Monday, January 18, 2016

Casino Royale - Review

Casino Royale (James Bond #1) by Ian Fleming
Rating: Good
Source: Library (audio)

Description:  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. For incredible suspense, unexpected thrills, and extraordinary danger, nothing can beat James Bond in his inaugural adventure.  (from Goodreads)

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:J and I spent the Christmas break staying up far too late and watching the Daniel Craig movies so when I saw my library had this book in audio I couldn't resist.

My Impression:  The whole Bond franchise is so huge and well known that it's impossible not to compare the book itself to the movies and the different portrayals of the primary character.  I found this fit very closely with the Daniel Craig Bond portrayals (or at least the first 3.  I haven't seen the newest one).  There aren't any gadgets and Bond isn't the charming smooth talker that I've seen so often.  Instead his personality is more the cold controlled efficiency that I've seen in Craig's films.  The book itself has a lot of similarities to the movie and the changes made for the film make sense.  In some case the villain in the book wouldn't really work today as it did in 1953 and there is some action added to the movie that wasn't in the book.
 The book itself is short - just under 200 pages (or 4 hours and 30 minutes if you're listening to it) and very much to the point.  I wasn't surprised to see in Fleming's bio that he was both a naval commander and a journalist.   The writing is crisp and clear and detailed without being overly descriptive or lyrical.  There is a very strong masculine vibe to it without it being macho and while it is decidedly vintage it feels classic rather than dated (except for Bond's attitude towards women).  For a Bond story the book has actually very little violence in it.  There is a torture scene and while I had no doubt as to what was happening it wasn't incredibly detailed or gory or particularly long.
Bond himself has a few introspective moments and a moment of two of self-doubt and I enjoyed the way the story was wrapped up.  I'm very much looking forward to reading/listening to more of Fleming's books and getting to know Bond a bit better.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes definitely.  I'll probably stick with the audio version.  They're not super complex stories so I can listen while I'm doing something else and not get lost.

Would I Recommend this Book?: If you've ever thought about reading a James Bond book I wouldn't hesitate to pick this one up.  It's a quick read and an interesting one.

27 comments:

  1. Casino Royale, I think I saw the movie with David Niven years ago ! I have a big soft spot for David Niven, he's not as sexy as Daniel Craig but he has class and a strong sense of British humor :) I don't think I'll ever read about James Bond, still, the "licence to kill" stops me, it's crazy but... ;)

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    1. I definitely don't think this book is for everyone but I did feel like the violence wasn't as up front in the book as it was in the movie.

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  2. I'm not the biggest James Bond fan (although I think Daniel Craig is super easy on the eyes). I'm really glad you enjoyed this book. I did read Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (also on audio, narrated by the amazing David Tennant) by Ian Fleming and I really enjoyed it.

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    1. Oh I loved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! I got the David Tennent version too and it was amazing!

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  3. Great analysis on this book. When Daniel Craig first became the new Bond, I wasn't impressed but he grew on me and I now like his rugged appeal. Love how he tugs at this shirt and suit sleeves after an explosion.

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    1. I was the same way when I first saw Craig's Casino Royale but I loved it on the rewatch. I really felt like he fit the Bond in the book.

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  4. Well, in spite of this showing my age, we kids were dragged off to each new Bond movie starring Sean Connery as soon it came out. Now, after checking a few of the old Bond movies out of the library, they can't compare to Daniel Craig's portrayal.

    I actually never read any of the books, glad to hear you enjoyed one!

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    1. I was never a huge Bond fan until recently but now I want to go back and watch some of them - especially the Connery movies.

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  5. I've been a big Bond fan for a really, really long time. I think the first movie I saw had Roger Moore as Bond, but who can resist Sean Connery and then I also liked Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig is wonderful. Sigh. I'm not sure that reading the books is for me. Probably a case where I like the movies way too much. Glad you enjoyed this one though.

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    1. I think it helps that I haven't watched too many of the Bond movies because I don't have too strong of an imagine in my head

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  6. My husband enjoyed these books quite a bit when he read them. I imagine if I read this, it will be in audio version. I am glad you liked this one! It makes me think I might as well.

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    1. It was a little slow at times but I really enjoyed it. I'd be interested to see your thoughts on it.

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  7. I'm a serious Bond fan, and have all the movies on DVD. My faves are Sean Connery and the very sexy Daniel Craig. Despite loving the franchise so much, it falls into the same category for me as harry Potter. Loved the movies, but have yet to pick up the book. You give a really great review, as always...Hugs...

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    1. I love Daniel Craig but would you believe I've never seen one of the Connery movies? I need to fix that!

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  8. I've never considered reading a Bond book but reading your review I can understand that listening to the audio would be good and interesting to hear about the writing style.

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    1. I really enjoyed it in audio and that's probably the route I'll go with the rest of the books.

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  9. Read this decades ago. Obviously its attractions still remain high!

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    1. I really enjoyed this! It was different than I expected - simpler.

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  10. Interesting. For the longest time I didn't know the Bond movies were based on books, or maybe I did but never thought about reading them. In recent years I've wondered a few times about the books. I might try one one of these days. I have to admit I like the Connery ones, Thunderball and probably From russia With Love are my faves. Connery seemed to have that (at times) ruthlessness that Craig captures, but he had the humor too. I need a little humor with my Bond. :)

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    1. I think I just heard the movies were based on books not too long ago. I think you would enjoy this one.

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  11. I have only seen a couple of Bond movies and I don't think that I have seen any with Daniel Craig. I haven't ever thought of picking up one of the books but I bet I would actually enjoy them if I did. Great review, Katherine! I may need to see if my library has this one.

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    1. I enjoyed this one quite a bit - more than I expected. It's definitely worth a read.

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  12. In rate of casino movies 10-best-casino-movies Casino Royale is on third place. But what about book's rate? i dont know. Back in a day i were thinking about this movie and it's quite impressive and stylish. But, again, after reading review (i'm impressed of review, actually) i'm sure that this book is next in my list after Freud.

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    1. I really enjoyed this one! I hope you do too.

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  13. Great review Katherine. I've always wanted to pick up a Bond book as I've seen most of the movies, not the new one though. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  14. I will admit to not being a Bond fan. I just can't like the movies. I've tried a few times with a few different Bonds. But it's just not my thing.
    I'm glad you enjoyed the book though. They're quite popular now too. Maybe people are just realizing there are books?

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  15. I was wondering how you would feel about this one. I had gotten it for my hubby a few years back and he was actually a little bored with it. I wonder if he would have felt differently about it had he read it after the Craig movies came out. It seems to line up much better with them.

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