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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Young Bond gets smart
Charlie Higson's Double or Die is the pivot on which the Young Bond series turns. Double or Die both pulls from past books and points to the future. Where SilverFin infused Bond with his fearless instinct and Blood Fever developed his brawn, Double or Die works his mind (and ours). This Young Bond novel is psychologically more complex than its predecessors. Indeed, with...
Published on 28 Jan 2007 by John Cox

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Silverfin is better
I liked it but Silverfin is way better than this one.
it would be better if I hadn't read them in order one after the other
Published 2 months ago by Kindle Customer


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Young Bond gets smart, 28 Jan 2007
By 
John Cox (Studio City, CA) - See all my reviews
Charlie Higson's Double or Die is the pivot on which the Young Bond series turns. Double or Die both pulls from past books and points to the future. Where SilverFin infused Bond with his fearless instinct and Blood Fever developed his brawn, Double or Die works his mind (and ours). This Young Bond novel is psychologically more complex than its predecessors. Indeed, with its many scenes set in tombs and tunnels, Double or Die drips with Freudian undercurrents.

Thematically, Double or Die is an adventure of the mind. Bond and his band of friends must decrypt puzzles and clues contained within a mysterious cipher sent by a kidnapped professor. Higson plays the motif throughout as references to skulls and the brain abound. Where Blood Fever was bright and expansive, Double or Die is dark and contained. While this could make it a lesser Bondian adventure for some, the smaller scale allows Higson to work in greater texture and detail, making Double or Die the most vivid and visual of all the Young Bond novels to date. It's also the Young Bond novel that showcases its 1930s setting the best as Higson peppers the book with delightful period slang and long forgotten brand names.

The body count in Double or Die is lower than Blood Fever, but Higson doesn't skimp on the gore, especially during the terrific climax on the London Docklands and inside an abandon pneumatic railway (wonderful Bondian locations both). The fact that the henchmen comes away from each encounter with Young Bond missing another body part is grisly good fun and pure Bond. Higson adds a surprising postscript to this book that is unlike anything that has yet appeared in a Young Bond novel. I will leave it to the reader to discover it, and decide whether it belongs in the Young Bond universe.

Absence of a Bond Girl (or any female for that matter) is missed during the first two thirds of the book, but the arrival of the perfectly named Kelly Kelly and her "Monstrous Regiment" (a sort of cockney street urchin version of Pussy Galore's Flying Circus) is a highlight of the final third. Higson again toys with romance, but one gets a sense he's nervous about offending the sensibilities of his youngest male readers. At the risk of getting a schoolyard beating, I'm hoping for a more developed romance at some point in the Young Bond series.

The measure of any James Bond continuation novel, and novelist, is how they compare with Fleming. Charlie Higson matched Fleming last year with the excellent Blood Fever. Now, with the complex and thrilling Double or Die, Higson appears to be steering the Young Bond series toward even higher literary achievement.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure reading pleasure!, 5 Jan 2007
By 
Patricia Hill "triciahill" (Hanwell, London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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As a 41-year-old mother of two, I am not exactly this book's target audience, but I thought it was pretty close to perfect. I've read the other two Young Bond books, but the author has really hit his stride with this one. It's exciting and cleverly plotted, with more than enough action to satisfy every boy (and surely every girl) who reads it and also enough hints at how Bond ends up the man we know from the Fleming books to intrigue adults. I gulped it down in two sittings and now envy all those who have yet to enjoy escaping into it. Surely no one with a pulse would fail to enjoy it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Double Or Die: Continuing On The Path To 007, 16 May 2007
Introductions came with SilverFin. Development and maturity followed in Blood Fever. In Double Or Die, Charlie Higson's third novel in the increasingly popular Young Bond series, the key word here is expansion. The first two novels proved that this is indeed no ordinary boy. Bond is obviously quite capable in dealing with an assortment of villains and his past battles have been quite noteworthy. With that in mind, a challenge is created for the author. The truly difficult task in creating the third novel in a series is simply not writing the second one over again. Blood Fever was an incredibly easy Bond novel for the reader to enjoy. With locations in both the UK and Sardinia and unquestionably bizarre villains with even more outrageous plans, the second novel Young Bond is larger than life. How does Higson succeed in making Double Or Die just as enjoyable; and even more importantly, different? Going in the exact opposite direction.

Charlie Higson expands the Young Bond series by restraining Double Or Die from the exotic and glamorous style that characterized Blood Fever. With the entire storyline taking place over the course of only a few days, this third novel gives off the impression of being a much more reserved (and dark) mystery. Thankfully, the pace moves at breakneck speed, making each and every page tense and unputdownable. The solving of the cryptic clues early on in the story is a perfect example. Whether working out the clues in the company of Pritpal and Tommy or trying to figure them out on his own, they are a constant weight on Bond's mind due to the extremely limited amount of time remaining.

Confining the novel to locations only within the UK is another brilliant move by Higson. The absence of the globetrotting aspect in Double Or Die allows him to really focus in on the locations that are featured. The Royal College of Surgeons, King's College in Cambridge, Highgate cemetery and the London Docklands are all described in striking, eerie detail.

