Live & Let Die: Reviews and Ratings
Posted 22 August 2006 - 01:51 PM
I also noticed there are a few really amazing passages in this book that make you think.. like in a literature way . I'm not really sure what the policy is on quoting from the novels (which I'm sure is a copywrite infringement) so I won't give the passage, but the scene where Bond is on the plane to Jamaica and the turbulence causes him to think about his own mortality, I thought was not only immaculately written, but also very thought-provoking.
Anyway, I could talk about this novel all day, I really really love it
Posted 22 August 2006 - 02:01 PM
Posted 08 September 2006 - 04:47 AM
In this one we have twice the size of pages but almost non stop action and a excelent character development to go along with it. Altought Solitaire is not a good Bond girl as Vesper Lynd, she adds sexuality to the plot. I would like to see her "powers" developed a little more and explained on how they worked exactly.
Mr Big is a kick a'ss vilain. I just loved his mind, coolness and the fact that he was a giant wierdo working to SMERSH which was very interesting.
The books has an excelent flow and i
Posted 18 September 2006 - 01:34 AM
Posted 18 September 2006 - 09:18 PM
Not so with Live and Let Die. Here we find the Bond formula in full swing (or, perhaps, full sweep). Most noticeably, Mr. Big is an engaging and colorful villain, easily superior to both Le Chiffre of the previous book and Drax of the next. The grey, football-shaped head, the precise diction: these are the little details that together create a truly memorable character.
Then there is the globetrotting. Far from being restricted to France as he was in Casino Royale, or to England as he will be in Moonraker, Bond is constantly on the move here, passing swiftly from Harlem to St. Petersburg to Mr. Big’s hideout in Jamaica. James Bond, in the popular imagination, is a jet-setter, an international playboy, and the roots of that conception can be found in Live and Let Die.
Voodoo and black American culture provide context for the story, with both interesting and off-putting results. Interesting in that Fleming masterfully injects a tinge of exoticism into a book that he knew would be read primarily by white Europeans. Off-putting in that the book puts forward exceedingly simplistic accounts of voodoo and black culture, particularly the laughable claim that blacks in the 1950s were “just beginning” to throw up geniuses in various fields.
But one doesn’t read for Fleming for subtle cultural and racial analysis; one reads him for entertainment, and in that respect Live and Let Die certainly delivers.
Some things, of course, work better than others. Solitaire is alluring, but she is desperate to throw herself into Bond’s arms from page one, and so, when she finally does at the end of the book, there isn’t a great deal of satisfaction for the reader, and certainly not as much as when Bond and Vesper came together in Casino Royale.
Felix Leiter, however, is much more interesting here, much more alive. One really gets the sense that, despite their cultural differences, Bond and Felix are two very similar men who recognize in each other a kindred spirit. Fleming creates a very believable friendship, and there is much poignancy in Bond’s reaction to the Robber’s attack on Felix.
The rest of the cast—Strangways, Quarrel, Mr. Big’s goons—acquit themselves ably, and the book ends in a truly suspenseful finale. Of the early books, Live and Let Die is one of the very best.
Edited by Captain Grimes, 18 September 2006 - 10:32 PM.
Posted 29 September 2006 - 07:59 AM
LALD is also where Bond & Felix' relationship really fuses into the friendship they would carry on through the canon. Seeing the torture they went through together, and Bond's utter horror at Felix' encounter at Ourobouros, really invites the idea that Bond really does have a good friend that he doesn't want to lose. It makes him more human. It's also what makes me a big Felix fan.
5/5 stars. Do not miss.
Posted 30 April 2007 - 07:03 PM
Edited by forever bond, 30 April 2007 - 07:12 PM.
Posted 19 May 2007 - 02:28 PM
Posted 19 May 2007 - 03:28 PM
Posted 21 May 2007 - 10:35 PM
Terrific novel. Highly readable. I remember picking it up years ago when I was in high school, and still just getting into the Fleming craze that has now consumed in head to toe. Anyway, I couldn't put the book down when I read it. Some of Fleming's best descriptive travel sequences permeate the text, and the characters are some of the greatest in the canon. The Leiter and Bond friendship really blossoms in this book, and we understand how Bond is easily driven forward in his quest against Mr. Big after what is done to Leiter. An exciting, fast-paced book which has seen a bit of justice done to it over the course of three separate films.
It's amazing how many seem to disregard the fact that many of the black characters in this movie talk as if they were slaves on a Mississippi cotton plantation, circa 1853.
Posted 22 May 2007 - 03:51 AM
Posted 05 June 2007 - 05:04 PM
1. A lot of the racial dialogue/attitudes make me cringe;
2. The scene where Bond has his little finger broken. Fleming making a point lost in most of the movies that being Bond is not always fun.
