Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Meet James Bond.  He is charming, sophisticated, handsome, ruthless, and licensed to kill.  In this first of the Bond stories, James’ mission is to take out a lethal high rolling Russian Operation called ‘Le Chiffre’ by ruining him at the baccarar table, forcing him into an early “retirement” so to speak.

Lady luck seems to have sides with 007 as Le Chiffre hits a losing streak… but you never know what will happen when playing such high stakes and a beautiful female agent by the name of Vesta may just turn the roll of the dice a different way…

First off… we need a little theme music:

This is my first experience with James Bond.  Yup.  It’s true.  I have never watched a movie, well, maybe caught glimpses but enough to know I had no read interest, and I have never read a book about 007.  From what I knew going into this challenge (more on that in a minute) is that James Bond was some sort of FBI, spy, or vigilante…. I was not sure.  I also thought from the little I knew, that he was a lady’s man – there was always a new girl in every movie, and so in his spare time, he drank his signature drink with the ladies, and then occasionally killed a bad guy.

So in recap…. never committed to a woman, killed people, wore uptight suits everywhere, cocky attitude, cheesy theme music….

Yup.  Not really my thing…

Now wait.  before you go thinking, “whoa Sheila, did you just write the anti – review?”, hear me out.  I am telling you what I thought prior to my Shaken Not Stirred experience.

Ok – whats Shaken Not Stirred?  This is a Challenge started by the wonderful Jennifer of Literate Housewife, working with the wonderful Blackstone Audio.  Our challenge is, if we choose to accept it, is to listen to the 007 audio, one per month – and we also gather each month at a Twitter party under the hashtag #shakennotstirred and watch the movie that goes with the audio together.

I am always interested in stretching my audio taste buds… I have said before I tend to be more daring in my audio choices, then I am in my reading.  A book is easy to put down and my mind will just drift away if it is not holding me.  Audio however I usually give a longer chance to suck me in.  I am usually driving or doing something while listening so it is not always convenient to take it out and choose another – not saying that I haven’t just that audio tends to take me longer to say “nah” too.

Ok enough background info as I am already late on this review.  This was our June selection, the kick off to the challenge, and while I did join in on the Twitter party and the watching of the movie, I missed out on the June review date as I was not done with the audio.  I actually started listening to it late and well…. just finished now.

There are a few pleasant surprises I found in Casino Royale.  One is that when I listened (and watched the movie) tot his audio, I seen the story behind James Bond and for some reason that really made a difference to me.  Seeing how he got his start, and how he handled himself in this early book made all the difference to me.  Actually, and I shared this with Jennifer, Literate Housewife, I now felt as though I understood him.  The little glimpses of what I knew of him, and my pre judgement of him changed and suddenly – I felt I knew the man behind the gun. 

I know, totally cheesy right?  😛

Casino Royale turned out to be a pleasant listen, a good story line.  By starting at the very beginning I was able to understand that Bond was an agent (not the vigilante I had thought…. although that would have been super cool!) and I was able to learn about the agency he worked for.  I also learned that the “00” or double O stands for agents with a license to kill.  James Bond, becomes 007.  The 7th in the agency with this license.

Bond never quite shook the “ladies man” label I had given him prior to this audio.  He obviously is, and not always the nicest one either.  He has a few lines that made me think I was right about these books/movies, but then he would turn it around to a softer side of him that has left me still uncertain.  The jury is still out on this one.

I ended this audio impressed with myself for taking on this challenge into an area I never though I would go, as well as for the fact that it really wasn’t that bad.  I found the story line interesting, and now having listened to this audio and see the Casino Royale movie, I feel as though I understand Bond a bit better as we go forward.  I think I may know now why he has a new woman in every book.

Simon Vance was an amazing narrator.  He did an excellent job on the Bond vibe and I can see why he had won awards for his readings.  Wow. 

I look forward to our July discussion and review of Live and Let Die. 

Good Reads Review

The 2011 WHERE are you reading map has been updated to include Casino Royale

I won my copy of this audio book from Blackstone audio

21 thoughts on “Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

  1. I’m sure the James Bond books would be captivating to read and listen to as are the movies to watch. I quite liked those starring Sean Connery and the new latest releases were quite good too. I find the latest releases are more violent than those from years past.

    Speaking of narrating a book, wouldn’t Sean Connery’s Scottish accent be terrific as narrator? I’m just saying….

  2. I haven’t read any of Ian Fleming’s books but since my dad is a huge James Bond fan, I was familiar with the movies. I don’t remember the older ones (though I’ve seen parts of them) but I did watch the Pierce Brosnan ones and loved Daniel Craig’s version of Bond in Casino Royale. Now I want to try reading the book! I am glad you are stretching outside your comfort zone and giving books like this one a chance. Sounds like a fun challenge. I’d join but I am over my limit of reading challenges that I can handle 🙂

    1. OH it’s narrated by Simon Vance?? Sign me up! I’ve never read any Bond books, only seen a few movies, which I’ll admit I didn’t love. I kind of have the same idea of the leading man that you did. I’m intrigued to actually read a book now, though, and maybe I’ll go the audio route! I’m not ready to accept a challenge, but I love the idea of the audiobook/movie pairing. Very creative!

      Also, I just have to say, I love your phrase “audio taste buds”…that’s excellent!

  3. I haven’t read any James Bond books, and the only movies I really like are the Daniel Craig ones. My first exposure to this story though was via an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation. 🙂

  4. I am so glad that you joined us and are finding this to be as interesting as I am. Live and Let Die should be interesting! Can’t wait.

    Thanks also for the very nice things you said about the challenge. The more the merrier!

  5. I haven’t read any of Ian Fleming’s books either but I do love his movies. Maybe an audio is the way to go for these for me as well.

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