Which Bond novel are you currently reading?

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  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,985
    Diamonds Are Forever I really do enjoy this book. Very underrated IMO.

    So many great moments and characters.
    Really love the stuff in Saratoga Springs and Vegas. Fleming's travelogue is second to none in this story. He really has a distaste for Las Vegas!

    Fleming's description of the journey along the picturesque 'Tatonic Parkway' to Saratoga intrigued me enough to look it up on Google maps streetview, and it's certainly still has beautiful scenery.

    My only fault with the book is Bond’s escape from Spectreville is a bit too easy. And the fact that Spang chases them with his train all on his own.

    But overall I really enjoy reading this book and I'm drawn back to it again and again.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited June 2023 Posts: 3,477
    Diamonds Are Forever I really do enjoy this book. Very underrated IMO.

    So many great moments and characters.
    Really love the stuff in Saratoga Springs and Vegas. Fleming's travelogue is second to none in this story. He really has a distaste for Las Vegas!

    Fleming's description of the journey along the picturesque 'Tatonic Parkway' to Saratoga intrigued me enough to look it up on Google maps streetview, and it's certainly still has beautiful scenery.

    My only fault with the book is Bond’s escape from Spectreville is a bit too easy. And the fact that Spang chases them with his train all on his own.

    But overall I really enjoy reading this book and I'm drawn back to it again and again.

    I agree, I liked this novel too, very underrated indeed.
    I don't understand those people putting it at the bottom.
    Sure, I understand those complaints about the villains, though for me they're fun as Fleming's description was really crazy.
    But the rest of the book is pure thriller and fun.

    And Tiffany Case is one of Fleming's best Bond Girls (she's in my Top Three along with Vesper and Domino), and their romance was also the best love story Fleming ever wrote, moreso than even Vesper and Bond (which is 2nd).

    The book had a great potential to be turned into a film, much better than what we've got.

  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,985
    SIS_HQ wrote: »
    Diamonds Are Forever I really do enjoy this book. Very underrated IMO.

    So many great moments and characters.
    Really love the stuff in Saratoga Springs and Vegas. Fleming's travelogue is second to none in this story. He really has a distaste for Las Vegas!

    Fleming's description of the journey along the picturesque 'Tatonic Parkway' to Saratoga intrigued me enough to look it up on Google maps streetview, and it's certainly still has beautiful scenery.

    My only fault with the book is Bond’s escape from Spectreville is a bit too easy. And the fact that Spang chases them with his train all on his own.

    But overall I really enjoy reading this book and I'm drawn back to it again and again.

    I agree, I liked this novel too, very underrated indeed.
    I don't understand those people putting it at the bottom.
    Sure, I understand those complaints about the villains, though for me they're fun as Fleming's description was really crazy.
    But the rest of the book is pure thriller and fun.

    And Tiffany Case is one of Fleming's best Bond Girls (she's in my Top Three along with Vesper and Domino), and their romance was also the best love story Fleming ever wrote, moreso than even Vesper and Bond (which is 2nd).

    The book had a great potential to be turned into a film, much better than what we've got.

    Yep, would have made a cracking film. Imagine the chase along the train tracks in the desert!

    I love the way the novel is bookended with the scenes in South Africa. And the way Bond makes killing Wint and Kidd look like a suicide to avoid any questions.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited June 2023 Posts: 3,477
    SIS_HQ wrote: »
    Diamonds Are Forever I really do enjoy this book. Very underrated IMO.

    So many great moments and characters.
    Really love the stuff in Saratoga Springs and Vegas. Fleming's travelogue is second to none in this story. He really has a distaste for Las Vegas!

    Fleming's description of the journey along the picturesque 'Tatonic Parkway' to Saratoga intrigued me enough to look it up on Google maps streetview, and it's certainly still has beautiful scenery.

    My only fault with the book is Bond’s escape from Spectreville is a bit too easy. And the fact that Spang chases them with his train all on his own.

    But overall I really enjoy reading this book and I'm drawn back to it again and again.

    I agree, I liked this novel too, very underrated indeed.
    I don't understand those people putting it at the bottom.
    Sure, I understand those complaints about the villains, though for me they're fun as Fleming's description was really crazy.
    But the rest of the book is pure thriller and fun.

