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Casino Royale: Reviews and Ratings

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Casino Royale: Reviews and Ratings

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#1 Mister Asterix

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 03:52 AM

This thread is intended for reviews and ratings of Casino Royale 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 Zographos



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Posted 15 March 2003 - 10:56 PM

Well, looks like I'm the first. :) Here's one of the reviews I wrote for MI6.

"I've got the corpses of a Japanese cipher expert in New York and a Norwegian double agent in Stockholm to thank for being a Double O. Probably quite decent people. They just got caught up in the gale of the world

#3 Tehuti 004

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 10:50 AM

'The Original' - 5/5 - 5th December, 2002


Well, this is the first Ian Fleming book, and obviously the first book ever in which there was James Bond.

Now, most of the Bond movies and novels all follow the combination of, girls, gadgets, cars, villains with an obscene plot. But funnily, this novel doesnt have half of these. There are no gadgets, only the sidearm, there is one female without the whole story who does anything, there is a car chase, which is quite long, and there is the villain, Le Chiffre, with a plot to get aload of money.

Well, just from reading the title of the books, you can tell that is revolves around gambling. Which it does. There is an excellently described showdown with Bond and Le Chiffre in the Casino, and it does, I admit, keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Now, James Bond = Aston Martin? Well, in this case, no. But James still drives a very British car, a Bentley, now I won't bore anyone or attempt to spoil the book. So I wont say anymore.

The "Bond girl" is Vesper. She is described very well when she enters the book. She has a mystic about her, which is revealed at the end. She is very much a big part in the book from the very beggining.

All in hand, this was the book to set the standard by, and well, it certainly set the standard. A great read, and obviously a classic.

#4 superracer0022



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Posted 15 April 2003 - 01:30 AM


What a great start for a book series that began a phenomenon.

Not what I expected from watching the Barry Nelson TV-Movie version (THANK GOD). I'm not saying that the movie was bad it is just there were some things I didn't like about it.

After reading the book I was very relieved that it was not very similar to that version (and as I expected it is not similar to the David Niven version either). Bond is shown much more normal in the book, from him getting tortured to him actually loosing at baccarat. Fleming did an amazing job with all of the distict characters, and one thing that I found interesting was that by just reading this book I was able to play a game of baccarat, for it does such a good job of explaining the game to the reader.

There were several things in the book that reminded me of different movies (the traps in his room to detect intruders -> Dr. No, the torture, however not really similar, reminded me of Die Another Day in showing a more human side of 007). Bond is also shown much more darker in how he is not very proud of being a Double-0 for it means he has killed somebody in cold blood. The end of the book was an extreme suprise to me.

I was very pleased with this book, and there were times when I would stay up past 12 reading it. It shows a completely different side of the James Bond world, and gives an idea of how he was originally envisioned.

The book is a definite classic, and exceeds all exspectations of a Bond Movie Fan.

#5 Dr Noah

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 09:53 AM

It's a great book, very readable, though lacking the "larger than life" feel of the other Fleming books.

It also has a very odd structure. It's basiclly in three parts, part one is both the build up to, and the baccarat game itself, part two is the kidnapping of Vesper and Bond's torture, while part three is Bond's love affair. The structure more or less works (I'd have liked Bond to express his disaffection with his job at the begining of the book, making it a full sub-plot rather than being tacked on towards the end.)

I'm actually suprised at how much of the book is in the movie! IE most of the plot points, characters and car chases make it over to the movie.

Anyway, I give it 4 out of 5.

#6 flares



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Posted 28 April 2003 - 07:54 AM

Found "the sweet tang of rape" very strange to read. Obviously it comes from an entirely different era, and I think I understand what Fleming meant. I don't think anyone would be writing such things today.

#7 rafterman


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Posted 28 April 2003 - 02:38 PM

4/5 My short review

I don't normally like to reread my novels. I much prefer to rewatch films. I've rewatched the Bond films countless times. I know them, but I've only read my Flemings once. Having just read Casino Royale for the second time, I'm amazed by how good it really is. Better than I remembered. It's the first and easily one of the best in the series. Not all of the elements are here yet, though. CR is a small story. About a secret agent, a big guy and a card game. There's little of the sweep, no globe hopping, no gadgets for the film fans and just one girl, but what is here is the atmosphere. The character of James Bond is presented to us in minimal, but necessary details. That is the wonder of Fleming, he creates a world, one with the element of the bizarre, one highly detailed. Here we have Bond give instructions on the perfect drink, check his room for intruders by examining hairs stretched across door frames. Here is a Bond who curses the inclusion of a woman in his mission. A man who claims it's not hard to attain a double oh, as long as you are willing to kill for it. Fleming sets us down into the world of smoke and cards, fast cars, cruel men and women.
It's all about the detail. Everything is described in just right amount of words and it feels as if this just flowed out of Ian's typewriter without a bit of reworking.
It's a cruel world and James Bond is a cruel man, bored by the soft life, driven by the need for action. A man who puts his all into everything he does. With this first novel Fleming brought the character to life and it's just a shame the novel has not been truly brought to the screen. Casino Royale is epitome of James Bond.

#8 Double-Oh Agent

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 07:45 AM


"The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning." With these words, Ian Fleming began his career as a novelist and was on his way to creating arguably the greatest fictional character of the 20th century.

While British secret agent James Bond 007 is more famous for appearing in films on the silver screen, he nevertheless got his start and honed his character on the printed page. That start occurred with Fleming's breakthrough debut novel, Casino Royale.

In the first chapter Fleming sets the groundwork for what will be a battleground of green felt, playing cards, and casino chips. It is here that the reader gets the first inkling that this book will be different than any he has read before. That is punctuated by the final paragraph of the chapter.

"His last action was to slip his right hand under the pillow until it rested under the butt of the .38 Colt Police Positive with the sawn barrel. Then he slept, and with the warmth and humor of his eyes extinguished, his features relapsed into a taciturn mask, ironical, brutal, and cold." And that is describing the hero of the piece.

From there, Fleming goes back in time to Bond getting his assignment. Many of the recurring characters are there: the wonderful Moneypenny, the stern boss "M", the loyal aide Bill Tanner. They all add a nice office background for Bond, the man with a license to kill. Later we meet up with two more people who would go on to be great friends of Bond--Rene Mathis, a Frenchman, and Felix Leiter, an American, and after reading their banter back and forth it's easy to see the bond (no pun intended) forming in their respective relationships.

The rest of the cast of characters are an eclectic bunch indeed. They include the lovely but troubled Vesper Lynd, the disgusting Le Chiffre, the drug-addicted Basil, the slimy Corsican, and the mysterious Adolph Gettler. All the characters are well written--particularly the main players: Bond, Vesper, Le Chiffre, Leiter, and Mathis.

As for Bond, he is tough, moody, opinionated, and chauvanistic. He takes his job seriously and has little time for women. At first glance, he doesn't sound like the type of hero one would root for. But as the book goes on and the reader learns more about him, one can see that there is more to Bond than meets the eye. You begin to like him and care about him and want him to succeed. (Of course it doesn't hurt that the people he's going up against are much worse than he is).

The plot is simple and straight-forward and without the far-reaching world-endangering scenarios of some of the later novels and the films. Le Chiffre's head is on the proverbial chopping block as his employer, SMERSH, has discovered that he has embezzled funds to supplement his ownership of several French brothels. Now, with time running out, he has one last chance to recoup the lost money and save himself and he plans on doing that at the gaming tables of Casino Royale. That brings in Bond who is sent by Her Majesty's government to ensure that Le Chiffre does not succeed in his quest and thereby remains out of SMERSH's good graces.

The major part of the book deals with the two men's one-on-one battle at the baccarat table. The scenes are well written and paced. Tension fills the air with every page. Nowhere is that more prevalent than when Bond bancos Le Chiffre and immediately feels the hard barrel of a weapon in the small of his back courtesy of The Corsican. How 007 gets out of his predicatment when all around him are oblivious to his situation is funny and well done.

