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 Carte Blanche reviews

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Loomis
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:57 am

tiffanywint wrote:
And what Deaver did with the villain twists was simply nuts. The big reveal at the end required more foreshadowing. In fact it hardly worked as a major reveal. The real impact was achieved when we learned that the supposed big bad was really a dud. Who the real big bad might actually be wasn't that interesting, as we were already heavily invested in Hydte, with Dunne as henchman. Willing just turned out to be the next available candidate. Almost like a consolation lead villain with the other two having ultimately not measured up. Very strange way to deal with Bond-book villainy.
The ultimate lead villain of the piece, was thus essentially invisible for most of the book.Meanwhile Deaver essentially wasted the character that he had taken great pains to develop as an interesting lead villain in the Fleming style.

Funnily enough, the status of whatshername as the ultimate lead villain doesn't even work after she's been revealed, for I still automatically think of Hydt as the CARTE BLANCHE bad guy - I'd completely forgotten the very existence of whatsername until you mentioned it, so paltry is the character's impact.

tiffanywint wrote:
Again, I wouldn't object to a second Deaver Bond, just to see what he comes up with second time around. Better Deaver, than nothing I say.

If the Bond novels are going to continue to be so unBondian, so unFlemingian and (what is even worse) so thumpingly dull and mediocre as thrillers, then I'd honestly rather have nothing. They've mostly been this crappy since COLONEL SUN, have been this crappy for the past few years (despite the hiring of alleged top talent like Deaver and Faulks), and there's no indication whatsoever that things will ever change.

The main problem with the continuation novels is that they're pitched squarely at people who know Bond almost exclusively from the films and have almost certainly never picked up a Fleming (regular people, in other words) and aim to be, in effect, Eon Bond films in book form. Their literary value is negligible, and I don't mean to use the word "literary" in a snobbish way - what I mean is that they barely function as novels at all. They read more like detailed synopses for films. There's no atmosphere, no substance, no flavour - no discernible authorial "voice".

And another big problem is that IFP appears to be far more conservative and risk-averse than Eon. One might expect the reverse to be the case, but it isn't. The continuation novels play it much safer and more blandly than the films. I believe it's The Bond Files by Andy Lane and Paul Sampson (Simpson?) (excellent book, BTW) that makes the point that the Bond novels have rarely if ever been made to the same standard of quality as the films since COLONEL SUN.
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Gravity's Silhouette
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:02 am

tiffanywint wrote:
The big reveal at the end required more foreshadowing. In fact it hardly worked as a major reveal. The real impact was achieved when we learned that the supposed big bad was really a dud. Who the real big bad might actually be wasn't that interesting, as we were already heavily invested in Hydte, with Dunne as henchman.The ultimate lead villain of the piece, was thus essentially invisible for most of the book.Meanwhile Deaver essentially wasted the character that he had taken great pains to develop as an interesting lead villain in the Fleming style.

Excellent summation. I totally agree. Sometimes it's better to quit when you're still ahead. Deaver had an almost perfect Bond novel...lots of spying....inter-agency politics....lots of gun knowledge....action and travel....and then lost it a bit by trying for too much there at the end.

In the next novel we need more emphasis on Bond as a dark character, as well as exploring whether Bond's parents were spies.....He's already got me hooked on the next adventure.
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tiffanywint
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:28 am

Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
In the next novel we need more emphasis on Bond as a dark character, as well as exploring whether Bond's parents were spies.....He's already got me hooked on the next adventure.

Yes there is the possibility for a better second effort. I can empathize with Loomis though. I wouldn't fault anyone from walking away from literary Bond after these last two efforts.

And I agree with Lane and Simpson, Bond Files (a good read), that Book-Bond has paled in terms of quality when compared with the films. Yes, IFP are probably guilty of being too conservative with the character. They do have to be careful to protect the character, but not to the point that the writers are boring box-checkers.

Personally I think the author that has proved himself is Charlie Higson with his Young Bond books. He's a legit Bondphile, unlike Deaver and Faulks. Higson could probably navigate the IFP tightrope, yet still come up with something Fleming worthy,orignal and entertaining.
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Santa
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:54 pm

tiffanywint wrote:
Yep, we know why Faulks was bad, because he was saddled with the conceit of writing as Ian Fleming, a thankless task, which he didn't seem to take too seriously
What annoys me about the whole thing is that I believe Faulks actually is a talented enough writer to have pulled it off. I can't honestly say why it went wrong - whether it's because he didn't take the whole job seriously enough or because he rushed it or whatever, but I do believe Faulks is capable of writing a great Bond novel, even as Fleming. So why didn't he?

Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
In the next novel we need more emphasis on Bond as a dark character, as well as exploring whether Bond's parents were spies
Ewwww, Bond as a dark character is great but I hate the backstory guff with his parents.
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Santa
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:58 pm

tiffanywint wrote:
Personally I think the author that has proved himself is Charlie Higson with his Young Bond books. He's a legit Bondphile, unlike Deaver and Faulks. Higson could probably navigate the IFP tightrope, yet still come up with something Fleming worthy,orignal and entertaining.
I agree with you there 100%. I know some people find the very idea of Young Bond upsetting but forget all that, the writing was easily the most, er, Flemingian (Flemingo?) I have seen outdide of actual Fleming.
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Harmsway
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:57 pm

Santa wrote:
Ewwww, Bond as a dark character is great but I hate the backstory guff with his parents.
Yeah, reading that was a part of CARTE BLANCHE was a major turn-off.
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Fairbairn-Sykes
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:58 pm

Yeah, I mean, frankly it's just unbelieveable, and it kinda throws Bond into "he became a spy because it was his DESTINY!!!!" kinda bullshit. It pisses me off enough that Stan Lee made Peter Parker's parents into spies when he was finally pressed on their backstories in the 70s.
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Mon Sep 12, 2011 5:24 pm

Santa wrote:
tiffanywint wrote:
Personally I think the author that has proved himself is Charlie Higson with his Young Bond books. He's a legit Bondphile, unlike Deaver and Faulks. Higson could probably navigate the IFP tightrope, yet still come up with something Fleming worthy,orignal and entertaining.
I agree with you there 100%. I know some people find the very idea of Young Bond upsetting but forget all that, the writing was easily the most, er, Flemingian (Flemingo?) I have seen outdide of actual Fleming.
Higson seemed to be in tune with the character. Even if Young Bond's adventures were rather outrageous for such a young chap, Higson did seem to capture what Fleming's Bond might have been like as 13-15 year old.
I think what distinguishes Higson is that he is a Bondphile. He's a core fan. Unlike established writers like Faulks and Deaver who were invited in to take a stab. I'm not sure what Gardner's Bond credentials were prior to his first book, but he certainly proved commited, penning 16 books total.
Benson we know was a Bondphile, while Amis and Pearson were both Fleming contemporaries and had the advantage of being very close to the original book's publishing.
I think turning things over to a proven writer with serious Bond cred like Higson is the way to go.
Nothing says that Higson's books couldn't be launched with the same fanfare as the last two books.
Promotion is one thing that IFP is doing well - hyping the hell out of these books, so that more than the usual suspects buy them. Then again, money always talks. If IFP thinks that sales are being generated by tapping into big name author's loyal readership, as well as the core Bond readership, they may just continue with what they are doing, and happily bank their cash.
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Fairbairn-Sykes
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:18 am

That being said, I think if anything Higson's generated enough buzz simply with the Young Bond novels.
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tiffanywint
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:24 am

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
That being said, I think if anything Higson's generated enough buzz simply with the Young Bond novels.

I don't know what numbers they've got to crunch, but I do think they are primarily motivated by sales figures. As a reader, I'd like to see Higson because of his Bond cred. I think he'd write a much better book than anything, anyone else is likely to come up with.
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Harmsway
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:00 am

I was able to pick up CARTE BLANCHE for a buck at a local used booksale, so I guess I'll give it a go. Can't say I'm excited, but hey, it's Bond.
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6of1
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:07 am

Harmsway wrote:
I was able to pick up CARTE BLANCHE for a buck at a local used booksale, so I guess I'll give it a go. Can't say I'm excited, but hey, it's Bond.


A buck is still several times its actual worth in entertainment value. Personally I regret every second I invested in that book. But go right ahead, I'd like to hear what you make of it.
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Gravity's Silhouette
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:29 am

6of1 wrote:
Harmsway wrote:
I was able to pick up CARTE BLANCHE for a buck at a local used booksale, so I guess I'll give it a go. Can't say I'm excited, but hey, it's Bond.


A buck is still several times its actual worth in entertainment value. Personally I regret every second I invested in that book. But go right ahead, I'd like to hear what you make of it.

:o Not sure I understand the strong feelings against the book by some. Is it because it's clearly a modern, updated take on 007? Deaver is acknowledged as a very gifted author, so I assume the problems with the book aren't because of a lack of talent. I'm not sure what, short of Fleming coming back from the grave to pen a new set of novels, would satisfy the fans these days. There was universal derision for Benson, Faulks, and surprisingly a significant amount of fans don't like Deaver either.

What am I missing here? I thought CARTE BLANCHE was an interesting first step, and hope to see more from Deaver.
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:53 am

I am an avid reader of Deavers work, have currently the latest Lincoln Rhyme lying next to my bed. I do very much like his reading..................But even I found the CB novel lacking something, I do not mind the update but somehow the novel didn´t feel like his other work. It felt somewhat forced, something I rarely have with this particular writer. Normaly I do expect a twist in the tale at the end this one was exactly the one I expected and that was a first for me with Deaver.