    And Tiffany Case is one of Fleming's best Bond Girls (she's in my Top Three along with Vesper and Domino), and their romance was also the best love story Fleming ever wrote, moreso than even Vesper and Bond (which is 2nd).

    The book had a great potential to be turned into a film, much better than what we've got.

    Yep, would have made a cracking film. Imagine the chase along the train tracks in the desert!

    I love the way the novel is bookended with the scenes in South Africa. And the way Bond makes killing Wint and Kidd look like a suicide to avoid any questions.

    It's really a wise move.

    This book could still be adapted along with TMWTGG and TSWLM.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 4,306
    Just finished reading Colonel Sun. Sorry for the late reply, there have been a few problems in my personal and work lives. Overall, very impressed. Great opening and ending. Middle did drag on a bit. I wish we could have had more of Colonel Sun himself in the book. He was DEFINITELY a great villain. If there’s one thing that I will defend Purvis and Wade on, they aren’t afraid to look back at CS for ideas. If we never get a full film adaptation, at least some writers (including Anthony Horowitz) have ranked it as one of the great Bond adventures. It fits right in with Ian Fleming’s best work.
  • edited July 2023 Posts: 1,712
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    Just finished reading Colonel Sun. Sorry for the late reply, there have been a few problems in my personal and work lives. Overall, very impressed. Great opening and ending. Middle did drag on a bit. I wish we could have had more of Colonel Sun himself in the book. He was DEFINITELY a great villain. If there’s one thing that I will defend Purvis and Wade on, they aren’t afraid to look back at CS for ideas. If we never get a full film adaptation, at least some writers (including Anthony Horowitz) have ranked it as one of the great Bond adventures. It fits right in with Ian Fleming’s best work.

    Very much in agreement about the beginning and ending. Far too much time spent on the boats and islands. No pun intended, but I kept drifting off. The torture scene certainly seemed to have influenced SPECTRE.

    Now on to Zero Minus Ten.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 13,379
    Not a novel, but I noticed an interesting item still available on Amazon. Maybe noted elsewhere.

    Free Kindle edition:


    51vU66mTKCL.jpg
    The Moneypenny Diaries: Secret Chapters Kindle Edition
    by Kate Westbrook (Author), Samantha Weinberg (Author)
    https://www.amazon.com/Moneypenny-Diaries-Secret-Chapters-ebook/dp/B08GTRRF7M/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2HT0DDBQNB185&keywords="james+bond"+007+moneypenny+diaries&qid=1690765821&s=digital-text&sprefix=james+bond+007+moneypenny+diaries,digital-text,90&sr=1-1
    4.2 4.2 out of 5 stars 84 ratings
    3.9 on Goodreads
    49 ratings

    Publisher Ian Fleming Publications
    Publication Date September 17, 2020
    Kindle
    $0.00
    Two short stories, in the world of The Moneypenny Diaries.
    Kate Westbrook, niece of the intrepid Miss Moneypenny and editor of her famous diaries, has uncovered two more of her aunt's formerly-classified adventures.

    Short stories First Date and For Your Eyes Only, James offer a tantalising (and candid) glimpse into the life of James Bond's confidante and co-conspiritor: the ever-resourceful Miss Moneypenny . . .


    cropped-banner-2-scaled-1-scaled-1.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1
    https://jamesbond007.net/Categorie/moneypennys-first-date-with-bond-2006/
    Moneypenny's First Date With Bond is a short story from The Moneypenny Diaries series written by Samantha Weinberg (under the pen name Kate Westbrook). It was published in the UK as a supplement (The Connoisseur's Guide to James Bond) to the 11 November 2006 issue of The Spectator magazine. It was republished in the form of a free ebook in a collection of the title The Moneypenny Diaries: Secret Chapters, on September 10, 2020. The news has never been officially translated into French.
    maxresdefault.jpg?w=1313&ssl=1
  • Posts: 1,712
    Starting over. CR.
  • Posts: 5,905
    Right now, I'm reading With a Mind to Kill, and I must say that the scene at Tower Bridge just begs to be adapted on screen.
  • LucknFateLucknFate 007 In New York
    Posts: 1,556
    Was Ian Fleming ever into code writing? Is it possible there's an unknown hidden code in the Fleming Bond novels of some sort that nobody ever guessed to check for or found a clue for? Just thinking it seems like it could be something up his sleeve. I'm sure the overlapping interest between Bond and the common codebreaker is pretty tight, so it probably would have come up by now.
  • Posts: 12,363
    I’m finally back! GF got its long-awaited finish tonight. I read the first few chapters slowly over the weeks, then just downed about the last half of it today while waiting to get my phone battery replaced. GF is… well, I’ll try to talk about!

