Joseph's Reviews > Moonraker

Moonraker by Ian Fleming
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's review
Aug 14, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction
Read from August 09 to 14, 2015

Far and away the best of the first three books, perhaps just because I spent a lot less time cringing at the racism and sexism. I guess I'm just not that bothered by anti-German racism, and Bond has changed a lot since his temper tantrum at being forced to work with Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale (although I'm not sure why; if anything, shouldn't her betrayal have only solidified his opinions about the place of the fairer sex?). It helps that Gala gets to serve as the narrator for several chapters and seems quite competent (aside from needing to be rescued by Bond several times, but ... well, she's in Bond's book, and a damsel in distress is kind of a necessity). I especially liked her own frustration at being forced to work with Bond, which served as a nice mirror image of Casino Royale.

But I think the big selling point of Moonraker is Drax. Drax is really the first true "Bond Villain", with his ridiculous scheme, and his glee at getting to toy with his prey (before, of course, being utterly destroyed by said prey). How can you not love the glorious ludicrousness of his backstory? Born and raised in England, fought for the Nazis, mistaken for a loyal English soldier, and using that position to concoct a plan that is doomed to failure. He's got a nuclear warhead for crying out loud, and instead of just driving it into the center of London, he has to first invent the world's most advanced rocket.

The entire book is beautifully encapsulated in the opening sequence, with Bond casually unmasking him as a card cheat while struggling to understand why he'd even bother. Bond's arc is the same as that of the reader. From the jump, he realizes that Drax is monster, but he's quickly seduced by that evil charisma, until circumstances force him to humiliate the man by hoisting him on his own petard.

Basically, this has everything I really want in a Bond book. Cards, car chases, beautiful women, and a silly stupid scheme to Destroy The World! Also, you have to love the fact that Bond has now been dumped like a bad habit by two of his three love interests.

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