I’m a glutton for a good series. It’s been awhile since I’ve launched myself into a series and committed to seeing it through. Since it’s a New Year why not launch a new commitment to a series? But to what series? I decided to try one I haven’t read before, but have always wanted to. And I wanted something that I wasn’t going to get bogged down in (i.e. Game of Thrones. Been there. Done That). Having seen Spectre (The latest James Bond film), I decided to give the classic spy novel franchise a try.
The other reason that I wanted to give Ian Fleming’s well known novels a chance is that I’ve recently identified why I come and go on things labeled “action”, like books and movies. I’m more into the whodunit, thriller, mind-bending action, e.g. Jason Bourne and James Bond, rather than the shoot ’em up and bombs a la John McLean and Jason Statham. Plus, Casino Royale was the first Bond film that I actually enjoyed and felt had a good story.
The novel, Casino Royale, didn’t have as much action as I had wanted, but it did still have the espionage and secrecy one would expect from Bond. There weren’t any fights until the torture seen between Le Chifre and Bond which I think was better depicted in the book than the film. I was surprised that I was still engaged in the novel even with the lack of action. I think it shows that Fleming knows how to tell a good story.
One of the major critiques of the novel was its rampant misogyny. Fleming didn’t even try and mask it. Bond is not happy that he has to work with a female agent, Vesper Lynd, and comments that women aren’t to be colleagues, “women are for recreation”. What?!? He continues to make small comments like this, but as he gets to know Vesper, he stops the comments. But I feel like it’s only because she and he engage in some “recreation”.
I’m going to keep reading the series, particularly because I look forward to seeing how Bond reacts to the events of the conclusion of the novel. If you’ve seen the book, you know what I mean. I’m curious to see if the misogyny continues or whether that was just something specific to this novel, and his relationship with Vesper changes that.