    The best part about GF to me is the general cat-and-mouse relationship Bond and Goldfinger have. Fleming came up with several interesting, varied encounters that are always a pleasure to read - the cheating at cards, the golf game (featuring more cheating), the bit at the house with the cat, the torture scene, and then Bond having to work for Goldfinger. It makes sense this novel was named after the villain; besides Blofeld, Fleming probably spends more time on Goldfinger than any other villain. Goldfinger isn’t even one of my favorite villains, but I still think he’s a good one, and his tense relationship with Bond is consistently fun to follow.

    Other good things include Oddjob (he gets a nice, big role with lots of action), Felix (even though it’s sadly a very brief appearance), the entire gold theme and plot, the novelty of Bond having to help the villain, and of course the always-dependable suspense and action. There are plenty of highlight moments one comes to expect from a Bond adventure, my favorite being the golf sequence. However, I do have some problems with this book.

    My #1 issue is the Bond girls this go around. Jill, while cool and likable when she is there, is simply not around long enough. Her death is so much more impactful in the movie when Bond sees it versus the explanation Tilly gives in the book. Speaking of which, Tilly’s character really frustrated me, as in I found her to be wasted potential. She obviously has good motivations and a fiery personality, but other than a couple witty exchanges with Bond, I felt like their relationship just never got to a very interesting point. Maybe that *was* the point with her character - a girl Bond wanted but couldn’t get close to - but I just felt so unsatisfied when she was unceremoniously killed by Oddjob in the climax, and she and Bond never seemed to connect a lot despite spending lots of time together. As for Pussy Galore, she is interesting and fun to read when she’s there, but again like Jill, underused. There’s just not enough there for me.

    All the gangsters Goldfinger hires have some personality, but they also don’t really last long enough or do enough to make a big impact in my mind. I found the climax of the book to feel a bit rushed, and again much better handled in the movie version. The first two-thirds of the book were definitely the best bits; the pacing becomes questionable to me after the great torture scene. I suppose Goldfinger explaining everything about his plan was necessary, but it really felt like it dragged on, then the action at the end is all so fast.

    GF is still a good Bond book. But to me, this reading pretty easily leaves it at the bottom of my list for now, allowing DAF to escape the cellar for the first time. DAF’s got one gigantic advantage over it: the Bond girl, Tiffany Case. I loved how much of that book was about her and her relationship with Bond. GF did have the better main villain, but I found DAF a more satisfying experience in my first rereads of them both. I hope this didn’t come off too strong as a GF-bashing type of post, as I still really did enjoy most of it, but I do have to take the strong stance that I think it is a step down from what came before. It does end the SMERSH saga, and I think Fleming did a wise thing going from this - his longest, traditional Bond book - to the short story collection of FYEO. It is a refreshing affair I’ll be eager to revisit.

    Novel Ranking:
    1. From Russia with Love
    2. Dr. No
    3. Moonraker
    4. Casino Royale
    5. Live and Let Die
    6. Diamonds Are Forever
    7. Goldfinger
  • Yeah I feel similarly about Goldfinger. It’s not bad, but it’s a bit of a slog for how long it is and feels like many of its best bits are repurposed from other, better, Bond books like the card cheating is just a not-as-good refresh of the Bridge game in Moonraker. The very best bit of GF is the opening chapters where Bond morosely reflects on a dirty bit of business, it’s the most original and interesting section of the story. I too prefer DAF, the snappier pacing and excellent travelogue elements make for a more fun read even if the villains are largely a let down.

    Something I find interesting is that from Goldfinger on the physical torture and abuse of Bond himself are largely toned down from the horrific things he endures in the first half of the series. Instead his torments become increasingly psychological and emotional.
  • Posts: 2,904
    Something I find interesting is that from Goldfinger on the physical torture and abuse of Bond himself are largely toned down from the horrific things he endures in the first half of the series. Instead his torments become increasingly psychological and emotional.