Bond eventually manages to come out on top but his luck proves to be fleeting as Vesper is kidnapped and then Bond is captured by a desperate Le Chiffre. That leads to perhaps the best portion of the book whereupon Bond is tortured at the hands of the villain with an ordinary house-cleaning instrument. After reading the sequence one will never be able to look at a carpet beater the same way again.

At the end of the torture scene, just as Bond is on his last bits of strength, Fleming rescues 007 in an ingenious and ironic way. It's one that the reader never sees coming and yet he doesn't feel cheated.

The final third of the novel deals with Bond's recuperation and love affair with Vesper. It is touching and curious at the same time as Vesper seems to be two different people during this section. It isn't until the final pages that we finally learn the whole truth and everything falls into place--Bond's world crashing down with it. It is at the end of this book that we get the complete Bond, the Bond that will continue on throughout the rest of the series. That point is emphasized with the final line in the book which is just as inspired and perfect as the opening line, but one that I won't quote here.

In Casino Royale, Fleming set out to write the spy story to end all spy stories. That may not have happened as he went on to write 13 more novels, but he nevertheless wrote a great one--one that prove to be a solid introduction to the world's most famous secret agent.

Rating: 006 out of 007

Edited by Double-Oh Agent, 12 November 2005 - 07:47 AM.

#9 Gri007


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Posted 14 December 2005 - 07:54 PM

This is an excellent book to start, what is a litriture phenomenon.

I have just finished reading Casino Raoyale, the second time round, and just forgot at how quick the story takes place and evolves.

To me it is a story that made me keep turning the pages.

You get to know a little bit about Bond's past with the Secret Service. It is a very realistic book and the toruture seqeunce is fantastic.

Well done Fleming for introducing us all to the best spy in the world.

#10 MarcAngeDraco



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Posted 14 December 2005 - 11:56 PM

I've lost track of how many times I've read CR, but each time I'm just not able to put it down. Clearly my favorite Bond book!

#11 The Richmond Spy

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 04:04 AM

I've lost track of how many times I've read CR, but each time I'm just not able to put it down. Clearly my favorite Bond book!

I actually read it for the first time today. My goal was to read several chapters a day and get it done in a a few days, but I was hooked and had to finish it!

What can I say? It was great. I loved the vivid descriptions of the scenery and situations (especially when Bond had the gun to his back). I could see the setting at the end of the book in my head very clearly. The ending was very surprising, yet painful. I hope the film lives up to this!

(I pictured Daniel Craig, Jeffrey Wright, and Eva Green in my head while reading!)

#12 Double-0-Seven


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Posted 08 August 2006 - 04:13 PM

I posted this review in another thread:

Yesterday while at my local Chapters book store I decided to have a look for some Bond books. Of Ian Fleming's novels they only had Casino Royale and From Russia With Love in stock. I was originally going to wait and buy the movie tie-in edition of Casino Royale and read it while counting down the final few weeks until the films release, but it was only eleven dollars so I decided I might as well pick it up. I would have also picked up From Russia With Love, except it was twenty dollars and I thought that was a little expensive for a paperback, but I'll probably pick it up next time I'm there.

Anyway, I started reading Casino Royale as soon as I got home, and I couldn't put it down. I read the first half of the book before deciding to take a break from reading, and then finished the other half tonight. Usually I never finish books this fast, as I usually only read a few chapters of a book a day, but this book was just too good to stop after only a few chapters.

I found the whole book enjoyable, and each page kept making me want to read more and more. The whole card scene was fantastic. The torture scene was very brutal and well written, and I had heard about how much Vesper meant to Bond, but never realized how much she really meant to him until actually reading it for myself.

Overall, I think this is definately my new favorite Bond book. I'm also a lot more excited for the film now than I already was, and can't wait to see how close the second half of the film is to the book.

