Oh, James Bond. How I love thee. At least when you are brought to life by Daniel Craig. Casino Royale and Skyfall are two of my favorite movies of all time so I decided to give the source material a read. I worried the books wouldn’t live up to my love of the films and that the woman-hate would be too hard to overcome.
The first Bond novel, Casino Royale, is at first about a high stakes baccarat game between a British Secret Services operative, our handsome Bond, and the soviet scumbag, Le Chiffre. Le Chiffre has lost millions of dollars that belong to a high terrorist conglomerate, SMERSH, and he needs to win this showdown if he’s to save his own life. But pesky James is always in the way. Interrupting Bond’s game playing is that beguiling minx, Vesper Lynd. She’s been assigned to work with Bond in the field and becomes quite the player in Bond’s work and surprisingly, his heart.
Gotta say – a great overall reading experience. I loved Fleming’s writing. His novel reads like a literary page-turner that manages to feel far less dated than I would have thought. The sexism is there, but I think Vesper’s character is far more interesting than just some piece of meat for Bond to bed. She’s extremely important to this novel and the rest of Bond’s life. I could get annoyed that she ultimately ends up being a boobed villain without much depth, but I like when a woman manages to sneak up on a world renowned master spy – so sue me.
The book is different enough from the movie to be a worthwhile read. I’m also convinced that Bond’s character in the books is far less campy playboy, and much more brooding, clever lone wolf with a sharp tongue and sense of humor. For this reason, I really appreciate the newer films even more and believe Daniel Craig’s Bond to be very faithful to the source material. Reading the novel allows one to get inside James’s mind and see that there’s a lot going on there – at least in this initial offering. He philosophizes ideas of good and evil. He also weighs his role of hired killer in a far more moral and intriguing way than one might expect. Bond is blunt about the world he sees and how he sees himself.
So I definitely recommend Casino Royale to anyone with even the slightest interest in 007. It’s a great companion to the movie and a wonderful addition to any readathon TBR. I’ll definitely be continuing on with Fleming’s next Bond installment!
17 thoughts on “Casino Royale by Ian Fleming”
Yay! I literally just did a review of From Russia with Love and I’m always happy to see people giving the Bond books a read. Honestly, the sexism, racism (oh God SO much of it in Live and Let Die) doesn’t bother me purely because it makes for a historical reading experience. That’s how it was in the fifties. Pretty? No. Accurate? Yes. And most of the ‘Bond girls’ are more than useless bimbos. I blame the movies for that.
I also think Craig is by far the most accurate Bond when compared with the Bond from the books (though Sean Connery was, of course, fabulous).
Enjoy reading the others!
Agree with everything you’ve said here! Connery was a fabulous Bond! And enjoy books for their historical accuracy as well. Really looking forward to reading the rest of the books.
Glad it was a great read! So often a movie can poison a book, but it sounds like the movie and book version complement one another quite well. 🙂 I saw a really old Bond Film a while back that was VERY sexist and I have to say it did put me off the books – but not the newer movies which I love. 🙂
The books aren’t nearly as sexist (or at the last the first one isn’t) as the movies. It’s there, but you’d expect it to be since the novels are a product of the 50s.
Cool beans! 🙂
I haven’t watched all the 007 books, but Casino Royale is one of my favourite movies, I like it even better than Skyfall. I will definitely put t his on my TBR list! Thanks for the review
If you like the movie, I think you’ll like the book. The book’s plot is a bit more simplistic, but the depth of Bond is even more layered.
Glad to read this. My husband was just wondering whether it was worth it to read the books even though he has seen all the movies a gazillion times!
He should definitely give them a read. I’m trying to force them on my husband, non-reader that he is.
Cool! I’m glad this one turned out so well for ya!
What a helpful review! I share your feelings about the Bond films completely and am glad that going into the book disliking the misogynistic Bond, the book can still be a good read 🙂
Thanks! Yes, I was pleasantly surprised how readable and enjoyable the book was!
I’ve read the first five novels and really like them all. All the women are at least flawed and interesting (usually) which is something you don’t seem to get in the movies.
Glad to hear the next few books are entertaining!
I’ve actually never read a Bond novel, though I’ve always meant to! Sounds like this could be a good place to start. Thanks for the review!
A quick, fast read if you’re up for it!