    Kingsley Amis, in his James Bond Dossier, postulated that after the controvery and charges of sadism in the reviews Doctor No, Fleming toned down the torture scenes in his subsequent books, to avoid getting hammered again by critics. This wouldn't be the last time Fleming changed track after a book's critical response. OHMSS was clearly intended as a "return to form" after the negative reception of TSWLM.
  • Posts: 12,363
    The dark sadism, so to speak, of the early James Bond books is a huge strength that always increased my interest. Of course, I gravitate toward disturbing and dark stuff, so that's a subjective taste, but it always seemed to heighten the sense of danger and sacrifice Bond goes through. The torture sequence in GF is still one of the book's best parts, and yet it has indeed been done better in earlier novels. I wouldn't be shocked if GF ends up at the bottom of the pile this time around for me - though I've already encountered multiple ranking changes on this marathon, so who knows for sure.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    Posts: 3,477
    I actually liked Goldfinger, there's the tense, especially in the part where Bond was working as Goldfinger's secretary while writing a request back up letter to CIA, I feel the tension, the thrill of it.

    It's the book where the parts are greater than the whole kind of thing, there are some parts in the book that's really worked for me, like Bond investigating Goldfinger, the scenes of Bond and Tilly (when Tilly was killed, and Bond felt the anger need for revenge, I've felt it too as a reader, I think it's missing in the film when Tilly was killed in there, I don't feel anything).

    If there are things that took me out of the book, it's mainly the prejudices, stereotypes, and the ending (like I'm rooting for Tilly Masterton to be with Bond at the end, but then it's Pussy, and for me who should've stayed as a villain and escaped, would've been better), that's why I'm not a fan of Trigger Mortis, I know what Horowitz was trying to do, but I just don't liked how that book focused on Pussy Galore's relationship with Bond, and even ending her up as a damsel.

    I liked this book (except for the didn't aged well phrases).

    I heavily prefer this to the later ones (post-TSWLM), where there are no tension, no realism and just outlandish.

    If there's one book that I liked from the later ones, it might be Thunderball, but the rest, I'm not a fan of them.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 4,306
    I think it’s safe to say that Goldfinger is the rare movie that’s better than its book. The Godfather and Jaws are two others that fit this rare category. I do still actually also recommend reading The Godfather by Mario Puzo. You can’t put it down.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    Posts: 3,477
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    I think it’s safe to say that Goldfinger is the rare movie that’s better than its book. The Godfather and Jaws are two others that fit this rare category. I do still actually also recommend reading The Godfather by Mario Puzo. You can’t put it down.

    Goldfinger for me is tied with the movie at least, some parts in the book worked better in the film and the vice versa.

    What I think worked in the book was more scenes of Tilly, Bond doing a lot more things, and Bond working for Goldfinger as a secretary while doing undercover work.

    I've wished the film did that more instead of having Bond be a damsel in distress for most of the film's third act.
  • Posts: 12,363
    @SIS_HQ

    I respect the difference of opinion and it’s good to hear a different perspective. Not trying to steer the conversation too far into politics, but you brought up the prejudice point, and I do have to just say that the one paragraph towards the end of Chapter 19: Secret Appendix about “sex equality” particularly disturbed me in the sense it all looked like it was drawn up as something a right-winger would say or write today, word for word. I never let the “product of the time” stuff bother me too much in these books or any other fiction, but this one stood out in particular to me regarding how so many people still say and believe the specifics that were made there about “women becoming less feminine while men become more” and whatnot.
  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe "I tolerate this century, but I don't enjoy it."Moderator
    Posts: 13,970
    Finished Dr No yesterday, and started Goldfinger this morning. GF isn't one of my favourites, so I just want to get through it as quick as I can.
  • Posts: 12,363
    Completed FYEO this afternoon. I absolutely love this collection of short stories; each and every one of the five tales is super entertaining and offers something unique! I'll write up a paragraph for each one, then do my best with the rankings at the end as is tradition (both collectively with the other novels and a short story category).

    Things get off to a solid start with From a View to a Kill. Other than Paris, of course, there's nothing in common with the movie that even changes the title a little. The opening of this story with the motorcycle assassination is PTS perfection, so to speak, and the ensuing investigation from Bond is also very cool with him hiding in the tree and ending up in the showdown at the end. I loved the gimmick of a motorcycle-riding bad guy. The action and exposition were well-balanced. The bit of lore about Bond having a life-changing experience at 16 in Paris was an interesting inclusion. Though I think this story gets topped several times by following ones, there's still not much negative I can say about it - a very enjoyable, first short story for James Bond!