Higson creates an interesting parallel between both Bond and the human brain on the very first page of the novel--they both never shut down. Each new hardship pushes him beyond his normal limits and continues him on the path to becoming 007. Upon waking up Saturday morning, he finds the comfort and security of a hospital bed tempting, but realizes he must keep moving forward. This attitude is perfectly summarized in Bond's line to Perry at the Royal College of Surgeons: `I don't think want to be remembered when I die, actually. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and all that. It's living that's important. Doing things. Not getting bored and wasting your life.' This line is then followed by a reference to a very fitting statement Ian Fleming once made.

Double Or Die also has its share of new characters to the series. As the main villain, Sir John Charnage is slightly more ordinary in comparison to those who have come before him (but then this does stay in line with the less outlandish style of the novel). With that said, he is certainly no less formidable as demonstrated during the torture sequence. There is also the possibility that the wrathful Colonel Irina `Babushka' Sedova, who we see during the finale of the novel, may return in the next Young Bond adventure. Kelly Kelly, the Bond girl of the story, is given a strong introduction in the final third of the novel as her Monstrous Regiment stumble across a battered and aching Bond and proceeds to cause him further pain.

With no creepy creatures available this time to terrorize Bond, Higson's use of alcohol as Charnage's poison of choice leads to possibly the most agonizing form of torture subjected on him yet. The sequence is written magnificently with each successive forced swallow of the dangerous substance clearly causing more pain than the last. It certainly rivals Blood Fever's own unique torture sequence involving the relentless attack of mosquitoes.

Especially noticeable in Double Or Die are Higson's sly references to the original James Bond novels. One of Bond's friends at Eton suggests they all learn how to play baccarat early on in the story. A quick mention of a casino in Royale-les-Eaux in France is made during the card game with Gordius. Later on, Bond decides to use the name `John Bryce' as his alias while trying to track down Professor Peterson. Also included is Bond's famous introduction and seven turning out to be a particularly lucky number as he gambles at the Paradice Club.

Charlie Higson clearly proves that he is an accomplished writer by making Double Or Die a riveting thriller that has all the elements of a successful Bond novel--and still making it different from Blood Fever. Favourable comparisons to Ian Fleming's original Bond adventures are never a bad thing and if there is one particular novel that stands out in this case, it is 1955's Moonraker. Both Double Or Die and Moonraker are both strictly limited to locations within the UK and take place over the course of only a few days (with a rapid pace that is beneficial to both novels). As Higson continues Bond on the path to becoming 007, readers can be assured that his upcoming adventures will be truly memorable.

commanderbond.net
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's no need to worry, young Bond is as same like his fans love him in his adult version, 15 Jun 2014
By 
Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Young Bond: Double or Die (Paperback)
"Double or Die" by Charlie Higson is author's third novel in Young James Bond series that tell of the James Bond's adventures when he was a young man and studying at Eton College.

In this installment, that follows SilverFin and Blood Fever, story starts when one of James's professors has been kidnapped in a London cemetery, although his kidnappers want to show that he went willingly.
James is back to his Eton school after spending summer on Italian isles.
Afterwards, professor's letter full of cryptic clues will arrive to James friend, Pritpal, requesting young Bond to decipher this mystery with help of his two friends.

Soon, they'll find out that their professor didn't leave by choice, and his life is very likely in danger.
And when they would finally succeed in deciphering, 48 hours will be all available to save the professor from the dark forces threatening to destroy both them and professor, but the world itself...

The third novel in author's series is of a bit higher quality than last two though the writing style is quite similar, enabling reader to easily read these novels.
Novel is well-made and is able to draw reader into the story due to good action but also clever mystery that young character has to solve in order to save his professor and much more that's at stake.

It's great that younger readers who weren't able to read original Fleming works will get an opportunity to learn about the Bond's youth and attempts of British secret service agency to create a super-secret agent that Bond eventually become.
The novel can be read as standalone as well, and those who are skeptical whether they like youthful Bond, there's no need to worry because he's equally brave, skilled and clever, being expert in every field, exactly like his fans love him in his adult version.

What can distract the reader is somewhat slow pace of action because at moments it seems that the author spends a lot more time than necessary needed, for example showing slowly how Bond and his friend are solving the puzzles.

