wants to go. This book works because Lagercrantz has the great good sense to let Salander run free.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2015 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Lisbeth Sander returns, bruises raw and dander up, in this continuing installment of the late Stieg Larsson's crime series. Lisbeth is perhaps getting a little long in the tooth to be called a girl, but no matter: she still has a young person's aching desire to right the wrongs of the world. There are plenty of them, no doubt, but Swedish journalist/biographer Lagercrantz gives this the timeliest of spins by centering evil on the National Security Agency and its villainous operatives ("Ingram usually had a malicious grin on his face when he stuck a knife in someone's back"), who dig illicit sex and snappy repartee and all the usual things that bad guys enjoy. The NSA and its explosive chief data cowboy make perfect foils, as it happens, for Lisbeth and her cohort of hacking pals, bearing names like Trinity, Plague, and Bob the Dog. Lagercrantz follows the Larsson formula: take a more-or-less ordinary event, in this case a brittle battle over custody rights, and wrap it into a larger crime that the smaller one masks. It's not as if he doesn't skip a beat in doing so, but mostly he captures Larsson's patented tone, a blend of journalistic matter-of-factness and world-weariness. If the bad guys are sometimes cardboard cutouts, Lisbeth is fully rounded in her furyas one of them cries, "What kind of freak are you?" No ordinary one, as Larsson well established and Lagercrantz reinforces. Larsson's journalist hero/alter ego Mikael Blomkvist returns as well, bound in events while trying to do his work in the face of disappearing print, focus groups, and consultantsthe latter a force for evil as formidable as the spooks back at Fort Meade. "It was no bloody market analysis that had created the magazine," he fumes. "It was passion and fire." Passion and fire, check: there are plenty of both here and plenty of loose character-development ends to pick up in another sequel. Fast-moving, credible, and intelligently told. Larsson fans won't be disappointed. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.