    Then we get the headliner of the lot, For Your Eyes Only. Opens with the super tense and chilling murder of the Havelocks. Then there's the great scene with M and Bond, particularly the cool detail of Bond wordlessly taking the FYEO stuff with him after deciding the criminals should be executed. The journey and action from there is all very well done - great descriptions of the setting and characters that come into play. Judy's involvement adds the necessary spice to set the story apart, and her and Bond together were the most enjoyable parts for me to read. Definitely one of the best Bond short stories - an instant classic with all the right ingredients.

    Quantum of Solace is the least great short story in this collection, but don't think for a moment that means I don't enjoy it! Though Bond's involvement here is merely listening to a story, Fleming crafts a very engaging story about new characters who go through much pain and tragedy. The Masters couple are consistently interesting to read about, and the title of the short story itself is very well-implemented. Though again, like FAVTAK, this one has practically nothing in common with the movie, it's a plenty worthwhile on its own, even without Bond as the star. That simple fact, though, admittedly keeps it from climbing above the others for me.

    On the other hand, Risico is my favorite Bond short story, narrowly edging out FYEO. I like how both were used as inspiration for the FYEO movie, which, in my opinion, did a great job pulling from them while adding its own original beats. Anyways, Risico is my favorite because it has a fantastic set of characters, most of all Columbo, one of my favorite Bond allies in both the literary and film world. The twist of who the real villain is is cool to me, even though I knew it was coming from having seen the movie first. The chase sequence is very suspenseful, and the action sequence at the warehouse at the end is a contender for the best action scene in any Fleming Bond story. If one is badly pressed for time and can only read one piece of literary Bond for any reason, make it Risico - it's the complete package.

    Then we end with The Hildebrand Rarity, a very different but still very captivating story. Fleming has created some truly despicable characters through these stories, but I don't think any surpass Milton Krest for sheer unlikability. It's so satisfying when and how he meets his end in this story - and equally exciting how Fleming leaves the killer ambiguous (for anyone who cares, this reader prefers to think of Mrs. Krest having had enough abuse and being the culprit). This is a really depressing story overall though, from Krest's abhorrent behavior towards everyone to the killing of the Hildebrand Rarity. I'd consider it the darkest of this bunch, but also extremely fascinating and page-turning.

    Overall, FYEO is a fantastic collection of short stories. It's incredibly difficult to rank among the traditional novels, and though I did my best to try, I must say if anything I probably lowballed it. Fleming is at least as good at the short story stuff on average, and it's awesome to have the option to read brief Bond stories when you don't want to invest as much time. This was a fun turnaround from GF for me, and one of many big highlights the Fleming Bond canon holds.

    Novel Ranking:
    1. From Russia with Love
    2. Dr. No
    3. Moonraker
    4. For Your Eyes Only
    5. Casino Royale
    6. Live and Let Die
    7. Diamonds Are Forever
    8. Goldfinger

    Short Story Ranking:
    1. Risico
    2. For Your Eyes Only
    3. The Hildebrand Rarity
    4. From a View to a Kill
    5. Quantum of Solace
  • Posts: 1,712
    Beginning the Fleming series again after several years. Having finished Casino Royale onto Live and Let Die. Notably Fleming uses the phrase all the time in the world in both novels. In CR I preferred Vesper's role and betrayal in the film more than the novel. In LALD, the Kananga/Mr. Big thing in the film is quite silly. Much prefer the Mr. Big of the novel.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,732
    Just finished Trigger Mortis, and I quite enjoyed it, much more so than Devil May Care (and I *did* like that one). The race scene was particularly well written IMO. Great plot, it all came together well in the end. I need to read his other two asap (and I have them now).
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited August 2023 Posts: 18,015
    CrabKey wrote: »
    Beginning the Fleming series again after several years. Having finished Casino Royale onto Live and Let Die. Notably Fleming uses the phrase all the time in the world in both novels. In CR I preferred Vesper's role and betrayal in the film more than the novel. In LALD, the Kananga/Mr. Big thing in the film is quite silly. Much prefer the Mr. Big of the novel.

