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Casino Royale: A Review

So I love the Bond films. There’s been some great ones in the years I’ve been alive, including the latest, Skyfall, so I jumped at the idea to read the first of the books when it was presented to me in my bookclub. What better way to appreciate Bond than read the books.

It started a little dull, as older books tend to do. While it’s not acceptable to write a book with lots of description and back story up front these days it was just fine back then. People liked to have the scene set for them and didn’t need to be hooked on the first page because their attention spans were longer. I also thought the dossier chapter was interesting if a little dry.

Bond wasn’t entirely what I was expecting. He appeared very sexist, and the author may well have been. As the book was written in the 50’s this could be a sign of the times again but I’m not entirely sure. M was male, something I found interesting given that I always imagine M as Judi Dench and probably always will. Given Bond’s sexist nature this was probably necessary.

I’m still not 100% sure if I liked the book, however. It was shorter than I expected, barely even long enough to call itself a novel, and very few of the side characters were fleshed out. Bond had some backstory and info about him but it was sparse and the rest of the characters had even less, giving the whole thing a rather 2d feel to it. I imagine it would build over several books, but I’d really have liked less description about the setting and more of the characters.

All in all it’s left me very unsure whether to continue. The ebooks aren’t cheap given how short they are (this one was £4) and not as good as a lot of cheaper indie books are these days but I am sort of curious. I suppose I might consider trying a second if I’m feeling flush sometime, but given how many other ebooks I want to buy I don’t expect it will be any time soon.