I'll definately be reading it again before the movie comes out. :)

The book deserves five out of five stars in my opinion. :P

#13 Qwerty


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Posted 16 September 2006 - 10:27 PM

Bumping this up for those who are currently reading the book now. :)

#14 Double-O Eleven

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 08:41 PM

Hmmm... I wonder why people might be reading this one all of a sudden? :)

This most recent re-reading was, of course, in preparation for the upcoming movie, but I think I've re-read this book right before every Bond film came out as a way of grounding myself in a time period before James Bond was a household name and before Fleming had even established him as a continuing character. Casino Royale was not the first Bond novel I read. I started off with Goldfinger, Doctor No, Live and Let Die, and The Man with the Golden Gun before I located a copy of Fleming's premiere novel in a bookstore. The year was 1986, and Fleming's books were thankfully then in print in the U.S., right before the start of a mysterious dark age. Although I was already a Bond fan based on reading those four books (I even liked The Man with the Golden Gun at that time, which I now consider Fleming's least), my experience with Bond's first literary outing sold me forever on Ian Fleming as one of the greatest popular writers in the English language.

Of all the Fleming Bond novels, Casino Royale is the one I've re-read the most often. This isn't because it's my personal favorite. That honor belongs to On Her Majesty's Secret Service. It's because 1) it's short and easy to leap into and polish off in two days or less, and 2) it is Genesis and a reminder of where it all started, and what it was like "in the beginning" when there were no expectations and no points for comparison.

And what a strange beginning it is! There isn't any novel in the Fleming canon like it. Only You Only Live Twice seems close in moody and style. Compare, say, the style of the very next book, Live and Let Die: fast-paced adventure and action moving quickly from location to location. Now look at the static and somber nature of Casino Royale. Although short and brisk, it is a heavy book where the atmosphere speaks much more than the story. From the famous first paragraph until the famous end line, the prose of Casino Royale is one of heavy sensation: taste, smell, sight. You can almost choke on it.

But this is also a stark novel. Fleming embellishes his writing with sophisticated and intoxicating prose, but the book nonetheless feels as if it is stripped bare. Emotions are subdued, almost nullified. Business is carried out with lethal seriousness. The meals are sumptuous, the decor glistens, but the game played here is not for shilly-shallying about or plot padding. The story cuts right to the bond and exposes the nerves. The characterization is minimalist in design, especially that of Bond. This is primarily where Fleming's first novel stands so far away from the others, where Bond turns into a more vivid and fascinating character. The supporting cast is also stonier than in later novels, with the exception of Felix Leiter, who add a nice touch of levity to an otherwise stone-faced serious story.

And who is this man, James Bond, Agent 007, licensed to kill? Looking at Casino Royale isolated from everything else that followed it, and trying to imagine reading the book in 1953, I find that a tricky question to answer. He's cold and brutally efficient. He has inner feelings, warming up eventually to Vesper, but believes that survival depends on shutting them out... turning back into a ruthless machine. He is Her Majesty's hired killer. And his sexism is a touch shocking, although it leads to the most memorable closing line of the books as Bond once again becomes the cold, professional device in the service of the government. There are some intriguing back story details revealed about Bond, such as the two assignments which got him is Double-O designation. I especially found the killing of the Japanese cipher clerk in the RCA building fascinating; Fleming could have crafted a short story all on its own about this incident. In fact, the short story "The Living Daylights" seems to have aspects of it. Bond comes most to life not in his scenes with Vesper, but in his talk with Rene Mathis in the hospital. Here is where I can most clearly see the characterizations to come in Fleming's later work as Bond ruminates on his job... only to have Mathis sum up Bond's philosophy for him: the punishment of the wicked. Fleming had the unusual ability as an espionage writer to include both the moral confusions of the spy's world with the good vs. evil excitement of the heroic thriller.

Considering the importance placed on the villains in the subsequent books and films, the featured villain of Casino Royale is a non-entity. Le Chiffre is, like his name, nothing more than a number, a cipher. He exists as a silent opponent across the green felt of a baccarat table, a pair of stubby pink hands that deal cards, and a mind that deals death if anything gets in its way. Even with the now-obligatory speech scene, the only scene Le Chiffre gets to dominate, the character appears essentially secondary to the story, a villain plot device along with the shadowy assassins of SMERSH. The real adversary of the story is luck itself, as personified in the baccarat game, one of Fleming's signature sequences. Although he would pen more Bond vs. Villain confrontations using a game (bridge, golf, canasta), this is the quintessential one and the best handled. I am amazed every time I read it of Fleming's deft handling of the building of tension as the stakes raise higher and higher, and the way he can encapsulate so much power into the speaking of simple words like "banco" and "suivi." Even to somewhere unaware of the baccarat rule (good thing Bond gives a brief primer to Vesper beforehand), it's easy to follow what is going on and what is at stake.

