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The Spy Who Loved Me; Reviews & Ratings

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Poll: How do you rate The Spy Who loved Me

How do you rate The Spy Who loved Me

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#1 The Admiral

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 03:57 PM

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This thread is intended for reviews and ratings of The Spy Who Loved Me by members of the The Blades Library Book Club here.

Please do not reply directly to reviews in this thread, rather start a new thread to ask questions or post comments about reviews.

#2 Byron


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Posted 08 August 2005 - 03:30 AM

My thoughts:

Much shorter than i expected, it was finished in no time.
Very different from the rest of the series. I guess Fleming wanted to try something different to the previous books ala Quantum of Solace.

Spoilers below:

Some bogeyman moments including Sluggsy hiding in the wardrobe and his face popping up in the window. This was stuff right out of my childhood nightmares.

Didn't mind it overall, although i found it a little hard to keep track of the action at the end and James Bond seemed a little different.

2.5 stars.

#3 TortillaFactory


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Posted 13 August 2005 - 07:59 PM

TSWLM is a fast-paced romp, and I can't shake the idea that Fleming wrote it mainly for himself. It's always interesting to look at one's characters from another point of view, even if it's somewhat unnerving for the reader. But the question - is it good? Is it worth reading?

One wants to scream "YES!" and "OF COURSE, IT'S FLEMING!", but one represses the urge. TSWLM is a different kind of Bond novel, and the main character seems, as others have said...different, somehow. He is so tender with Viv - the only harsh thing he ever says to her is "don't be silly!" This is not terribly characteristic of him, especially because damsels in distress usually bring out some aspect of his predatory nature. Did he somehow sense, as he did once with Tracy, that one more bit of roughness might crush her forever? One wonders...

The plot is but a flimsy skeleton, not nearly as complex as most that Fleming created. TSWLM is, perhaps, the closest he ever got to a character-driven story (not counting the shorts like Quantum of Solace and The Hildebrand Rarity, of course). His really wonderful style comes through in certain moments, such as when Viv contemplates how "one ought to be a nudist", but perhaps only under forty. The characters make me smile - and, after all, isn't that the point?

Four stars.

#4 Qwerty


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Posted 30 August 2005 - 03:56 AM

Oh this is underrated Fleming. The Spy Who Loved Me is without a doubt (and I believe I'm in the general minority, although I'm pleased to see there are many others now who feel the same) a terrific novel from Ian Fleming. The experimental nature of it is different yes, and it takes a little getting used to at first, but the book has a solid story that hooks the reader and doesn't let go until the very end. I think that this story because of that 'hook' and it's slightly shorter length makes it one of the Fleming's you'll fly through in one day.

Vivienne Michel is a terrific Fleming heroine, the first two-thirds of the story centering around her, and later Sluggsy and Horror, fly by, leading up to a outstanding entrance for James Bond.

Don't hesitate to try this novel from Fleming. It's a great read. 4.5 stars.

#5 Qwerty


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Posted 14 September 2005 - 04:02 AM

Bumping this up.

#6 Bon-san


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Posted 20 September 2005 - 05:32 PM

Just finished my third reading of this little gem. My appreciation has grown with each reading.

I thoroughly enjoy the background on Viv. I've heard criticism of these bits, with the chief complaint being that Fleming fails in his attempt to write from the POV of a lady. I'm not a lady, but I fully bought his attempt. Enjoyed it, too.

The Sluggsy/Horror show was played, as usual for Fleming, to the caricatured hilt. Fleming seems bound to the notion that all Americans, at least in the 50's and 60's, talked just like the characters in a Film Noir. Nonetheless, he manages real suspense in these passages. So much so, that I was quite relieved at Bond's arrival on the scene. (Man, if the films could only ever achieve this!)

I was very intrigued by the third-person view of Bond. It is sometimes described as a great departure from the man portrayed to us in Fleming's voice. I don't really see it that way. But it did add nuance to this iconic character, and for that I am grateful.

Overall, a very atmospheric tale, with a satisfying conflict and resolution, and a tough and tender Bond. I say Bravo to Fleming for trying something different and succeeding rather brilliantly.

Four stars.

#7 Quartermaster007


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Posted 07 October 2005 - 01:41 PM

Just finished reading The Spy Who Loved Me last night and I must say it exceeded my expectations.

It was quite a good read from a Bond Girl's perspective, even though Bond came in only the last 1/3 of the book.

Some highlights would have to be Bond's enterence, which, I myself felt to be very Bondish feeling, if Bondish is a word :)

Another one was the last couple of chapters, in which Bond was trying to find and kill bugsy. Fleming has a special way of building up suspence that just kept me wanting to read more.

Too bad he wouldn't give them the movie rights to the story, it would've made a great story line from Bond's point of view, and Sluggsy and Horror would've been two of my favourite villains.

All in all I give this book:


Edited by Quartermaster007, 07 October 2005 - 01:42 PM.

#8 mcsearg



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Posted 12 October 2005 - 04:57 AM

Even with a late entrance from Bond, this is a very worthy effort. It would have definately made a great movie if adapted exactly by the novel. Vivienne is a wonderfully faceted character..

"The scars of my terror had been healed, wiped away, by this stranger who slept with a gun under his pillow, this secret agent only known by a number...."

I give it 4 stars...

#9 007_fclmdb



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Posted 12 November 2005 - 05:51 PM

wow. that is the first word that comes up to my mind.
just finished reading it. it is the second read of it.
I remember being deeply disapointed with fleming on this one, and terribly bored with the first part.
and now i've changed my mind. it is wonderful!
viv is the best bond girl yet, in my opinion, and the third part of the book is indeed a worthy follow-up to the climax of thunderball.
the thing that bugs me is that i didn't feel that threatened by horror and sluggsy..after mr blofeld and largo they seamed little fish.
besides that it is a very good read.

