Alexander McNabb's Reviews > Casino Royale

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
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's review
Nov 18, 2011

really liked it
Read in July, 2011

One of the most brilliant things about Kindles is you can follow a whim and so, on a whim, I read through all of Ian Fleming's Bond books, one after the other. For me, Casino Royale is still the standout work among them all, but when you put it all together it's remarkable how Fleming's character shines through - and the misogyny hits home hard. There's not one Bond book where a woman is not referred to as a 'bitch', usually a 'poor bitch' or a 'silly bitch'. And Bond always kisses hard and usually finds a nipple. It all gets a bit wearing and by the time we arrive at The Spy Who Loved Me, probably the most slapdash of all of the Bond books, you're skimming as the protagonist (it's the only Bond book written in the first person, and by a woman at that) calls herself a stupid bitch. TSWLM is an odd one, you could do a search and replace of James Bond for Jack Reacher and I think you'd probably get away with sticking Lee Child on the cover.

Casino Royale has an edge to it I found the other Bond books lacked when read back to back. It's the book where Bond first does strange things like eating an avocado (the UK was still on ration books at the time and few people would have ever encountered an avocado. Worse, they couldn't even Google it to find out what it was) and drinking champagne. It's very much a book of its time. If there's one Bond book I'd read again (exhausted by my Bondathon), this is it.

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