Friday, May 3, 2013

Review Me Twice - Moonraker by Ian Fleming


If you're even kind of a Bond fan, you'll know that Moonraker is part of the James Bond series.  And, as we talked about on Monday, it was written in the late 1950s.

Bond is a book that shows its age, mainly because Fleming is a huge misogynist   Women in the book are all secretaries (even the female under cover cop goes under cover as a secretary.)  And they're not really described by their personalities but their body types.  Worst of all, they're all delicate flowers who get into trouble at a moment's notice and need Bond to save them.

However, Fleming was raised in the '30s and '40s, a time when... well, there wasn't a whole lot of women's rights going on.  So I feel like you can only judge him harshly to a point.  It was how he was raised, how society viewed everything then, so you can only fault him so much.

That being said, the book is engaging.  He has a weird way of drawing you in.  I didn't find myself particularly dying to read the book or sitting on the edge of my chair, waiting to know what happened, but at the same time, I couldn't quite put the book down.  Fleming goes into amazing detail (usually) without boring you to tears.  (All the in depth stuff about bridge I could have done without... but maybe just because I know nothing about bridge, so I didn't really know what was going on.)

I probably won't pick up another Bond book but... I didn't hate this one.  So that's something, I guess.

My Bottom Line 3 out of 5

I have never liked the idea of James Bond. I understand the appeal others find in him; he embodies the adjectives "suave" and "debonair." But I don't like suave, debonair people. I like flawed and relatable.

However, I did somewhat enjoy reading Moonraker. I've only watched about two and a half Bond movies (I quite like Daniel Craig, just in general, so I halfway enjoyed his Bond) and my favorite parts are the background stuff. I don't like elongated action sequences; I prefer cerebral scenes over explosions and shootings and whatnot. I don't know the proportion of "smart" scenes to action scenes in the other Bond books, but Moonraker's ratio was in my favor.

I agree with Cassy that the bridge scene went on for way too long, but it was still pretty interesting, if you could follow what was going on. (Advice to anyone who wants to read it: If you know nothing about bridge, skip over the technical terminology and just focus on the interaction between the players. It's written well enough that, even knowing absolutely diddly about bridge, I could still clearly see what was happening.)

Like Cassy, also, I probably won't pick up another Bond book anytime soon. But it's nice to know that James Bond isn't as bad as I thought he would be.


  1. Just out of curiosity, is there a reason you chose this one as opposed to any of his other ones? Is it because this one was not a movie? (At least I think its not. I don't really know for sure)

    1. It was a matter of access combined with chronology. Cassy couldn't get her hands on a copy of Casino Royale (the first book) or Live and Let Die (the second book) so we went with Moonraker (the third book).

      This one was made into a movie (my friend Paul said it was one of the better ones).

    2. It was mostly the fact that my library doesn't carry most of the Bond books (which, personally, I thought was really odd.)

      I think they've made a movie out of ALL the books now... if not all of them then definitely most of them. There are a ridiculous amount of Bond movies.