I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: Live and Let Die

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Live And Let Die
(James Bond novel #2)
by Ian Fleming
Spy Thriller
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

James Bond is not a superstitious man, but it’s hard not to feel unnerved in the presence of Mr. Big. A ruthless Harlem gangster who uses voodoo to control his criminal empire, he’s also one of SMERSH’s top American operatives. Mr. Big has been smuggling British pirate treasure to New York from a remote Jamaican island—and funneling the proceeds to Moscow. With help from Solitaire, Mr. Big’s beautiful and enigmatic Creole fortune-teller, and his old friend Felix Leiter, 007 must locate the crime lord’s hideout, sabotage his operation, and reclaim the pirate hoard for England.

From the jazz joints of Harlem to the shark-infested waters of the Florida Everglades, Live and Let Die sends Bond headlong into the exotic.


This is the second installment of James Bond's ongoing adventures, and after the lackluster excitement (for me) of the first book Casino Royale, I was hoping this one would have something more of the magic of James Bond.  Unfortunately it didn't.  Bond's interest and sort of romance with Solitaire was much more interesting than the relationship in the first book, but I still felt the lack of real connection between them, since it was mostly mutual, instant physical attraction.  Which of course one must always expect with these Bond novels, but I just don't feel very invested in the Bond girl when she is so weak and transparent.

The only really interesting aspect of the story must be in the mission and the mystery behind the Bond villain. The villain, Mr. Big, is pretty unsettling but I was a little surprised by how he is so powerful, yet he always seems to attack everyone around Bond, when he had so many opportunities to do away with Bond.  I didn't understand why James Bond was so lucky to get off so easily.  Turns out, he's not that smart.  And as for Bond's resourcefulness in this mission, I felt like that left a little to be desired.  His luck is really the most astonishing thing about him, and not his skill as a spy. At least in this story.  The story is further marred by the really tedious descriptions throughout of what really amounts to lots of different fish in the sea (all super dangerous, man-eating, villainous ones by the way), and the different cities that Bond travels through.

James Bond too often makes really bad decisions and was too often caught by Mr. Big to really shine in this installment.  Couple that with some really excruciatingly slow pacing at times (especially near the end when things should really start becoming intense) and this might be the least enjoyable James Bond novel for me.

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  1. I love all of the Bond movies, but it never crossed my mind to read the books for some reason, lol.

  2. I don't know if it's that necessary to read them now that I've started (I like the movies more so far) but I would be curious to know your thoughts on the books if you ever decide to pick them up!