Sunday, June 8, 2014

Review - Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Casino Royale (James Bond, #1)Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Paperback, 181 pages
Published August 27th 2002 by Penguin Books (first published 1952)
Source: Own copy

'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.

My Thoughts:
I decided to read Casino Royale as I've always been intrigued as to how the whole Bond phenomenon started and I have to say it was very different to what I was initially expecting.

After years and years of watching all the Bond movies I obviously had an expectation in my mind of who Bond was and what he was like but the Bond in Casino Royale was nothing like that expectation. Surpringly, I found the Bond in this book to be a lot less suave and confident than he has always been portrayed in the movies and I have to admit that it was a little disappointing to see how much his character had actually been changed. Don't get me wrong, the Hollywood Bond is a much more likeable character than Fleming's Bond, but I just get annoyed when characters are changed from a book to a movie in general because technically it's not the same thing and shouldn't be marketed as such.

It is very obvious in Casino Royale that Bond does not think very highly of women at all and he seems to have a very cold and insensitive manner about him that I just couldn't warm to. It would have been nice to have been given a little bit about Bond's background in the book but nothing at all was given away which made his character very hard to like and relate to.

What surprised me the most about this book was the total lack of action considering it's supposed to be a spy classic. There is one main section where some action occurs and the rest of the story is just building up to this point and then it all goes downhill to a bit of a fizzle of an ending.

I'm actually quite amazed at how such a huge movie franchise was made off of this character and am guessing that things improve in the rest of the written series to make it more appealing.

Now I'm left wondering whether it's worth it to read the rest of the series or whether I should just leave it alone?

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