Book Talk: Moonraker by Ian Fleming

Book Talk: Moonraker by Ian FlemingMoonraker by Ian Fleming
Length: 7 hrs, 28 mins
Series: James Bond #3
Published by Blackstone Audio on August 27, 2014
Genres: Thriller, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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The Moonraker project has a millionaire backer, the war hero Sir Hugo Drax—a man who, it seems, cheats at cards. With a ballistic rocket at stake, Sir Hugo’s exposure could threaten Britain’s latest defense system, so James Bond is asked to investigate. Moving from London’s most exclusive gambling club to a missile silo on the Channel coast, 007 and his Special Branch assistant, Gala Brand, discover there’s more to Drax than meets the eye.

It will shock absolutely no one to hear that I’m not a big James Bond fan. I do like the Daniel Craig Casino Royale, but otherwise I mostly just enjoy the theme songs to some of the movies. They’re such male fantasies, complete with objectification of women and a lack of emotion, that I really just cannot. I’ve read the novels of Casino Royale and Live and Let Die, the first of which I mostly liked and the latter of which I hated. Though I didn’t have serious plans to continue the series, I was suckered in by the celebrity narration, because that is very Christina approved. Moonraker‘s nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be, but it wasn’t great either.

Interestingly, I started the audiobook directly after DNFing Storm Front (aka the first Dresden Files) for being too fucking sexist. It’s weird that I actually found Moonraker less sexist, perhaps partially due to a difference in expectations. There’s definitely some sexism in the book, especially in the fact that women are very much considered initially in terms of attractiveness and then by their marital status before their actual accomplishments. Aside from that, though, it’s about a billion times less sexist than the movies. Hell, apparently the movie changed the woman’s name from Gala Brand to Holly Goodhead. So yeah.

Bond actually doesn’t even get to sex a lady in Moonraker, which was shocking. And he’s actually way less of a badass than he is in the movies; he plays bridge and dreams of when he can retire from the service and be safe. Seriously, I laughed my ass off that about a third of this book is about a bridge game; my parents play bridge and it’s like the least cool card game ever made. (Sorry not sorry if you love bridge but I know what I’m talking about.) He goes to save the captured pseudo love interest/lady companion and just gets captured himself, which I rather enjoyed. The woman is not a reward; in fact, she’s characterized as incredibly smart and Bond wants her, but she’s already in love with someone else and not about to cheat with Bond.

Mostly, though, Moonraker bored me. It starts out with a bit of Bond’s daily non-mission life, aka reading completely random memos and thinking about his secretary. Then about a third of the book is a bridge game, as I already mentioned which despite being high monetary stakes is not a high stakes plot. Then there’s a lot of really slow investigating as Bond and Gala try to figure out what’s going on with the Moonraker project. The character development is not sufficient to make me interested in this.

Though I was more impressed with this book than I expected to be, I mostly found it intellectually interesting to see the differences between movie Bond and book Bond. Like, the fact that the movies made the Bond series like 300% more sexist is horrifying but also fascinating.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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