James Bond novel #1
by Ian Fleming
Amazon / Goodreads
Plot Summary:In the first of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, 007 declares war on Le Chiffre, French communist and paymaster of the Soviet murder organization SMERSH.
The battle begins with a fifty-million-franc game of baccarat, gains momentum during Bond's fiery love affair with a sensuous lady spy, and reaches a chilling climax with fiendish torture at the hands of a master sadist. For incredible suspense, unexpected thrills, and extraordinary danger, nothing can beat James Bond in his inaugural adventure.
Review:I did enjoy this book overall, but unfortunately I had a whole lot of issues with the story, the writing and the characters. I find it so weird how James Bond is not really likable. Maybe admirable, but he's so cold-blooded and analytical that he has so little warmth and whenever he expresses any affection it seems very grudging and tempered by irrational criticisms of another's character. I'm mostly referring to his attitude towards women. There's very little humor to make up for his lack of chivalry so I find it unbelievable when women fall for him. But his personality is very distinct and he gets the job done, so I suppose there is an allure there.
The story itself is pretty flimsy and it's hard to really imbue drama in a card game. The writing is very straightforward which doesn't help to lend any flair to such an uninteresting mission. Of course there are a few twists to liven things up after the card game, however those twists are pretty predictable. There wasn't as much evidence in here of Bond's cleverness and resourcefulness either to help make this story more exciting so that the only draw to the plot I think is the suspense of not knowing the Bond girl's secret. Although I did have an idea of what it must be.
While my review of this book isn't glowing, I think there is a charm to reading the original books and comparing them to the film incarnations. I'm sure this isn't the best Bond novel, but it is intriguing to see how Ian Fleming started off this iconic character and see how the world of James Bond can grow.
** This audiobook was narrated by Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey if anyone was curious!