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Never Send Flowers; Reviews & Ratings

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Poll: How do you rate 'Never Send Flowers'? (12 member(s) have cast votes)

How do you rate 'Never Send Flowers'?

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#1 Qwerty


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Posted 16 June 2008 - 04:12 AM

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This thread is intended for reviews and ratings of Never Send Flowers by members of the The Blades Library Book Club here. Be sure to add your review if you do vote in the poll!

The Blades Library Book Club will be reading Never Send Flowers from: 15 June 2008 - 15 August 2008

#2 coco1997


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Posted 16 June 2008 - 04:26 AM

I finished reading this book just a week ago so it's still fresh in my head. I haven't read many Gardners, and I don't intend to read any more (aside from "Icebreaker," "For Special Services" and "Nobody Lives Forever," which are high on my 'to-read' list). You can really tell Gardner was long bored with 007 by the time he threw this book together. When I read Bond novels, I like reading original ideas. I don't like reading the same tired story over and over again, which is why I'm not looking forward to "Devil May Care" that much. This tale has some unique ideas, including the plot itself, which has Bond tracking a serial killer, a huge interactive museum filled with historical theaters, and a showdown at EuroDisney. But all of it just isn't very...compelling. There's a load of references to Bond and Flicka being "freaked out" or scared but I as the reader never really felt this way, which I deem as a failure. Perhaps I'm doing myself good by reading the later Gardner books now (currently about halfway through "Seafire") and saving the earlier, stronger ones for later; it'll probably make me appreciate them much more.


Edited by coco1997, 16 June 2008 - 06:39 AM.

#3 Jim


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Posted 16 June 2008 - 06:27 AM

Another one that starts promisingly - Bond hitting the early 1990s serial killer vibe - but loses its way as all later Gardners do and has an overpowering whiff of "will this do?" about the whole enterprise. Some nice ideas - some very visual ideas with the weird roses and the theatre museum - but in the whole Silence of the Lambs / Phantom of the Opera / Dead Ringers silliness, everything gets a bit...lost.

The ending at EuroDisney is most odd - and, obviously, events since make it a bit unsettling - and is reheated from Scorpius in any event. The obsession with having the plot turn in such a way that Bond is simply a bodyguard rescuing real-life persons, be they politicians or Royals, is also an emblem of later Gardner.

And what the hell he sees in this Flicka woman is unclear.

#4 Sbott


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Posted 11 July 2008 - 02:37 AM

Finished this a while back but haven't had time to comment.

Unlike Jim (thankfully isn't everyone) I found the first part of the book quite dull and was struggling to get into it. However, following the interrogation scene in which M steals the show, with his "best interrogators voice" the story gets moving, sadly this is almost 2/3 of the way through the book.
Overall I agree with Jim's comments it was a mixture of styles mixing the serial killer with theatrics, there were so many theatrical references (although given the background of the main characters not surprising) that it was a bit annoying . The Museum of Theatre at Schloss Drache was over the top and reminded me of similar scenes from TMWTGG.
I'm still trying to get over Bond's favorable comments/memories of Disneyland - "the rides are a knockout and it does become wonderful" and "I tend to get a bit angry when people knock your outfit (Disneyland)" Not sure they really sound like Bond
Overall it was OK, nothing special and certainly a bit routine. The characters were well fleshed out but the plot, especially early on, lacked tension and drive, clearly signs of an author going through the motions.

#5 ACE



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Posted 11 July 2008 - 08:25 AM

Gardner, as usual, starts with an intriguing new idea: Bond hunting a psychopathic serial killer - 007 meets Hannibal Leckter. The setting is vintage Gardner Bond - a Swiss alpine start, a German Schloss (named Drache - Drax's original German name) and a finale in EuroDisney (much ridiculed but not as silly as it sounds).

Bond's female squeeze, Flicka von GrĂ¼sse, a Swiss agent, becomes his amorata in the next novel as well. This new twist - a steady girlfriend - works although she is a typical Gardner Euro-Sloane.

The antagonist, Dragonpol aka The Man With The Glass Head is an actor of high esteem and makes for an intriguing villain. His castle contains a theatrical museum, which is a fun setting for an action sequence. John Gardner was a theatre critic in Stratford-upon-Avon and very knowledgable about the world of the boards. This background in the book seems to be written with enthusiasm and insight and works better for it. (Gardner's best novel, for me, is his superb fictional account of a theatrical festival called "Every Night's A Bullfight").

However, as usual by this stage of Gardner Bond, the story and characters to take improbable yet familiar turns. The big plot reveal left me feeling "So what?" There is no real threat to it and, worse, no logic.

The previous Gardner Bond, Death Is Forever, was an action-packed and enthralling re-run of No Deals Mr Bond. Never Send Flowers is a Scorpius-esque procedural Bond adventure. Always worth reading, with tons of original ideas, NSF is a mixed bag.

#6 Qwerty


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Posted 09 August 2008 - 11:28 PM

Keep the reviews coming in! :(

#7 Harry Fawkes

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 08:10 PM

Quite a strange one Never Send Flowers :( .

I hate saying this but I just couldn't get it.

I think it is my least favorite Bond novel. I remember thinking how stale it was when I first read it, compared to its predecessors of course.

I didn't think John Gardner had put his heart into it (Who am I to criticize the great John Gardner?!!).

Maybe I felt that way because the year it came out I was going through a bad patch in life.

Anyway, I wouldn't rubbish it of course and it stands up there with the rest of them but I think out of all the Gardner novels NSF is the least I like.

I don't know if all that counted as a review but I thought I just might share my thoughts :)

#8 quantumofsolace


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Posted 03 October 2008 - 01:38 AM

By this time I don't think Gardner cared much about Bond. Actually, I don't think he ever cared that much but his earlier novels showed a great effort and some respect for the character. Here, his Bond is so far removed from Flemings that there's not much more than his name that remains. And Bond at EuroDisney reminds me of Beverly Hils Cop 3. Not a good thing!
I still enjoyed reading it but nowhere near as much as most of his earlier books. It is one of the weakest continuation novels. Like Gardner said himself , he should have left his position as Bond author earlier than he did.

Edited by quantumofsolace, 03 October 2008 - 01:38 AM.