3. "He disagreed with something that ate him"
I recently re-read the novel and was also struck by the imagery of the voodoo drums being pounded and then the bodies of the first men Strangways sent returned eaten by sharks.
I was always disappointed in the movie version, but I can't imagine how they could possibly make a faithful version now without being picketed. But still a fantastic read.
Posted 09 July 2007 - 08:55 PM
Posted 14 December 2007 - 12:24 AM
Posted 01 May 2008 - 08:45 AM
Posted 31 January 2009 - 06:59 PM
I have to say, after reading the book, I was impressed with it. I didn't really see anything in the book that was racist. The fact that the bad guys were, in fact, African-Americans made the plot more interesting to read. A believable, and interesting plot with the <SPOILER ALERT> smuggling of gold coins in poison fish tanks.
Overall, I really enjoyed LALD. 4 out of 5 stars.
Posted 01 February 2009 - 01:49 PM
Posted 17 May 2009 - 06:20 AM
Edited by Tybre, 17 May 2009 - 06:22 AM.
Posted 30 May 2010 - 11:45 PM
Following the disappointment of reading the unfulfilling Casino Royale, this is much much better. Having seen Fleming give his misogyny free reign in the opening book of the series, it was with some trepidation that I read this tale of a big black underworld crime-lord and the attitudes of the time do shine through again, though to nowhere near the same extent. Alongside the tacit assumption of honky superiority is the expressed feeling that, as M says, "the negro races are just beginning to throw up geniuses in all the professions- scientists, doctors, writers. It's about time they turned out a great criminal". Thank Heaven that evolution is finally dealing the black races a fair hand. I'm being churlish of course, but it is a theme that Fleming was quite keen on as the book's black arch-villain repeats the sentiment at the opposite end of the novel: "In the history of negro emancipation... there have already appeared great athletes, great musicians, great doctors and scientists... It is unfortunate for you Mister Bond, and for this girl, that you have encountered the first of the great negro criminals". Nice to see the British spymaster and the Soviet-backed American ganglord singing from the same hymn sheet there. In truth, though, (and digressing from the novel itself for just a little longer to pursue this theme) it would have been things like this book (published in 1954) where black men are shown to be clever and cunning and successful that would have played a small but significant part in mending the attitudes of the time. I'm not sure if that's anything more than a happy by-product though.
Enough cod-sociology and on with the action.
The only thing to commend the movie version of Live and Let Die above the novel is the theme song. The novel is more gritty, more ambitious, more realistic, more gripping, better executed and more authentic by far. It benefits from Fleming's increasing realisation of his own strength as a thriller writer and relative weakness as a teller of romantic tales- there is a lull when he has a bash at eulogising about his beloved Jamaican islands and one particularly shocking piece of prose will live long in the memory for all the wrong reasons ("The whole scene was macabre and livid, as if El Greco had done a painting by moonlight of an exhumed graveyard in a burning town")- but overall this a taut, pacy thriller.
Being a Bond novel, the premise is, of course, fantastical. A Soviet-trained American crime boss controls the whole of black America by masquerading as the zombie of a voodoo demon and is funding his commie-infiltration operations using a haul of buried pirate's treasure from the seventeenth century. But the execution of the plot is efficient and realistic. Bond blunders in thoughtlessly, makes mistakes, puts his friend Leiter and the crimelord's sweet and innocent concubine in mortal danger but by being tough and resolute and risking everything for the greater good saves the day and gets the girl. It's also interesting to note that the Bond of the novels relies heavily on the amphetimine benzedrine when he is called into action and also foregoes cigarettes and alcohol as he trains himself for the assault on the centre of the crimelord's operations. I never knew he was human! Either way he finds it impossible to make love with a broken little finger and I like to think I have one up on him there.
Anyway, the book moves at pace from London to Harlem to Florida and finally to the Caribbean with Bond leaving behind a trail of bodies (five, not counting the final scene) that cause a stink with the US authorities. He gets involved with Solitaire (an unconvincing distraction when he keeps his feelings "in a compartment which had no communicating door with his professional life" and then sees her recaptured by Mr Big who then keeps her alive to no great purpose other than to join Bond in what Dr Evil once called "an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death"- it's not quite that bad, to be honest. Bond eats well, very well and regularly. Fleming must have been on a diet when he wrote this because his discussion of Bond's meals probably takes more space in the novel than dialogue! Leiter suffers an agonising near-death experience (replicated in the very underrated movie Licence To Kill) leaving him with half an arm and one and a half legs missing.
It's an entertaining read. More intense than Casino Royale was, as if Fleming has really got the hang of it now. Moonraker next, I suspect that this too will be different from the movie. I bloody hope so anyway!