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The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum
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Mar 04, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: waste-of-time, 2011, american
Recommended for: people stuck in 1980s stereotype-land
Read from March 02 to 04, 2011

Well, this was the worst book I've read in a long time. Where to start? It's bloated, racist and dull. The scenery is a bit interesting and the plot from the first hundred pages or so appeared just convoluted enough that I wanted to see what happened in the end, or I would have been done with this book by the end of half an hour. But I soldiered on...

In the end, the book was far less interesting than the Bourne Identity, perhaps because there was less for Bourne to do as the man being manipulated rather than manipulating everyone else. Characters also really suffered here: Bourne's internal conflict was just a throwback to the previous novel, and we waste approximately 300 pages on his split personality ramblings. Marie was far less formidable than in Identity. Really, only one character emerged in this book who was genuinely interesting: Echo, Philippe d'Anjou, returns from the previous novel, seemingly a different character, this time around more of a magnificent old commando bastard and mentor figure. Alexander Conklin also gets some magnificent old CIA bastard screentime. This was worthwhile.

As for Ludlum's take on Asia, Asians and Asian politics... the term "facepalm" seems most appropriate. Nearly every Asian character is a stock stereotype. "Bribe the avaricious Chinese" is basically the main way the plot moves forward. "Oriental" is a frequent noun, there's racist language, and all the characters involved in political plotting on the Chinese side are fanatics inspired by the Cultural Revolution. Oh, and there's a kung fu sidekick, who teams up with Bourne after he is defeated, obviously.

Finally, as a Canadian I was annoyed by Ludlum's basic failure of continuity from the first book and massive factual errors. Calgary is not in Ontario! Calgary is really not in Ontario.

If I owned this book as a physical object rather than a digital file, I could have chucked it against a wall. But that would break my Kindle. What a pity.
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Debb Completely agree.


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