Let me preface by saying I am obsessed with ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ trilogy! The plot was so haunting and addictive that I bought all 3 novels back to back. Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist are such compelling characters. Salander has a gory, tragic past that never leaves her alone, while Blomkvist has had a fairly nice upbringing and runs his own paper. They are an odd pair, but Stieg Larson made it work. Plus, the gore factor was really high for a book and I loved it (I’m a total horror fan).
I was disappointed when I finished the third book in his series. Salander was so interesting I wanted to read about her life until it ended. Which is why I was so excited that David Lagercrantz somehow got the permission of Larson to continue the series!! But, I should have left the books alone. No matter how talented the second writer is, they can never be as good as the original author.
Lagercrantz does an adequate job of mimicking Larson’s writing style. A style that I find in many Swedish novels. But, he doesn’t push the boundaries enough. Larson was not afraid to make Salander and Blomkvist suffer or go through painful experiences. I find that Lagercrantz has dialed down the awful factor in the story. He skips over describing a beating in vivid detail, something Larson would never do.
I also think he reaches too far with the story. As crazy as Salander’s life has been, I don’t think she would kidnap a child, end up in jail, kill a criminal in jail, then get kidnapped herself and go on the run. I also don’t think that the genetic experiment Lagercrantz thought up on twins was as horrific as he intended. Overall, he just threw logic to the wind and piled a lot of half connected plot points together, in the hopes that they would be as good as Larson. But, he can’t make Salander sing the way Larson could.
Which is why, as sad as I am to say it, this series needs to be put to rest. I understand the appeal of continuing to write novels in a series of best sellers. You are guaranteed a profit. Something I understand and sympathize with as a writer myself. But, Lagercrantz is tarnishing the series by adding to it. What should be done instead is having the books as a HBO show. Imagine the gore of Game of Thrones added to the twisted criminalness of Hannibal. Instant small screen gold!