The Girl In the Spider's Web (Millennium Trilogy #4) by David Lagercrantz

She is the girl with the dragon tattoo—a genius hacker and uncompromising misfit. He is a crusading journalist whose championing of the truth often brings him to the brink of prosecution.

Late one night, Blomkvist receives a phone call from a source claiming to have information vital to the United States. The source has been in contact with a young female superhacker—a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well. The implications are staggering. Blomkvist, in desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, turns to Salander for help. She, as usual, has her own agenda. The secret they are both chasing is at the center of a tangled web of spies, cybercriminals, and governments around the world, and someone is prepared to kill to protect it . . .


When I saw this one pop up on my new releases list, I was shocked. I loved the original trilogy, but was surprised that there was another sequel because of Stieg Larsson’s passing. I apparently missed all commotion surrounding the publication of this novel, so I went into it fairly unbiased. There were definitely differences between Larsson and Lagercrantz’s style. I found Larsson’s narratives to be somewhat darker, and Lagercrantz’s Lisbeth to lack some of her bite. Nevertheless, I still found the story engaging. Lagercrantz obviously took pains to mimic Larsson’s style, creating a narrative with many different characters with many moving parts that weave together. Overall, I think it was a successful sequel, and while Lagercrantz certainly didn’t surpass his successor, he certainly did the world and characters created by Larsson justice.


After You (Me Before You #2) by Jojo Moyes

“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.


After You picks up shortly after Me Before You ends, and we get to see the fallout caused by Will’s death. Although the story promises some “bombshell” revelations, it was a fairly predictable story. This sequel is similar to the first novel in terms of humor and character, and I find that I rather enjoy Moyes’s writing style. It’s not the most sophisticated, but is is full of wit, humor, and heart. Even though I was able to foresee or figure out quickly most of the “twists” in the story, I still enjoyed reading this book. I would have liked a bit more at the end...to me, it felt like as soon as the story had finally come together, it veered off into another direction. I’m not sure if there is another sequel planned or not, but I think she definitely left it open for one.


The Man Without a Shadow by Joyce Carol Oates

In 1965, neuroscientist Margot Sharpe meets Elihu Hoopes: the “man without a shadow,” who will be known, in time, as the most-studied and most famous amnesiac in history. A vicious infection has clouded anything beyond the last seventy seconds just beyond the fog of memory.

Over the course of thirty years, the two embark on mirrored journeys of self-discovery: Margot, enthralled by her charming, mysterious, and deeply lonely patient, as well as her officious supervisor, attempts to unlock Eli’s shuttered memories of a childhood trauma without losing her own sense of self in the process. Made vivid by Oates’ usual eye for detail, and searing insight into the human psyche, The Man Without a Shadow is eerie, ambitious, and structurally complex, unique among her novels for its intimate portrayal of a forbidden relationship that can never be publicly revealed.


I thought this was a really interesting premise for a story. I thought the characters were remarkably well developed. The developing relationship between the two main characters, Eli and Margot, was intriguing. At times the story was repetitive, but I think that was done to give the reader a sense of what Eli’s life was like. I wish Oates had given us more in terms of the flashbacks from Eli’s past. I thought that part of the narrative was particularly interesting, but at times it gave the overall narrative a choppy feeling because of the way that they were dispersed throughout the story. In the end, I liked the book, but I wasn’t crazy about it. The idea behind the story was really interesting, but the narrative itself fell short in fully capturing my admiration.