Casino Royale (James Bond #1) by Ian Fleming
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)
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.