The Spy who Loved Me, by Ian Fleming

March 7, 2012 at 16:47 (Book Reviews, Fiction, Poorly Rated Books, Romantic Fiction, Thriller) (, , , , )


Without personality, without excitement, without style. Tasteless, graceless, morbid and ugly. It does not take a great stretch of the imagination to conclude why the film version of this book has absolutely no overlaps with the novel (although it is more difficult to accept that Fleming managed to publish more books after this utter disaster). In a book ostensibly about James Bond, the famous spy does not appear until the second half of the book, and even then is roughly and rudely sketched. He is certainly not the main character in this book, and barely aspires to a supporting role.

A great deal of this book also ends up reading like a torrid and pulpy piece of romantic fiction, with explicit sex and abuse scenes littered lecherously through the pages, and an increasingly uncomfortable feeling that heroes and villains alike are merely different fantasies flitting through the author’s mind.

“All women love semi-rape.”

-The Spy who Loved Me

In short, this is not a spy novel. It is barely a thriller. Its shabby pages are a blend of unmemorable, unlikeable, unsympathetic nonentities; and in this case, that includes the vague and barely-present James Bond himself. Ian Fleming can write well (for all that he is a misogynistic old deviant), but it is not only the banal plot and appalling characters that condemn this book, and it suffers badly from a depressing array of pacing problems, mawkish and scattered dialogue, unimaginative and clichéd description and a host of other problems. This is a truly dreadful book, without anything to recommend itself at all.

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