    Yes, it's a pity that the Mankiewicz chose to water down one of Fleming's finest villains in that way when he came to write the LALD script. By replacing Mr Big with Dr Kananga we sadly didn't get to see a great Fleming villain brought to the screen in the same way that previous greats Dr No, Goldfinger or Blofeld (especially in OHMSS) were brought to the screen prior to this. That is a real shame and a curious creative decision from Mankiewicz who seemingly didn't want to risk bringing Fleming's Mr Big to the screen properly. He took the easy option of creating a completely new character to replace him in the form of Dr Kananga with Mr Big being merely a ten a penny stereotypical American gangster cover identity.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    edited August 2023 Posts: 17,732
    Thinking about it and I got a nice Fleming-Lite vibe from Trigger Mortis. The only non-Fleming book to give me a serious Fleming vibe was Colonal Sun. Christopher Wood's Spy Who Loved Me also gave me nice Fleming vibes. So yeah, this one is definitely up there for me. Great little touches too- like feeling the cigarettes chasing the train, or the burned dude coda.
  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 2,618
    I just reread The Living Daylights short story, they really captured the suspense and the dangerous atmosphere the story had, when they adapted the sniper sequence for TLD.

    I couldn't help but picture Dalton when reading this. He nailed that coiled spring tension Bond has in this story, espicially the way he resents being a 00.
  • Posts: 1,712
    On to Moonraker. When M introduces Bond to Drax, he does so as "Bond, James Bond."
  • Posts: 12,363
    Wrapped up TB today. The book definitely represents the beginning of a new era for Fleming Bond, with SPECTRE replacing SMERSH as the main antagonistic organization and featuring the awesome introduction of Blofeld. For me, where this book most succeeds is with the villains. Though he is only in the novel for a limited amount of time, Blofeld leaves a terrific impression as a formidable threat. I really enjoy the scenes with he and Largo executing SPECTRE members for being out of line. I like that Largo's character here is kind of a dark version of Bond without the writing being too heavy-handed about it. Both suave, skilled, and loyal, but with very different purposes of course. Interestingly, while we still get some well-written interactions between Bond and Largo, TB did subvert the usual trope of Bond and the main villain having a chat towards the climax of the story, which I thought was cool for a change of pace even though I usually enjoy those scenes.

    Another area TB did well in is the Bond girl, Domino. The dialogue she has with Bond is consistently entertaining, and I love that it is she who gets to kill Largo for revenge. Bond and Leiter's friendship is always fun to read too, and there's plenty of "buddy" content in TB for those who enjoy that kind of thing. The tropical setting and action scenes are nice and flavorful, too. My main issue with TB is that while I feel like the beginning chapters and later chapters are very good, the pacing in the middle was not always the best. There was a lot of focus on Bond and Felix's frustration of not being able to make headway, and I was antsy for quicker progress myself. I think the film version did a nice job by adding Fiona Volpe for extra action and intrigue in between the investigating.

    Another small complaint I have is that despite the first and last chapters sharing the same name, the beginning and later parts of the book are largely disjointed. Unless I glossed over something, it felt like Bond's trip to Shrublands, besides of course his specific run-in with Count Lippe, was very disconnected in tone and theme with what comes later. It was still mostly enjoyable to read, but the style of it combined with what happens later did feel like two separate stories to me.

    TB is still a good Bond novel, though I feel like it could have been better. The basic plot and action are fine as they are, but I would have liked some improvement primarily with the progression of Bond and Leiter's investigation. The novel is most important for setting up Blofeld and SPECTRE, and things only get juicier with them moving forward. But before that, the unique TSWLM is up next!

    Novel Ranking:
    1. From Russia with Love
    2. Dr. No
    3. Moonraker
    4. For Your Eyes Only
    5. Casino Royale
    6. Live and Let Die
    7. Thunderball
    8. Diamonds Are Forever
    9. Goldfinger

