Saturday, 10 January 2015

Casino Royale (James Bond book #1)

By: Ian Fleming
first published April 13th 1953

NOTE: I read--heard--the audio book, so I will be spelling some of the names wrong.

    Before I read Casino Royale I knew only 2 things about James Bond: the way he tended to introduce himself and his number(007). So I went into this story with almost zero expectation--except for excitement, espionage, and some thievery.
    If I had been girl in the 50's, this might have been more exciting. But alas, I am not and nor was the story:

     James is not fond of women. Not in the sense that he is gay but more in the sense of misogyny and extreme prejudice. I was hoping his world view would change, but it did not. 

    Also, while we're on the topic of females, let's talk about Vespa and his 'relationship' with her: Vespa is a double-agent, blackmailed into double-crossing her coworkers, and
very, very stupid. Idiotic! For Pete's sake you've only exchanged a few SENTENCES with each other!; James never noticed anything about her other than her beauty and, apart from the stories about 007 that she'd heard at work, neither does she! This was the worst case of a silent love story I've ever read--and that's saying something.

    Now, this book was probably intended to be about betrayal and gambling more than love and spying (because there was hardly any spying), so I'll let that slide a little and move on to other things I got a problem with. 

     Vespa's "betrayal" : James, yes she told SMERSH about your assignment, and yes, your injuries were partly her fault--though you could have been smarter about where you went after you've pissed off a dangerous criminal man(gambler/man/criminal/what title do I give "Lechiefe(spelling error)"?)--but she never back-stabbed you. Ever. In fact, I remember she killed herself with an over dose because she "loved" you--I saw no reason for her to die or you to say so cruelly "The Bitch is dead, now." Those were literally the last words in the audio book.  

    I'm proud of the pages upon pages that I've read--and you, James and Vespa, were not the brightest cookies I've read so far. 

    I'm hoping your [Jame's] world view changes, eventually, but upon further research all I've found were book covers of scantily clad/sexualized women that, knowing your [James's] prejudices, they make me sick. 

    I didn't like Casino Royale --to say the least--and I really don't understand why others liked it--but then again, espionage (which I saw practically none of in this novel) was never really my thing. The only good thing I can say about Mr. Bond is that he is good at his job--he may be an asshole, but the man gets the job done (with help, of course) and is pretty darn good at hiding things; that is the only good I have to say about him, really. I still want to try to get into espionage and mysteries but Ian Fleming is not what I would recommend to the me 5 hours ago or former middle-school Mystery and Espionage readers--now those books were exciting! 
     Let's see if John Gardner's James Bond series is more exciting and the characters brighter cookies.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

A Thousand Pieces of You

Published November 4th 2014 by Harper Teen
By Claudia Gray (pseudonym) 

    Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

    First up, let me just say that this is one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen; just look at it! The city on top is (and I'm just guessing)the London of an alternate dimension where technology advanced earlier or faster and the city that's upside down is (again, I'm just guessing) The Winter Palace, Russia. 
    A Thousand Pieces of You follows Marguerite and Theo searching through dimensions for the supposed killer of Marguerite's dad: Paul. Maggie's parents invented a neat little trinketv called Firebird (very cool name) that allows people to leap into alternate worlds. Keep in mind that you can't physically jump dimensions (yet); no, the Firebird can only allow for leaping of the mind into the body of the you in other dimensions--that is, [if you still] exist in that world. 
    Now, I should get it out there that I absolutely love the idea of alternate dimensions, so yeah, I love the book. Even so, Claudia Gray still far exceeded my expectations. She kept me guessing 'til the very end and did not leave me hanging.
    As I mentioned in the first paragraph, the cover is of London and Russia; those are the first 2 dimensions she leaped to. One where computer screens are holograms and the other where the Russian royal family still rules and the industrial revolution hasn't occurred, yet. In Russia, Marguerite is the Grand Duchess--so, yeah, pretty awesome. I wonder if there's a dimension where I'm a princess? Or, in one where 'magic'exists, Fae?  
    A Thousand Pieces of You is beautiful(not just the cover, though, have you not seen it!?!), sweet, and the perfect Sci-Fi for both non- and Sci-Fi readers.I'm psyched for the rest of this trilogy! That's right; there's 2 more! 

    The emotional roller coaster goes somewhat like this: You first climb up, up, up in anger and hatred, and so confused that you don't see the drop until you're falling, thinking this is the end (I am over-exaggerating this a bit) but you suddenly go up, upside down, around, spin--you're dancing and in love with the excitement, heart pounding. In love with the sky, and you want to savour the moment, capture the beauty of flying past the clouds, and you see the sun. Then it dies, and the clouds pull and push you down. 
    The sun is gone, perhaps forever. You are plunging downward again, this time underground, into the sea. You can breath, but the sun is gone and it's dark. You feel something swim past you,  and you remember why you got on this roller coaster in the first place. You find the cart's light switch and turn it on. You take the steering wheel (yes there is a steering wheel) and you drive the cart back up to the surface, find the emergency switch of the sun (way over-exaggerating; this should be a picture book story). The sun lights up the world, and everything is clear as day (literally). You follow the tracks--that appear out of nowhere--back home. 

To the readers who've read A Thousand Pieces of You, does that sum it up for you?