Christina’s Review: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Christina’s Review: Casino Royale by Ian FlemingCasino Royale by Ian Fleming
Published by Asterix040173 on 1954
Pages: 176
Format: Paperback
Introducing James Bond: charming, sophisticated, handsome; chillingly ruthless and very deadly. This, the first of Fleming's tales of agent 007, finds Bond on a mission to neutralize a lethal, high-rolling Russian operative called simply 'Le Chiffre' - by ruining him at the baccarat table and forcing his Soviet spy masters to 'retire' him. It seems that lady luck is taken with James - Le Chiffre has hit a losing streak. But some people just refuse to play by the rules, and Bond's attraction to a beautiful female agent leads him to disaster and an unexpected savior.From Library JournalThe allure of James Bond was best described by Raymond Chandler, who insisted that 007 is

I have wanted to check out the James Bond series for a while… the movies are some of my favorites so I added the books to my to-read shelf to see their inspiration. The books are fairly short and full of action. I started with book one, Casino Royale and found it to be a quick and fun read on the infamous 007.

The reader meets James Bond as he is assigned to a mission designed to attack Le Chiffre where it would hurt: his money. Bond is sent to play against Le Chiffre in baccarat at the Casino Royale. The casino game is suspenseful… expensive buy-ins… all-in bets… can Bond accomplish his mission to bankrupt Le Chiffre? With the help of Mathis, Vesper, and Felix Leiter, Bond enters into the casino game of his life. Progressing from the casino game, Bond is thrown into additional adventures with his mission. Fleming filled his book with car chases, torture, romance, and mystery. There was never a dull moment for Bond.

I found the overall book to be enjoyable and a quick enough read that I will probably continue through the series gradually. At first, it took me a couple of chapters to get into through the coding and issuing of orders. I was hoping the whole book would not be written in that style… after a couple of chapters it opened up and into a flowing story. Naturally, one cannot have James Bond without a “bombshell” of a woman as I have learned through the movies and “Bond girl” legacy. Fleming started this trend as he introduced Vesper in Casino Royale. Fleming concluded the book quickly and with a nice twist. He also left the hook there for the next book and mission Bond was ready to set out on. I appreciated this carry-on and connection through the series.

While it was a quick read, I do want to mention there were a couple of things that tried my attention during the book. The beginning was very casino-technical as Fleming walked as through the rules of the game… this was still somewhat lost on me as I am not a gambler and do not see myself playing baccarat in the casino anytime soon. After getting through this, the story picked up and carried me through. Then when Bond goes to have his “relations” with the woman towards the end, I felt this was dragged out some as well. There were quite a few chapters on their courting and love-making that were not of interest to me… I was waiting for the action, the twists, and the adventures to come back in.

Overall good book and fun read. I am glad I finally had the opportunity to start the infamous series Fleming has gone down in history for. This is a great summer read (or mass transit read in my case). Enjoy!

pj - christina

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