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
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.