Joel Simon's Reviews > Moonraker

Moonraker by Ian Fleming
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May 08, 11

bookshelves: fiction, spy
Read in May, 2011

Another truly enjoyable read in the James Bond series. After struggling with my last book, I went for something lighter this time and was not disappointed. Once again, 007 encounters problems that are not totally out therein fantasy land, giving Moonraker a serious dose of reality. The thing that amazed me the most in this book is that I was on the edge of my seat during a chapter describing a tense game of bridge, and I don't even know how to play the game myself. There is also a great car chase and another of Bond's great escapes from death. And several of the characters have great names -- Hugo Drax, Gala Brand and Loelia Ponsonby. Ian Fleming's writing style is so engaging, I felt like I was there, in each scene. I read this book in two days and could barely put it down. I enjoyed Live and Let Die slightly (but only slightly) more.

I am always surprised when a number of readers comment (as they have with Moonraker) that the story line is predictable. Maybe so, but I don't see them writing books that sell tens of millions of copies. It must not be that easy, no matter how predictable the story line might be. I also think that it is easy to find the Bond books predictable because he is, after all, the most famous spy in books and movies that we have. So when you know that he is always going to come out alive (because there's another book in the series) and you know that there is always something high tech (for its day) and always a pretty girl who Bond tries to seduce, why criticize that? They make up the core of the genre and are fundamental to everything that makes James Bond so appealing. And if those things didn't happen in each book, other people would say that the books are inconsistent and the character is all over the place.

So, I think the James Bond books (so far I have read three) are light, but excellent reads. If you let yourself go and put your self into the time an place, you will find yourself thrilled, intrigued and entertained from start to finish.
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