The torture scene is another Fleming trope that he would never quite duplicate with the same savagery--perhaps something for which we should be thankful! The masochism of this scene is nearly unbearable, and Fleming achieves it without using explict words for what is happening. Quite a feat.

Structurally, Casino Royale is a bizarre book. The finale takes places two-thirds of the way in. The villain is dead, his scheme stopped. What is there left to do? the reader might wonder. I certainly asked that when I first read it. And this lengthy coda with Bond and Vesper's romance and it tragic close does seem to go on a bit longer than it should. But the shock of the finale and Bond's sudden cruelty to Vesper's memory (does he believe it, or is he protecting himself?) tends to erase gripes about the sudden shift in pacing. It does leave the book on an unforgettable note. It isn't "the spy story to end all spy stories" as Fleming thought (hell, it was just the beginning!), but it is one of the most moody and strange one ever written. Wherever one might stand on its quality regarding the other books in the series, this is a novel that leaves a startling impression.

Edited by Double-O Eleven, 18 September 2006 - 08:50 PM.

#15 sharpshooter



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Posted 17 April 2007 - 07:53 AM

In Sydney for a holiday some seven years back ago, I visited a bookstore. Havent had read the Fleming books, I searched and found the Coronet series editions, I purchased Casino Royale - mostly on the great cover artwork. I recall why Casino Royale is my favourite James Bond novel. Even if novel surpassed it, Casino Royale - Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel typed in 1953, ignited it all.

In the rather slender read, we have Agent 007 as a fallible human being who learns from his experiences, notably the infamous carpet beating. Bond is a believable human being the reader relates to, who happens to be a secret agent. Bond does not always win his battles at first. To quote Bond #4 Timothy Dalton, who is regarded as Fleming's Bond, "You can't relate to a superhero, to a superman, but you can identify with a real man who in times of crisis draws forth some extraordinary quality from within himself and triumphs but only after a struggle. Real courage is knowing what faces you and knowing how to face it."

The basis for Bond's character is all made here. It is a dark and complex book. After all he endures, he is ready to get up and go for it again. His mood when it comes to women, which he claims are for recreation, his taste for heavy living comprising of alcohol and heavy smoking, the cars, the cards, and the internal thoughts of his distaste for killing, yet it is his job. The novel is a step back into a bygone era, yet it remains the timeless definitve take on agent.

The book is a espionage thriller. Bond is the underdog. He encounters Le Chiffre, essentially his maker - the ultimate villain. He has Bond tortured, yet Bond does not kill him. He makes Bond consider resignation, early on in his career. Bond in deep thought considers who is good and evil, concluding Le Chiffre served a devine purpose in his motivation to hunt down people like him. Bond must get serious in this spy game.

The cold hearted blunt government's motives for this are re-enforced when he is betrayed by Vesper Lynd. The following events that follow the card game can be labelled boring and uneventful by some. It is essential to create Bond's sense of
suspicion and distrust of people.

Fleming's descriptive, journalistic style serves him well. He enjoyed the finer things in life, therefore he creates quality and craftsmanship so Bond is equipped with the best in the field. It creates a gloss on the story. It also creates the feeling of a travelling loner, with enough spare time to know what he wants. This continued for the duration of his books, but had to begin somewhere. The first appearance of such a style considered snobbery by some.

The novel is the blueprint of the series and the man himself.

Edited by sharpshooter, 17 April 2007 - 07:57 AM.

#16 chris-o



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Posted 26 April 2007 - 04:23 PM

Well, I read the english version and the german version. I have to say that the english original is quite better. The locations, the feelings and the characters are stronger and I could imagine how everything happend. The german version isn't good translated.

