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Shyne (Liverpool)

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Casino Royale
Casino Royale
by Ian Fleming
Edition: Paperback

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ian Flemings debut novel: Suspense written with fast pace, 1 July 2007
This review is from: Casino Royale (Paperback)

Casino Royale is the place to start when looking for Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. It is the first book of which another 11 followed by the author himself, however other authors have continued the series. This novel was released in 1953 and was the starting point of an enterprise that would gain worldwide recognition. Inspiration for these books partly came from his time in the Naval Intelligence Division during WW2. Casino Royale was particularly influenced from his time in a Lisbon casino called Estoril Casino, which had a number of spies of warring regimes due to Portugal's neutral state.

Personal Opinion

This is the first time I have read a James Bond novel or any of Ian Fleming's work. I started it early evening and finished it the same night as it did have me enthralled with Fleming's quick pace and suspense filled action within the Casino. Unfortunately I seen the film earlier in the year and as the film stays quite true to the book I already knew the twists that take place. However I would still advise someone to read it if they have seen the film as I still enjoyed the book. I do think the book comes to a climax early on (the end of the casino chapters) and I felt as if I had come to the end of the book half way through. Yet overall the book is well written and Ian Fleming is very articulate without lavishing pages of description on setting, this style aids the books fast paced nature. A note to those who are inexperienced with casino practice or games (which I am having never been to one or played), Fleming provides a concise explanation of the main game played (Baccarat, unlike the Texas hold-em poker displayed in the film) and also portrays the atmosphere and setting well enough for me to feel competent about the main theme of the novel.

Other links: Casino Royale (film 2006), Casino Royale (film 1967), Live and Let Die (the second novel)

Robinson Crusoe (Penguin Popular Classics)
Robinson Crusoe (Penguin Popular Classics)
by Daniel Defoe
Edition: Paperback

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Traditional and factual. Hard to complete comapared to modern novels, 23 Jun. 2007
Robinson Crusoe is claimed to be one of the first novel's written in English (1719) and is a fictional autobiography of a man who is from a very average family in England at that time. The story moves from the main characters moving out of his family home and travelling the seas to his eventual shipwreck off the American coast.

I read this book over an extended period of time due to exams in School but also because they book is very laborious with a completely different style of writing to contemporary writers. At times it is written very factually that reminded me of a non-fiction book such as the treatment of certain animals and how to tame them.

For looking into how literature started and an abstract insight into general life in these times, the first part of the book, the story can be of relevance and provide enough stimulation to finish. Also as many reviewers have mentioned before the novel is also allegorical with the classic shipwrecked story on one level and the deep insight into humanity and how humans behave on the other. Despite some believing that this second level of thought provides more entertainment to the story and makes the book worth reading I personally did not find that stimulating.

However despite its downfalls I still believe Robinson Crusoe to be worth reading for its literature value (as in what the book did for literature, moving it along etc), but it also captures the practical issues with being stuck on a desert island very well. If looking for a page-turner I wouldn't advise this book but the storyline is still appealing.

Other links: Defoe went on to write a lesser known sequel: The further adventures of Robinson Crusoe.

Film: Castaway

Dies the Fire (Roc Science Fiction)
Dies the Fire (Roc Science Fiction)
by S. M. Stirling
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.20

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, slow pace, 28 April 2007
I have never read any of S.M. Stirling's work before and so therefore cannot comment on any comparisons that can be made with the 'island in the sea of time' books etc.

However, regardless of this the book was very well executed with an immersive world that is vividly described with pages of work. Personally this daunts me slightly as I prefer the book to move quite fast, yet I perservered and the sheer idea alone held my attention for the whole novel. Perhaps the book would feel very superficial if it did not have the level of description Stirling has embedded into it, due to the fact so many things have to be established to the reader after the Change.

After adjusting to the style I really enjoyed the story and I think anyone who finds the idea of a post-apocalypto world exciting then this book will fulfill the void. Yet the only reason it is four stars is that the descriptive writing can become tedious and not a lot happens throughout the whole novel and each task etc is very progressive over chapters.

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