Nevertheless, the novel together with its prequels had done great job capturing all the things that made Bond movies popular due to mix of genre they provided.
Therefore, Charlie Higson's novel can be recommended both for loyal old Bond fans and younger readers that will become ones.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Double as good as the last two, 5 Mar 2007
DOUBLE OR DIE is in my opinion, the best book in the series so far. Charlie Higson is improving every book and if the improvement between BLOOD FEVER and DOUBLE OR DIE is anything to go by, I cannot wait to read the fourth in the series.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Young Bond yet!, 23 Jan 2007
By 
Mr. S. P. Drake (Farnborough, Hants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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What is it with the third books in the series being notably the best? My favourite Harry Potter was Prisoner of Azkaban, my favourite Alex Rider was Skeleton Key and my favourite His Dark Materials was The Amber Spyglass. And now Mr Higson has joined them...I really liked Silverfin and, although wasn't as keen, enjoyed Blood Fever. But Double or Die has come along and given them a good kick in the place where a laser beam very nearly went in Goldfinger!! It really does feel like a Fleming book, or one of the early Cold War era films. Now we have more references to the war, better assassins (I loved the Smith Brothers) and much more action...Although it should be noted for younger readers, it is quite violent and some sequences quite intense. I wouldn't have a problem with my Children reading it (I'm 29 and enjoyed it as much as they did!) but some parents may wish to check before reading it to their little un's!

Young James now really feels like Young Bond. The books have been given time to settle in. The character is darker, more intense, now not afraid of his deadly killing skills...I could easily see him growing up to be Mr Sean Connery or Mr Daniel Craig.

The plot is a lot tighter than the previous books, and moves at an extremely fast pace. Your children won't be able to put it down...I certainly couldn't!!

Good work Charlie boy...roll on the next instalment!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cracking read, 23 Jun 2008
By 
Saffron "Saf" (Buckinghamshire, UK) - See all my reviews
I read this by accident when my son brought it home from the school library. I opened it out of curiosity, and didn't close it again until i had finished it. the story is pacy, exciting and very well-written, with ample gore and even a tiny hint of romance. Bond is clearly shaping into the adult we know so well, and the chapters set in Eton are particularly evocative.

However....

My son is only 8, and this book is too grown up for him. there are some scenes that I think an 8 year old would find truly frightening, written very descriptively, which are all too easy to picture mentally. I am glad that i read this before he did, because it is definitely not suitable for him! Additionally, the prose is quite complex and I doubt that an 8 year old would stick with it. I reckon this book would be great for a 10-12 year old boy or girl, but I don't think it is really targeted at 8 year olds....my son loves Bond in all his incarnations, but he won't be reading this one for a couple of years yet!

Still, I am glad that he brought it home, because it has introduced me to Higson's Young Bond series, and I shall definitely be reading more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlie boy, you've done another blinder!!, 9 Jan 2007
By 
Mr. S. P. Drake (Farnborough, Hants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Having read both Silverfin (that i really enjoyed) and Blood Fever (that i wasn't as keen on i'm afraid Charlie!) I was still very excited about the release of Young Bond 3 (aka Double or Die)

Being a huge Bond fan, and also a massive fan of the Alex Rider books i'm always excited about spies, assassins, guns and danger...(you'd think at aged 29 i'd have grown out of it by now!!)

I have to say Double or Die is the best out of the three Young Bond books. With a cracking pace, plenty of action and some great characters (the Smith Brothers) it really felt like a Bond film put on page!

Well done Charlie...and to quote James Bond in The Spy who Loved me keep "keeping the British end up!!!"

More please!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bond is Back!!!!!, 8 Jan 2007
By 
Horser (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
Having read Silverfin and Blood Fever I coudn't wait for Young Bond 3. And believe me i wasn't dissapointed. From the moment i picked the book up to the moment i put it down i was captived by this fantastic action packed roller coaster of an adventure. This time James Bond is trying to solve riddles and clues left behind by an Eton proffesor who has suddenly vanished. What starts off as a harmless game of clue solving soon becomes a race against the clock when two dangerous yet hideous hitmen begin chasing Bond and close friend Perry Mandeville around Cambridge and London! Bond soon realises he has not only the proffeser to save but also the future of the world as we know it!!! Get this brilliant novel now, and find out if Bond can unlock THE DEADLOCK CYPHER, destroy NEMESIS and either DOUBLE OR DIE!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nobody Does it Better, 20 Feb 2007
By 
Jimmy Bond is back in his best adventure yet as he finds himself investigating the disappearance of one of his teachers. All that Bond has to go on is a mysterious letter that contains a series of clues to the teacher's whereabouts and the dangers involved. 'Double or Die' sees Bond develop some of the skills that help him to become one of the most dangerous secret agents later in life as he fights two mysterious men - one handsome, the other who looks like a corpse. With car chases, fire fights, action and romance - young Bond is back.

Charlie Higson has finally found his best form with the writing of this, his third, 'Young Bond' novel. Gone are the over eccentricities of the previous novels and instead the book is a lot darker with a sense of real danger throughout. The story itself begins as a junior 'Da Vinci Code' but manages to become a seriously good children's action novel towards the end.

The character of Bond is portrayed really well and definitely makes you want to support him. Higson has also successfully written the best bad guys to date that are both scary and interesting. Some parts of the book are violent so may not be suitable for younger children and I thought some of the clues were too simple even for a children's book. However, overall 'Double or Die' is by far the best of the series so far and makes me look forward greatly to Bond's next adventure.
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Young Bond: Double or Die
Young Bond: Double or Die by Charlie Higson (Paperback - 5 April 2012)
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