The english version is my favourite, it's clearly the best book in my collection.

#17 David007



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Posted 14 December 2007 - 12:22 AM

i read the book a year ago, pretty nice book but not as much stuff going on as the others. the ending was very moving and emotional i gave it a 4 out of 5

#18 MHazard



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Posted 20 December 2007 - 04:10 AM

One of my favorites of the series from the beginning "the smell of a casino...is nauseating" to the end "yes, I said was, the bitch is dead". Also essential reading to fully understand OHMSS and how the character has grown in the interim. Personally, I don't think Fleming writes a Bond novel as good until he hits From Russia With Love.

#19 Byron


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Posted 20 December 2007 - 11:00 AM

One of my favorites of the series from the beginning "the smell of a casino...is nauseating" to the end "yes, I said was, the bitch is dead". Also essential reading to fully understand OHMSS and how the character has grown in the interim. Personally, I don't think Fleming writes a Bond novel as good until he hits From Russia With Love.

I like CR but i don't rate it as high as some of the other books. At last reading LALD stood out as my fave with FRWL close behind.

I think its the globe trotting / travelogue aspect of these last 2 that make them so enjoyable.

#20 Nicolas Suszczyk

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 07:58 PM

There's about 40 Bond novels written by Ian Fleming and other autors, but you can't beat the first James Bond novel.

Casino Royale introduces us to the world of James Bond, an MI6 agent recently promoted to the 00 status, with the codename 007. His mission is far different from the film adventures and posterior novels: there, he doesn't needs to use his famed 00 code, which gives him a licence to kill. Bond's mission is to run Le Chiffre down. Le Chiffre is a SMERSH (acronym for Smiers Shpionom, "Death to Spies") tresury, who has been gambling to baccarat with the organization's founds. M's mission for Bond is quite simple, and everything depends of luck: He has to bet against Le Chiffre in a baccarat game at the Casino Royale in Royale-Les-Eaux. But Le Chiffre is previously informed of Bond's activities, and attempts to kill him every time.

007 survives the numerous attacks of Le Chiffre, and is assisted by Deuxi

Edited by Nicolas Suszczyk, 07 January 2008 - 11:28 PM.

#21 solace



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Posted 01 May 2008 - 08:55 AM

great start to the books. I enjoyed it immensely and cant wait to read the rest. Im a bond fan of 30 years but as Im posting i've only just began reading the books and this is how I see Bond. I just hope that the films follow on in the style of CR from now on.

#22 AndyMUFC



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Posted 30 October 2008 - 11:37 PM

People that complain about Craig's Bond not being Bond should read this considering it was the first look at Bond and nearly all of the second half of the book is in the film. Once I got to the game in the casino, I just had to keep reading on till I reached the end just because the book is so gripping. I'm no fan of card games whatsoever but Fleming manages to make the game of baccarat so gripping that you can't help but enjoy reading it. Overall, it's a fantastic read. 5/5.

#23 Cruiserweight



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Posted 31 October 2008 - 09:31 PM

3 stars

I actually found myself bored at points in this book.I think the 2006 film was actually better then the book.

#24 manfromjapan



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Posted 02 November 2008 - 02:54 AM

One of my favorites of the series from the beginning "the smell of a casino...is nauseating" to the end "yes, I said was, the bitch is dead". Also essential reading to fully understand OHMSS and how the character has grown in the interim. Personally, I don't think Fleming writes a Bond novel as good until he hits From Russia With Love.

I would have to concur with this. I don't think Fleming perfected the art of writing a quintessential Bond novel until FRWL. DN, GF and TB are 'classic' adventures, but TSWLM, OHMSS and YOLT saw the restless Fleming departing from the 'formula' almost as soon as he had acquired it!!

Personally I think CR is an extraordinary novel. Few Bond novels or moments can equal it's cold heart, it's starkness. It's lean, incredibly atmospheric and persuasively described. It has an unpredictable narrative. It's one of my top three books at the moment, after FRWL and OHMSS.

