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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 15 January 2006
For this old 007 fan, Charlie Higson's first Young Bond novel, SilverFin, was a mixed bag. Clearly a book written for a preteen target audience, it too often seemed to mimic a Harry Potter adventure. I'm happy to report this is NOT the case with Young Bond Book 2: Blood Fever, which takes a confident quantum leap into maturity and gives Bond fans of all ages one of the very best James Bond novels yet written.
The key difference seems to be that SilverFin was written as a children's book (which could still be enjoyed by adults), while Blood Fever appears to have been written with a more adult readership in mind. This is a tougher, darker, much more violent book than SilverFin. It even includes a classic Bondian torture scene (but don't panic, parents, the torture is more about endurance than person-to-person sadism). But because Blood Fever chronicles the adventures of a 14 year old, it's still very much a novel young readers will find thrilling--even dangerous. This one may need to be smuggled beneath the sheets and read by flashlight--which is precisely where a James Bond book SHOULD be read. Ian Fleming would be proud.
The villain in Blood Fever, Count Ugo Carnifex, is a true Bond baddie in the most classic sense, with a lair and scheme reflecting every inch of his megalomania. This is the best drawn Bond villain, book or film, we've encountered in some time. Secondary characters are also marvelously conceived, but it's the character of young Bond who stands head and shoulders above all others. The timid, apologetic youngster of SilverFin is long gone. Here, we have a teenage James with all the skills and swagger of Ian Fleming's secret agent. He coolly defies the villain, finds kinship with bandits, and gets visceral excitement by diving off high cliffs and driving fast cars. This Bond is no Harry Potter clone. This is the boy who will become 007 and who could kick the pixy dust out of any character in the Potter universe.
One thing that is still not a part of the Young Bond universe, even in this more mature version, is sex. However, there is some simmering eroticism in how Ugo's decrepit sister leers at handsome young James, and clearly, the animalistic Vendetta has some carnal curiosity. Bond even delivers his first "hard kiss on the mouth" in Blood Fever. But that's as far as Higson takes it. Bond's resistance to his female admirers seems more rooted in chivalry than nervous preadolescence (as in SilverFin), and besides, danger is always too close for such "distractions."
Some Bond fans have resisted the Young Bond series based on concept alone. Even I admitted that SilverFin wouldn't change the minds of the most entrenched fans. However, with Blood Fever, that resistance is now foolish. Bond fans are denying themselves a better Bond adventure than most of the recent James Bond films. There has been much talk lately about bringing Bond back to basics. Well, those basics are being practiced right here in the Young Bond series.
So for you holdouts, my advice would be to take the plunge with Blood Fever. Young or old, this is James Bond at his very best!
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on 12 February 2016
My 10 yo son is reading this, he's enjoying it. It's a much better book than Silverfin (which I thought was rubbish). I do think Higson tends to choose some rubbish names for his characters (...apart from James Bond obviously...) but that's just personal taste. Too many Latin / foreign words which ruin the flow of the reading and are nearly always unnecessary to the story. With a few tweaks could be a lot better.
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on 10 January 2006
For this old 007 fan, Charlie Higson's first Young Bond novel, SilverFin, was a mixed bag. Clearly a book written for a preteen target audience, it too often seemed to mimic a Harry Potter adventure. I'm happy to report this is NOT the case with Young Bond Book 2: Blood Fever, which takes a confident quantum leap into maturity and gives Bond fans of all ages one of the very best James Bond novels yet written.
The key difference seems to be that SilverFin was written as a children's book (which could still be enjoyed by adults), while Blood Fever appears to have been written with a more mature (even adult) readership in mind. This is a tougher, darker, much more violent book than SilverFin. It even includes a classic Bondian torture scene (but don't panic parents, the torture is more about endurance than person-to-person sadism). But because Blood Fever chronicles the adventures of a 14 year old, it's still very much a novel young readers will find thrilling--even dangerous. This one may need to be smuggled beneath the sheets and read by flashlight--which is precisely where a James Bond book SHOULD be read. Ian Fleming would be proud.
The villain in Blood Fever, Count Ugo Carnifex, is a true Bond baddie in the most classic sense, with a lair and scheme reflecting every inch of his megalomania. This is the best drawn Bond villain, book or film, we've encountered in some time. Secondary characters are also marvelously conceived, but it's the character of young Bond who stands head and shoulders above all others. The timid, apologetic youngster of SilverFin is long gone. Here, we have a teenage James with all the skills and swagger of Ian Fleming's secret agent. He coolly defies the villain, finds kinship with bandits, and gets visceral excitement by diving off high cliffs and driving fast cars. This Bond is no Harry Potter clone. This is the boy who will become 007 and who could kick the pixy dust out of any character in the Potter universe.
One thing that is still not a part of the Young Bond universe, even in this more mature version, is sex. However, there is some simmering eroticism in how Ugo's decrepit sister leers at handsome young James, and clearly, the animalistic Vendetta has some carnal curiosity. Bond even delivers his first "hard kiss on the mouth" in Blood Fever But that's as far as Higson takes it. Bond's resistance to his female admirers seems more rooted in chivalry than nervous preadolescence (as in SilverFin), and besides, danger is always too close for such "distractions.
Some Bond fans have resisted the Young Bond series based on concept alone. Even I admitted that SilverFin wouldn't change the minds of the most entrenched fans. However, with Blood Fever, that resistance is now foolish. Bond fans are denying themselves a better Bond adventure than most of the recent James Bond films. There has been much talk lately about bringing Bond back to basics. Well, those basics are being practiced right here in the Young Bond series.
So for you holdouts, my advice would be to take the plunge with Blood Fever. Young or old, this is James Bond at his very best!
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on 22 April 2006
This adventure novel is centred on an inquisitive boy named James Bond. James Bond the adult, as we know him, is the most famous spy the world has ever seen, but Charlie Higson, tries in this book to paint a picture of the young Bond's life in the 1930's.

