Octopussy and the Living Daylights: And Other Stories by Ian Fleming
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm a casual James Bond fan. I'll always stop and watch a few minutes if I see one of the movies on. I came in during the Roger Moore era, so he is who I always picture first when Bond is mentioned, though I have seen some of the Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig movies, though none of the earlier ones than Connery. I like them all, it helps make Bond, 007 more of an idea than any one person.
This was the first time I had listened/read one of the actual Ian Fleming novels depicting Bond and he was very different from the dashing ladies man and spy I grew up with from the movies. There was no being trapped in underground lairs or jumping out of airplanes, and in fact Octopussy contained very little of Bond at all. It was more the story of a retired WWII Major whose past catches up with him. Bond is still the cool character we expect, but at times we gain more insight into his psyche and see that he is actually quite bothered by being a 00, licensed to kill, which makes him more real to me.
Hiddleston's narration was wonderful. He is expressive and enjoyable to listen to, and gives a short interview after his readings about his own Bond experience and his enjoyment of portraying different characters through their voices. Lucy Fleming, one of Ian's nieces, reads the 4th story of the collection, 007 in New York, which of the 4 was the most characteristic of my previous Bond experience, though it's a simple check in through customs, all the while we are with Bond's thoughts on the city and how things have changed over time, with the detailed observation of a trained spy on the people around him. It was nice to hear Lucy, an actual family member talk about her uncle and Bond with that reading.
Far from being disappointed with the tameness of the stories compared to the flashy and exciting movies I'm used to, I'm more intrigued to go back and watch those movies to look for the bits of the story that must be there, and to read the other novels and do the same with them. James Bond is such an icon and the embodiment of the cool, collected spy in our imaginations, few characters endure the test of time the way he has.
View all my reviews
#44 COYER Scavenger Hunt - Read a book that has been turned into a movie. This one has technically had 2 movies in fact! not bad for less than 100 pages, huh?
And for us Hiddles fans, here is the alternate cover to what I listened to: