Jonathan Terrington's Reviews > The Bourne Identity

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
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's review
Dec 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: action-challenge, popularity-contest, books-with-films

** spoiler alert **
I decided to finally jump on the Robert Ludlum train and read this. I'd recently also jumped on the Mat Damon train and watched the film trilogy. Yes, where had I been the past few years? Well being a teenager of course and living in places where these trains didn't run. Humour aside I'm going to use the next few paragraphs to convince you of why I enjoyed this novel so much and to assure you why you should read this book (or re-read or re-re-read it or re-re-re-read it... or re-re-re-re-re-read...or...).

Many people know the premise of this story but for those who don't spoiler alert right The Bourne Identity begins with the discovery of a man shot and left floating in the water. He gets rescued and nursed back to health. But he's lost his memory. (collective gasp from the audience) Well head trauma is not meant to be good for your memories. The only thing he knows is that he has had facial surgery, he has deadly fighting skills and...oh yeah there's a bank account number for a bank in Zurich.

That's the basic plot synopsis. What happens next is much more complicated. It involves a man discovering his identity, losing his identity and getting caught up in the hunt for a terrorist which happens to coincide with his past. The plot is clever - brilliant in fact - and worthy of its renown. I found myself drawn into a shadowy world with multiple twists and turns. In fact I would go so far as to label this a psychologically laced thriller of epic proportions. Yes that is what The Bourne Identity is. It is a smart, thriller, a kind of entertaining book that is intelligent at the same time.

I must however sadly announce that the end of this book was unfulfilling. It tasted sour, as if the author was simply setting me up to go and read the second book. Which I cannot obtain with ease from my library. So I'm simply left thinking to myself: what happens next? I hate cliff-hangers of this kind which force me to read on. In fact I think I can hear Ludlum laughing at me from the grave.

However I do recommend this as a fine example of thriller writing. Amongst the best I've read. Although for classic thrilling writing I still cannot go past Edgar Allan Poe the man who really started it all off with his tales... Well they were thrillers in some aspects. But yes compared to some of the very few other 'thriller' thrillers I've read this is a very fine example (much better than the few snippets I've seen of Lee Child and plot-wise better than Matthew Reilly - although he has good plots nonetheless and his writing style is more accessible). Still read this if you like clever plots, quality writing (well apart from some coarse language I considered inappropriate - with religious connotations) and are gritty. This may be your train to jump on.
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Reading Progress

December 23, 2011 – Shelved
January 10, 2012 – Started Reading
January 10, 2012 –
page 30
January 11, 2012 –
page 111
January 11, 2012 –
page 111
18.53% "Starting to wonder how they made the film out of this..."
January 12, 2012 –
page 223
January 16, 2012 –
page 335
January 17, 2012 – Finished Reading
February 8, 2012 – Shelved as: action-challenge
July 21, 2012 – Shelved as: popularity-contest
December 30, 2012 – Shelved as: books-with-films

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Fayley (new)

Fayley Hi Jonothan, I'm surprised you liked this, I wouldn't have picked it for you. I loved it (and the next 4 or so sequels) when i was 18-something (20 yrs ago) and recently tried it again but couldn't push past chapter 2 ... to me it felt like 80s pop that dated badly (think Bananarama or Poison) . Maybe I didn't give it enough of a go (or maybe my taste has changed).

Jonathan Terrington I read it earlier in the year (it's popped up again cause I did my usual editing). I liked the films immensely and went and read the books. It's not my usual genre (although friends seem to want me to try reading more of these books: they bought me a few to try in the genre). But I did love the intricate plotting and the intrigue of the book. Plus I like the fact that I could watch the movie and get something different from the book. I like each as separate entities.

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