James is portrayed as a curious, interested, strong and friendly boy. This book, Blood Fever, is the sequel to SilverFin, in which the young James was trapped in a deadly eel pond. This latest book was much more intriguing and satisfying than the last. The plot is subtly interwoven with clues to the ending - but Charlie Higson manages through skilful writing not to give anything away too early.

The story starts in Eton, when James is almost caught red-handed as a member of a society which has been banned by the school. The society is based around danger, and dangerous situations, and this becomes a recurring theme throughout the book. Soon after, the story moves on to the island of Sardinia, where the pace of the book really starts to pick up.

James is on a school trip to the small island with a friendly teacher, but meets up with his uncle, who owns a villa there. James starts learning about the Millenaria, a sinister society whose members are desperate for Latin to become a universal language. The Millenaria play a huge part in this mystery novel, and they are a fascinating and dangerous group, whose ultimate aim is to rule the world, and who are willing to take whatever measures are necessary to achieve it - including killing anybody who obstructs them.

James now finds himself at a huge Roman palazzo. The palazzo of a man named Count Ugo Carnifex. Carnifex is the head of the Millenaria and, one night, James hears him talking about rebuilding the Roman Empire. James also finds out that there is a young girl being kept prisoner in the palazzo.

Carnifex discovers about James and what he knows and at this point, the theme of danger - and particularly the danger to his life that James now faces - really comes to the fore. In classic bond style, James saves not only himself but the imprisoned girl.

This book was gripping, absorbing and exciting. The clever and never-wavering plot was full of colour. The description that Charlie Higson uses so effectively in his books, was wonderful and the characterization of the villain, Carnifex, was vibrant. Overall, Higson has created his best book yet. This action adventure was a mature and exciting read.
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on 27 July 2006
Literary 007 fans are in for a real surprise with Charlie Higson's Blood Fever. A dark and intense story awaits readers and the result is thrilling and enjoyable. At first I was apprehensive about starting it. When I had obtained Higson's first novel, SilverFin, I had immediately jumped into it, excited and curious. With Blood Fever, I was worried that I would be slightly disappointed; that the success of SilverFin might have just been a one time deal. It turns out that I could not have been further wrong. Blood Fever is a fast-paced, exciting, well-crafted, and mature James Bond novel.

SilverFin started to clear up the many, many rumours that this new Young Bond series would only appeal to young readers or the Harry Potter crowd, but Blood Fever wipes the slate clean. This is a darker and tougher James Bond novel than anticipated. Where there were some decidedly cute aspects of SilverFin, such as the horse being called "Martini," Blood Fever is devoid of such moments. The maturity, both of Bond and overall, is much more pronounced in this story.

One way this new level of maturity is obtained is in the development of the characters. Many of them are standouts in this novel, starting first with the villain, Count Ugo Carnifex. Villains, both in the Bond novels and films, have to be above par to create an interesting enough challenge for Bond, and Carnifex meets the requirements. He is ruthless and cruel; Higson's characterization of this villain is full of details; and...of course, where would a good villain be without a well-designed and dangerous lair? An improvement over Lord Randolph Hellebore of the previous novel, SilverFin. The other obligatory character is the Bond girl--in this case, the determined and efficient Amy Goodenough. Again, as in the case of the villains, the improvement from SilverFin to Blood Fever is clearly evident. Amy is introduced early on in the story and Higson allows the character plenty of time to develop and become someone that readers actually care about. She is the perfect candidate to be the girl who needs rescuing. Her interaction with James is handled wonderfully and very believable for the reader.

The darkness of Blood Fever is accented by the violence, which seems to have been increased for this second novel. James Bond is much more agent 007 than Young Bond in Blood Fever. In SilverFin, he was unsure, but determined and not willing to give up. Even with those qualities, it was evident that this character was clearly no 007...yet. Blood Fever now takes James Bond on the path to 007. Even the first line, 'James Bond hated feeling trapped,' shows that this boy is restless and one that does not take the common path in life. He must know that there is an exit where ever he may be, and his real ambition is to be free. He realizes that he does not fit in with Eton, the so-called common path. This boy is different from the others. All of this essential information about the back round to this character is presented on the first page describing him alone (pg 15 UK first edition paperback).

