I was approached by the lovely people at AudioGo (the home of BBC audiobooks) to review one of their Bond audiobooks that have released for the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film (you’ve noticed there’s been a bit of publicity about that around, haven’t you?)
I was very honest and explained to them that I have never watched OR read a Bond, and it’s not the kind of thing that has ever appealed to me…but being a game bird, I was happy to give it a go. They threw in an Agatha Raisin book, so I was very happy.
As a Bond virgin, I felt it only right that I start with Casino Royale, to get a proper introduction. This particular book was read by the rather dashing Dan Stevens (apparently he’s been in something called Downton Abbey), and I think his voice suited the book totally. There was something very suave about it – and I loved the interview with him at the end when he tried to explain his inspiration for the character’s voices.
However, I am ashamed to say, I did not enjoy Mr Bond. It wasn’t just the sexism and casual racism – that’s to be expected from a book written by a man in the 50s – especially about a successful spy. It was the sentence structure that started winding me up…so much so that I couldn’t bring myself to listen to the second half of the book for 2 weeks.
As it was an (unabridged) audiobook, I obviously can’t go back to the exact words, but there was a lot of repition of words or phrases within paragraphs that became very jarring. I finished listening to it yesterday, and one part that I particular remember went something like, “His body arched in agony. Then his body sagged. Persperation started to bead all over his body.”
There were some surprising parts as a Bond virgin – he seemed to spend a lot of time naked, and I was extremely surprised when he fell madly and completely in love. I am guessing that the result of that is what turned him into the womaniser that I was expecting.
I’m glad that I can now say that I have ‘read’ a Bond (it was a bit like appearing on I’ve Never Seen Star Wars), but it is not an experience I can imagine myself repeating – although now that I’ve read it, I am slightly curious about seeing Daniel Craig in the role.
I can’t fault the fabulous audiobook though from AudioGo, and will definitely check them out for more in the future – I do like a good audiobook – and if you’re into Bond, there are 12 titles in all here, read by such wonderful names as Bill Nighy, David Tennant and Martin Lewis.
I’ve just noticed that they have some of the Young Bond titles by Charlie Higson, which I have to admit to having read two that I have really enjoyed, so I could be tempted by those! *goes to browse round AudioGo*