13 Oct 2015



BACK COVER BLURB: In Casino Royale, the first of Ian Fleming's 007 adventures, a game of cards is James Bond's only chance to bring down the desperate SMERSH agent Le Chiffre. But Bond soon discovers that there is far more at stake than money.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1: The Secret Agent}: The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: See My Thoughts below.

SOURCE: A World Book Night 2013 choice.

MY THOUGHTS: The first ever book in the series and as the 21st film in the franchise the only official adaptation of the novel though I'm led to believe there was an earlier tv episode and film spoof.

My first ever 'James Bond' novel and, apart from my wanting to read Chitty Chitty Bang Bang also by Ian Fleming, what I strongly suspect will be my last.

Oddly outdated (and I don't just mean by the use of words such as 'bathing-drawers' and 'pyjama-coat') not to mention lacking in action. Generally speaking I think today's readers tend to want more out of their thrillers and this was decidedly lacking in thrills - or indeed much of a plot of any kind. That is unless you happen to be a novice interested in the workings of a casino (and baccarat in particular) which seemed to form an inordinate part of the book in which case you'll be fine.

Terribly sexist/misogynistic (yet another sign of how outdated the book is?) Hard to believe I know but even more so than in the films Bond is what is generally referred to as a sexist pig. Referring to his 'second' throughout much of the book as 'the girl', to 'these blithering women who thought they could do a man's work' (page 125), I didn't think I could be much more angered until I read these words (and I quote) ...

'And now he  that she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the sweet tang of rape' (page 200).

Yes I know, only a character! Arguably a well written one (though you'd be hard-pressed to convince me of this) if he had the power to elicit such a response but 'the sweet tang of rape', really?

Not a novel with any redeeming features as far as I'm concerned. If only it were possible to rate a book below one star.


Gina R said...

Oh my. I do believe if I venture into the Bond realm I'll stick with the movies. *-*

carol said...

I read this one not too long ago and was just amazed by the sexism too. I love the movies, but am not sure I'll read any more of the books.

Suko said...

Tracy, thank you for your candid review. I hope you enjoy your next book a lot more than this one.

Sherry Ellis said...

Wow. Yes, I'd be angered reading that, too! No stars from me!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I've never seen a Bond film, and i don't think I'd really like any of the books either with the old-fashioned views of women, etc.

Kelly said...

Having never seen any of the films all the way through, you've certainly put me off the notion of every trying the books. I can think of better options if I'm looking for a spy thriller.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

So glad to have read this review! I haven't read any 007 books- and haven't seen any of the movies either. It sounds like the movies are the way to go in this case. Interesting to learn that the book didn't have that much action! Thanks for sharing. :)

Gingi Freeman said...

Great review.. I often have trouble summarizing my thoughts for reviews.. you have a way with reviews! <3 - www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Brian Joseph said...

For years I have thought about reading this but I have never gotten around to it.

I think that I would be not be too bothered by the slow pace.

As for the sexism; n my opinion if a writer is creating a character, and for various reasons wants to give them bad traits, it is actually a good thing. However, if the writer seems to be in agreement with the bad behavior, then it becomes something that I would not care to read.

I have seen both the old television version of this as well as the 1960s spoof. They were not very good.

kimbacaffeinate said...

Wow, Thanks for sharing. I have watched some of the Bond movies..but I am pretty confident I would have DNFed this.

Literary Feline said...

I didn't know Fleming wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang . . . Hmm.

My husband has read all of Fleming's books (except Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and enjoyed them--at least I think so since he read them all. I haven't tried the series though, although I'm curious. I once asked my husband if he thought I would like the books and he hesitated before saying, "Maybe." That never bodes well. From your review, I think I might not.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

Whilst I am definitely not condoning the language, tone and innuendo, you have highlighted from this book, I am taking into account that it was written back in 1953, when this would have been the usual and everyday pace for a thriller (I'm thinking here about the very early Agatha Christie books, which could be 'slow going' in the extreme!).

I can also remember some of the terribly misogynistic and definitely sexist adverts of the 1950s and 60s, for cigarettes, cleaning products etc.

I can remember watching the original spoof Casino Royale film of 1967, starring Peter Sellers and David Niven, although I can't remember the various television spin offs at all.


Bond can do no wrong in our house, at least as far as hubbie is concerned, although neither of us have read any of the books.

Sorry you were so disappointed with this one, but thanks for sharing your thoughts about it.

Yvonne :)