That said I wouldn´t mind reading a second effort by Deaver, perhaps now that he has done it he can relax a bit.

I do not see the problems some folks have with the continuation novel by other writers than Fleming. I rate the Wood novelisations very high, Gardner was hit and miss but quite a few hits in my humble opinion. Even Benson wasn´t a total waste his trilogy was actually quite decent and the final novel in Japan was quite a nice read. Amis is a fine read too. What surprised me was Higson, the quality of his work with the Young Bond made me hope he would do a grown up 007 tale one day, especially in the original timeframe of Flemings Bond. Faulks I have read only once and remember too litlle to be really upset about it, did like the period piece especially having it situated in the Middle East (it somewhat reminded me of James Leasor´s novel about a certain Doctor Love in Beirut).

I am glad we still have a new Bondtale ever so often around. Yes and complaining about it keeps these forums alive while there is nothing else too moan about on the various Bondfora.
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:26 am

Well said above St Mark. Even though I reserve the right to "critique" Deaver's CB, I still do appreciate that he got the thing written and published and in stores for me to read. Over the years, I have enjoyed all of the Bond continuation writers. As a Bond-lit fan its good to have these books to read, even if some are better than others. Even Faulks book was quite readable when all was said and done.

I'd be happy to have another one from Deaver even if he wouldn't be my first choice. First choice would be Higson, but Deaver will do, if that's what IFP decides they want to do. Just give me another book please.:)
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:34 am

saint mark wrote:
I am an avid reader of Deavers work, have currently the latest Lincoln Rhyme lying next to my bed. I do very much like his reading..................But even I found the CB novel lacking something, I do not mind the update but somehow the novel didn´t feel like his other work. It felt somewhat forced, something I rarely have with this particular writer. Normaly I do expect a twist in the tale at the end this one was exactly the one I expected and that was a first for me with Deaver.

I thought the villain was quite interesting. I had the luxury of never having read Deaver before, so I had no preconceived notions of how good or bad he could. I found the women in the book much more layered and interesting than I've seen in a while. I still haven't fully gotten the sort of "reboot" from the films or the books that I would want: namely, a story that truly shows us how Bond got to where he is today. BATMAN BEGINS probably provides the best template for what I'm looking for.
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:46 am

Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
saint mark wrote:
I am an avid reader of Deavers work, have currently the latest Lincoln Rhyme lying next to my bed. I do very much like his reading..................But even I found the CB novel lacking something, I do not mind the update but somehow the novel didn´t feel like his other work. It felt somewhat forced, something I rarely have with this particular writer. Normaly I do expect a twist in the tale at the end this one was exactly the one I expected and that was a first for me with Deaver.

I thought the villain was quite interesting. I had the luxury of never having read Deaver before, so I had no preconceived notions of how good or bad he could. I found the women in the book much more layered and interesting than I've seen in a while. I still haven't fully gotten the sort of "reboot" from the films or the books that I would want: namely, a story that truly shows us how Bond got to where he is today. BATMAN BEGINS probably provides the best template for what I'm looking for.

Trust me he can do much better.
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:33 am

Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
I still haven't fully gotten the sort of "reboot" from the films or the books that I would want: namely, a story that truly shows us how Bond got to where he is today.
Pearson's AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY pretty much covers those bases.

Not that I'm interested in a true-blue origin story for Bond. I'm all origin story-ed out, and Bond, frankly, isn't the kind of character who should have an "origin story," per se. There shouldn't be a singular, decisive moment that makes him who he is, as there is with Batman.
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:14 am

Harmsway wrote:

Not that I'm interested in a true-blue origin story for Bond. I'm all origin story-ed out, and Bond, frankly, isn't the kind of character who should have an "origin story," per se. There shouldn't be a singular, decisive moment that makes him who he is, as there is with Batman.

Perhaps, but as far as origin stories went, I thought CASINO ROYALE the movie left a lot to be desired.
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:22 am

Carte Blanche was a good enough read, and there were 'flickers' of the old 007 in there (although it would probably be naive to expect it to have 'starred' Fleming's Bond in this day and age anyway), but ... I dunno, it lacked something. Deaver overdid the twists and turns towards the end, IMHO.
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:11 am

I started reading it and then ended up putting it down with a shotgun....
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Hilly KCMG
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:20 am

Talk about overkill.
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j7wild
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:55 am

the book is a reboot... WTF?
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:58 am

Yeah. Trying to do what EON did in 06. About as equally successful in IMHO.
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PostSubject: Re: Carte Blanche reviews   Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:16 am

it's a shame!

I had high expectations for this book and I was excited to get it.

but then I started reading it and when I finally figured out it's a reboot, I had to put it down!!

where did Raymond Benson go?

did he retire?
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