Monday, October 21, 2013
Review: The Spy Who Loved Me
The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
In my opinion, the grand master Ian Fleming swung and missed on this one. I suppose one should not expect an author to hit a gland slam every time out, nor should one expect every book in a series to live up to the previous works. There can be duds, and this is one.
The main character and narrator is Viv Michaels, a young French Canadian who was sent to finishing school in England by her aunt. After school, she spends a few years in Chelsea. After a brief return to Quebec, she departs on a journey down the United States on her Vespa motor scooter.
I do not think having a female character narrate a James Bond thriller is a bad idea, and I appreciate the author taking a risk with this popular series. Unfortunately, that that risk just does not pan out in this book. Perhaps if the narrator had been a femme fatale, the idea would have worked much better. In this case, the first half of the novel basically reads how I think a bad Harlequin romance would open.
James Bond does not make his appearance until about midway through the story. The most interesting part of the whole work is one chapter that explains how Bond has come to arrived at a motel in the Adirondack Mountains. This one chapter almost makes this book an actual spy novel. I think a fleshed out version of Bond's adventure up to that point should have been the meat of this work.
After arriving at the motel, Bond finds our narrator in some trouble. Viv has been working at the motel ever since stopping a few weeks earlier, and now that the tourist season has ended and the main proprietors have left for the winter, she is manning the place on her own. Needlessly to say, Bond helps her out of her jam.
While the last quarter of the book is exciting, it does not compensate for the mind-numbing first half nor the tease of an spy novel that is the Bond's backstory. I am ready to put this one behind me and move on the next in the series, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
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