Edited by manfromjapan, 02 November 2008 - 02:57 AM.

#25 Greene Planet

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 05:50 AM

Casino Royale. After reading it four times, it time to review it, the very beginning of 007, "The scent and smoke and scent of a casino are nausiating at three in the morning..." and the legend continues...

Absolutely the best Bond novel ever. It was a quick read, which I enjoy. He combined the world of espionage, cold war, and sex into one perfect novel. I also enjoyed it because of the incredible detail, that's one reason why the Casino Royale film was so enjoyable. However, there was too many letters, in the beginning, it was fine reading Le Chiffre's biography, but inthe end, Vesper's letter was at least five pages, that's a little long, it seemed too much like a Nicholas Sparks novel because of the romance in the end.
Overall, it was a great read, I recommend it to every Bondian.

Edited by Greene Planet, 10 January 2009 - 05:53 AM.

#26 danielcraigisjamesbond007


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Posted 10 January 2009 - 10:16 PM

As an inside joke, before I get into the "review" of Casino Royale: When I had heard that the next Bond movie that would be made was Casino Royale (This was in 2006 :() I went over to my nearest bookstore and picked up the novel. Thus began my fascination with the cinematic AND literary 007.

Overall, this book is my very favourite Bond book. I was confused at first with the French terminology, but I worked my way through it. I wasn't sure about Baccarrat, but Fleming described it in such detail that even people who don't play cards, or don't understand card games, could read it and understand what was going on.
One of my favourite scenes in the novel was
<Spoiler below. Highlight to see.>
When Bond is being threatened with the "gun-cane."
There was a lot of dramatic tension that I could feel just reading that section of the book.
Throughout the novel, it is interesting to see the tension between Bond and Le Chiffre. There are many references as to their similarities (They are just "agents" from their respective "governments.") which I thought was interesting.

Vesper is a great character in the novel, and the film as well. She is my favourite Bond girl, and I loved the twist at the end.

Overall, I would give Casino Royale 4.5 stars. It's not perfect, but it's one of the best examples of Fleming's work. I could reread Casino Royale 100 times over and never get bored.

Edited by danielcraigisjamesbond007, 14 January 2009 - 02:13 AM.

#27 Slight Inferiority Complex

Slight Inferiority Complex


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  • Location:England

Posted 30 May 2010 - 11:01 PM

I originally wrote this on 1 December 2009.

Casino Royale is barely more than a novella in truth and seems to act as a planned precursor to greater adventures yet to come, in the same way that the film of Dr No went to great lengths to introduce peripheral characters who were expected to recur in the planned film series. The action opens in medias res and grabs the attention immediately. The writing style is spare and indeed sparse; descriptive without a flourish. The novel moves through a little backstory and then back to the action. The centre-piece of the whole thing is the casino showdown between Bond and Le Chiffre and this is gripping stuff indeed. Sadly, far more so than the dramatic events which follow and seem hugely anti-climactic and ill-conceived.

It is impossible, for me at least, to separate the books from the films and so in my mind's eye I see and hear Sean Connery as I read. But the Bond of this novel has none of Connery's self-assurance or wit. Here Bond is driven and dark, then haunted by the events of the book and finally steely and poised. It's not much of a character arc, and what there is of it is unconvincing- romance really isn't Fleming's bag- but that's hardly the point of the novel.

It is a page-turner, it is thrilling in parts, Bond is an engaging anti-hero (his fallibility is of far more interest than efficiency) but his chauvinism is supported and, indeed, reinforced by the author and it grates. In fact the poor section which follows the epic casino battle appears designed to do so. Apparently Fleming wrote this as he planned his own wedding; what a lucky girl. When Bond thinks aloud "These blithering women who thought they could do a man's work. Why the hell couldn't they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave men's work to the men?" the action plays out in support of this. The girl is the cause of the problem, she does inerfere, is out of her depth and does lead to tragic (though sadly all-too-predictable) consequences. And there's the rub; to lend Bond a humanity and reality, Fleming resorts to flabby cliché. A shame.