4 stars!

#10 B007GLE



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Posted 08 December 2005 - 05:46 PM

Three stars.

I imagine if it is the early 60s and you've last read Thunderball this departure or interruption of what would later be called "the Blofeld Trilogy" might be annoying.

However as I can finish this and immediately pick up OHMSS I do not have that criticism.

I can picture people asking Fleming "Where do these girls Bon meets come from? Now there's a book in that." And then when Fleming does just that he gets raked over the coals.

Frankly its a very enjoyable book. During the second part "Them" I kept wanting Bond to arrive. Not becasue I was bored but because I wanted, perhaps needed, Viv to be rescued.

The last 2/3rd of the book would have made a great 1/2 of a movie:

Pre-title sequence Bond takes out a SPECTRE bad guy, leads him to SPECTRE's North American chief Mr. Sanguinetti who happens to own a hotel in upstate NY.

From there we go to the hotel and watch Viv deal with Sluggsy (played by Michael Chiklis) and Horror. THen (for those of you following along with Sid Field's Scrrenplay) Plot Point 1: Bond arrives.

THe next 20-30 minutes are Bond and Viv delaing with the thugs the 2nd half of the movie is Bond stopping Sanguinetti (Frank Langella) from some dispicable plan.)

Alas it was not to be.

#11 manfromjapan



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Posted 16 June 2006 - 02:08 PM

I finished the book today. I am reading the novels in order. Unfortunately, I found this particular novel rather dull, tedious and bland. Had I not been expecting the arrival of Bond in the final third of the book, I would have stopped reading. That said, Fleming manages to write from a woman's POV very well, apart from the shocking line 'All women love semi-rape'! The heroine is vividly described too. Seeing Bond as a romantic figure as well as a cold, tough loner is interesting. But the book is the worst book so far, and IMO a failed experiment. It is almost too realistic, too much set in the real world to be fun. I don't understand why people rate it so highly. I don't dislike the book for being different or controversial - I just think it doesn't work, and there is no way this book can even be mentioned in the same breath as say the fascinating, brilliantly laid out plot of From Russia with Love.

21/2 stars out of 5

Edited by manfromjapan, 16 June 2006 - 02:09 PM.

#12 00Twelve



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Posted 16 April 2008 - 08:55 PM

It's been so long since I'd last picked this up, I could barely remember any of it. The Spy Who Loved Me is, by far, my least frequently read Fleming novel. But as I realized upon picking it up again, its bad reputation is not as deserved as I'd previously thought.

While the first section ("Me") makes me smile at its novelty, it actually is rather compelling. Though it gets erotic enough to be *just* this side of a romance novel, the story of her love affairs gives her the kind of depth rarely afforded to Bond's heroines, and it's a refreshing change just this once.

Section two ("Them") is wrought with tension. While the gangster lingo is just as dated here as in DAF, Horror and Sluggsy are convincingly intimidating, even downright scary. Viv really is in a truly nightmarish situation, one that could really happen. Not some Jamaican obstacle course or Fort Knox robbery-- Real gangsters trying to burn down real property for real insurance money. Not much of a fantastical thing about it.

Section three ("Him") is, unsurprisingly, where it really hits its stride. The unique observation of Bond is quite interesting, and he really does come off a little less cold and cruel than usual. Maybe that's Fleming's intent, to show him as being a little more ideal through Viv's wishful eyes. Though the same old physical description remains, I see more Rog in this Bond's speech than anywhere else in the Fleming canon. That alone tells us Bond was coming off a little differently.

I had totally forgotten about the connecting anecdote about Bond's post-TB activities regarding SPECTRE. I really wish we could see the story about the mission to protect the Russian defector as a PTS one day, but I know that's sadly out of the question. When Bond finally begins to throw his weight around, it really gets good and tense. I love the subtle way he calls the thugs out on their rather obvious gang lingo. When the action begins in earnest, it's a real thrill ride. Everything from the fire to the shootout to the sinking car to Sluggsy's terrifying last try is riveting.

Another observation I'd like to make is how silly the book's detractors come off when going crazy about the "All women love semi-rape" line. It's as if there were no fitting context to explain the sentiment. Fleming clearly states that those women only feel that way when they know they're safe. And he does say "semi-rape". The definition of "semi" is obviously not the same to all readers. Some think, "Sure--they just like a passionate experience," while others balk and grow furiously indignant over the very inclusion of the "r-word". It's a 46 year old book that gets little attention now. I personally don't see the big deal. It's not as if Fleming encouraged men to become rapists. Anyway, it was a much more satisfying read this time, and I'm sure I'll pick it up again in due time.

#13 manfromjapan



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Posted 10 October 2008 - 04:20 PM

Just finished Spy for the third time, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fleming's descriptive ability is top notch, and his empathy for the wonderful Vivienne is astonishing. I don't really understand why but what was previously my by far least favourite Bond novel has now become one of my favourites. A very easy read, and an opportunity to see Bond in a different light, and the people he encounters in more depth. A wonderful experiment that doesn't seem so experimental upon further reading.

#14 Cruiserweight



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Posted 29 October 2008 - 11:26 PM

4 stars.
For along time this was my favorite Fleming book.(Now OP & TLD)

The character of Vivienne is a good one & her story is such a good read that i didn't miss Bond in the first 2 acts fo the book.

It's also such a great read that it's over before you know it.Which is a shame cause i wish it could have lasted longer.