    Short Story Ranking:
    1. Risico
    2. For Your Eyes Only
    3. The Hildebrand Rarity
    4. From a View to a Kill
    5. Quantum of Solace
  • Posts: 1,712
    Just completed FRWL. I am reminded what a wonderful adaptation the film is. A lot of dialogue straight from the novel. In a couple of instances the film improves upon the novel. I especially like the red wine and fish addition. Bond's delayed entry into the novel does not bother me.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 4,306
    FoxRox wrote: »
    Wrapped up TB today. The book definitely represents the beginning of a new era for Fleming Bond, with SPECTRE replacing SMERSH as the main antagonistic organization and featuring the awesome introduction of Blofeld. For me, where this book most succeeds is with the villains. Though he is only in the novel for a limited amount of time, Blofeld leaves a terrific impression as a formidable threat. I really enjoy the scenes with he and Largo executing SPECTRE members for being out of line. I like that Largo's character here is kind of a dark version of Bond without the writing being too heavy-handed about it. Both suave, skilled, and loyal, but with very different purposes of course. Interestingly, while we still get some well-written interactions between Bond and Largo, TB did subvert the usual trope of Bond and the main villain having a chat towards the climax of the story, which I thought was cool for a change of pace even though I usually enjoy those scenes.

    Another area TB did well in is the Bond girl, Domino. The dialogue she has with Bond is consistently entertaining, and I love that it is she who gets to kill Largo for revenge. Bond and Leiter's friendship is always fun to read too, and there's plenty of "buddy" content in TB for those who enjoy that kind of thing. The tropical setting and action scenes are nice and flavorful, too. My main issue with TB is that while I feel like the beginning chapters and later chapters are very good, the pacing in the middle was not always the best. There was a lot of focus on Bond and Felix's frustration of not being able to make headway, and I was antsy for quicker progress myself. I think the film version did a nice job by adding Fiona Volpe for extra action and intrigue in between the investigating.

    Another small complaint I have is that despite the first and last chapters sharing the same name, the beginning and later parts of the book are largely disjointed. Unless I glossed over something, it felt like Bond's trip to Shrublands, besides of course his specific run-in with Count Lippe, was very disconnected in tone and theme with what comes later. It was still mostly enjoyable to read, but the style of it combined with what happens later did feel like two separate stories to me.

    TB is still a good Bond novel, though I feel like it could have been better. The basic plot and action are fine as they are, but I would have liked some improvement primarily with the progression of Bond and Leiter's investigation. The novel is most important for setting up Blofeld and SPECTRE, and things only get juicier with them moving forward. But before that, the unique TSWLM is up next!

    Novel Ranking:
    1. From Russia with Love
    2. Dr. No
    3. Moonraker
    4. For Your Eyes Only
    5. Casino Royale
    6. Live and Let Die
    7. Thunderball
    8. Diamonds Are Forever
    9. Goldfinger

    Short Story Ranking:
    1. Risico
    2. For Your Eyes Only
    3. The Hildebrand Rarity
    4. From a View to a Kill
    5. Quantum of Solace

    Great review of TB. I agree with you on your opinions of Blofeld. I still would love to have a spinoff book of Blofeld and Irma Bunt set in modern day. I enjoy the book version of TB better than the movie.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited September 2023 Posts: 3,477
    Just ran into Goldfinger

    I really liked the Miami scenes, for me, it's much better for me than the one in the film.

    Because the tension and excitement was more felt, because I've got to know the man who's playing against Goldfinger in the cards, it's Du Pont, so as I know him and his connection to Bond, especially given a more better reason to led Bond there was because this guy was asking a help from Bond to watch him and Goldfinger play cards, it's a tense scene and Du Pont was quite a fun character, it's a shame he's not in the Casino Royale film.

    In the film, although the Miami Scenes are fine, but not much excitement, because I have no idea about the man who's playing against Goldfinger, there's no Du Pont (the character I'm starting to like).

    There's a deep connection in the book because Du Pont already knew Bond since he was in Casino Royale, and it happened naturally that Bond went to the Hotel was because of Du Pont, who's the owner of the hotel (Fountainebleu).

    And Bond already knew beforehand that Goldfinger was a cheater, because Du Pont was actually a skilled card player but he always got lost at Goldfinger, so Bond thought he's being cheated, but there's a thought at Bond's mind that Du Pont may not actually be a great player as he assumed he was, so there's a confusion in Bond's mind, until he made his own investigation, it created a better effect, because we're going to find out how Goldfinger did what he did or that Du Pont wasn't exactly a great player.

    I liked how the events in Miami played out in the book moreso than the film.

    Now, there are already two things that I prefer in the book than the film: The Miami Sequence, and the third act (along with Bond posing as Goldfinger's secretary).

    I think the only thing where the film improved upon the book was the plot (which was the monopolization of Gold), but everything else was much more better in the book (I'm yet to reread the golf scenes to see if the film's would be better).
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