One standout scene of Blood Fever (and one that was certainly anticipated before the release of the novel) is the torture sequence involving James Bond. The form of torture is the deadliest animal in the world: mosquitoes. As Ugo Carnifex says, 'they are a nuisance, aren't they?' The scene is written magnificently, from the lack of mutual respect between James Bond and Ugo Carnifex to the sense of hopelessness James feels after he is left alone. Blood drips from the uncountable bites on his body and the creatures are relentless and ruthless in their mass attack. Help eventually comes, but not after James experiences a world of agony and pain. In a way, this scene (which succeeds wonderfully) represents a transition from young Bond to the adult 007. Charlie Higson proves he can make a scene like this work very well. The violence is increased, but sex still remains very PG. Bond tries to resist Vendetta's uncontrollable attempts to kiss him, thinking the action to be embarrassing. He does however kiss her 'hard on the mouth' when trying to get a point across, but the idea of Amy as a girlfriend is 'nonsense' to him.

Do not resist this second Young Bond novel if you did of SilverFin because the idea seemed too childish or silly. Charlie Higson is an accomplished writer and his work on Blood Fever is definitely deserving of praise. This is the best kind of Bond novels--young or old. It grips you from the start and truly does not let go until the conclusion. The characterization is deep and rich, the settings described in detail, and the plot interesting and exciting. Equally as important, there is a point: Blood Fever continues young James Bond on the road to 007. Both James Bond and the readers are in for quite the journey. I eagerly look forward to Young Bond Book #3..
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on 3 January 2006
Bond is back and this time he’s in bigger trouble both in and out of school. Being a member of the Danger Society isn’t helping matters but running over the rooftops of Eton makes James’ boxed up life at school slightly more bearable. Lessons seem dull and his adventures of the previous half seem unreal until a fellow student’s family tragedy links mysteriously back to one of James’ nights on the tiles.
What have shadowy figures speaking a dead language got to do with a series of robberies from his friend’s homes? James finds himself caught up in a variety of strange circumstances which seem to stem from the ancient school itself. Only in Young Bond can a school trip to Sardinia turn into a fully-fledged 007 mission. James finds his concentration jumping quickly from his studies to fix on conspiracy theories about murder at sea, a missing girl and a double M insignia. He follows an ancient art trail which leads him into the heart of a secret Italian society - thought to exist only in history books. Can James uncover the truth, rescue the girl and escape with his life?
This is the eagerly awaited sequel to 'Silverfin', it’s a fantastic read full of far-fetched settings, charm, one-liners, amazing adventures and some sticky situations. The baddies are up to scratch and the action-packed writing kept me glued until the end. Young Bond has all the ingredients for a classic cult following.
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on 1 January 2014
I think Blood Fever was a 5 star book, but a little scary. That's why I gave it 4 stars. Nearly every chapter ends in a cliff hanger and I like the way the author changes from one person's point of view to another.
I'd recommend it to children of 10 or over.
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on 4 May 2006
I enjoyed Bloodfever from the start. The book is interesting and exciting throughout and I couldn't put it down. One of the best books I have ever read (although I haven't read that many as I am twelve) and I recommend it to readers of all ages.

The plot can seem far-fetched at times and some description isn't great but overall I don't have many criticisms.

The book is about a group of Italian bandits who kill an Eton boy's father and take his sister prisoner. James then comes on a school trip to the area and stays at his cousin's house. They then get burgled by the bandits and James' new friend, Mauro gets killed. James goes to the bandit's fortress to avenge his friend. He then gets caught and almost eaten alive by mosquitoes before escaping and rescuing his schoolmate's sister and returning home. I think this book is slightly better than the last, Silverfin, but Silverfin is a very good book too so I also recommend it.
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on 4 May 2006
This a very gripping book, with many twists and turns. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this action/adventure story.

An Eton boy's dad is killed and his sister taken at sea. James Bond saw, one night, at the Danger Society(a club of boys at Eton)two men talking in Latin. Did this have anything to do with the attack at sea? When James visits his cousin's house in Sicily, he finds out sooner rather than later.

This book was good because of the strong words used and the quick, action, cliffhanging chapter endings. It also has a clever story line.

Sometimes it was hard to understand and the characters appeared out of nothing.

But overall a very good read and I would recommend it.
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on 20 December 2012
My Son, who is 8 years old, has recently become enamoured with the James Bond film franchise since I introduced it to him when I bought the blu ray movie collection.
Since then he has watched most of the films and thoroughly enjoyed them so I thought this series of books would be fun for him.
He read them in a matter of days and thought they were fantastic and I'm happy because the subject matter in the films is sometimes a tad too dark for a pre-teen whilst these books are perfect.
My Son highly recommends them.
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