Book review : On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James Bond, #11)On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Fleming

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is the tenth James Bond novel, and is also a sequel to Thunderball, and the second book in the Blofeld trilogy, as Bond tries once again to stop the machinations of Blofeld who managed to get away after the events in the previous novel, who has an even more ingenious, if slightly less ambitious, scheme in mind in this book.

It is also famous as the novel where James Bond actually gets married to one of his many conquests, Tracy Di Vicenzo, which did seem to be quite out of character with what we had always seen up to that point, especially when he seemed to know this girl a lot less than many of the previous other girls that he has pretended to love in order to have a roll in the hay with them, including another girl in this book!

Even if this whole sudden acceptance of marriage thing did seem a little bit strange at the time it did show a different side to Bond’s character, one that we had not previously encountered, although whether that made Bond more human and likeable as a result is open to discussion, as it didn’t entirely convince me.

I found all of the stuff about the College of the Arms and the genealogical stuff fascinating, and you can tell that Fleming had researched this aspect of the plot thoroughly as that really comes across in this book that he knew what he was writing about.

Once again Ian Fleming provides us with a fascinating and exciting book, not bad going consider this was the tenth book to feature the character!

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Book review : Octopussy & The Living Daylights

Octopussy & the Living Daylights (James Bond, #14)Octopussy & the Living Daylights by Ian Fleming

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Octopussy and The Living Daylights comprised the final unpublished James Bond stories penned by Ian Fleming. The book comprised of four stories the title stories Octopussy, The Living Daylights and The Property of a Lady and James Bond in New York.

The main three stories were all about 30 pages in length. They were all quite good stories engagingly written with some very typical Bondian elements but were just quick sketches and would probably have worked better if they have been placed into the novels as a subplot or as an aside from the main action.

I am not sure that the exploits of James Bond are suited to the short story in the same way that, say Sherlock Holmes is. I wasn’t that impressed by the stories and I am not sure that they are worth reading in their own right unless it was in order to complete the canon.

Perhaps that is rather unkind as there were some interesting elements in the majority of these stories but they just don’t stick in the mind.

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Book review : The Man with the Golden Gun

The Man With the Golden Gun (James Bond, #13)The Man With the Golden Gun by Ian Fleming
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Man with the Golden Gun is the final full length James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming and starts of interestingly with Bond attempting to assassinate M and ends up with Bond being sent on a mission to get rid of hired gun Scaramanga, the self-style man with the golden gun.

The book is the shortest of all of the James Bond novels and is the weakest on that Fleming has ever written. This was written during the last months of Ian Fleming’s life and he died before he was able to do any rewrites on the book which is probably why it doesn’t seem as polished as the other novels.

I can’t say that this was really a bad book, but it certainly wasn’t one of Fleming’s best works and, had he lived, it probably would have ended up being very different to how it actually turned out.

It had it’s moments though and there were some typical elements that are always present in the Bond novels to keep the interest going but it really wasn’t one of the series finest hours and perhaps You Only Live Twice would have be a better final chapter.

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Book review : You Only Live Twice

You Only Live Twice (James Bond, #12)You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You Only Live Twice is the eleventh James Bond book, and the third of the Blofeld trilogy.

Once again Blofeld is the main villain of the peace, and once again Blofeld only really appears in the the latter parts of the novel.

After reading the previous two novels in the Blofeld trilogy this has become a recurrent theme so it almost seems natural to actually hear more about him and the bad things that he has done rather than actually witness much of this villainy at first hand.

This book is set eight months after the events in OHMSS and, as you can imagine, Bond is pretty pissed off with the world in general and is shipped off on a mission which they feel he cannot balls up far, far away. Of course this ends up as a bit of a revenge mission for Bond for the death of his wife.

A lot of the book is taken up with lengthy descriptions of Japanese culture and customs and sometimes comes across as a treatise on the various uses of various flora and fauna.

This is almost unrecognisable from the film of the same name aside from some of the characters, although even the majority of them only really share the same name as the character from the novel and, even though, little actually happens for a lot of this novel I found it more captivating than I ever did the movie version.

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