Needing a relatively sedate and easy going story this weekend, I decided to pick up the next instalment of the James Bond franchise; Moonraker. With fond memories of the Roger Moore movie and having greatly enjoyed the previous Bond books I have read, I had high hopes. However, for once, Ian Fleming has let me down.

Unlike the previous two Bond stories, Moonraker seems to be an attempt by Fleming to write a mystery. Whereas in “Casino Royale” and “Live and Let Die”, James Bond is informed of his mission by M and Felix Leiter, in “Moonraker” Bond is largely left up to his own devices. Instead of an action packed story with a clear challenge and mission, Bond spends all his time attempting to find out exactly what is going on and why he is there. The result is a story that seems to meander along, with no challenge or sense of urgency.

However, the lackadaisical plot is not the book’s only problem. Unlike the previous two novels, which both contained very strong and very formidable foes; Sir Hugo Drax (the villain of Moonraker) is so ridiculous he is almost comic. The book also contains numerous weak scenes, including a rather central chase scene and even the villain’s confession and back-story.

Overall, the book just feels half assed. It comes nowhere close to the quality or imagination found in Fleming’s previous two books. The plot goes nowhere, and does so at the speed of a snail, the characters are largely cartoons of normal Bond characters, and by the time I got to the end I just didn’t care anymore. Would only recommend this book to people I didn’t like.

Title: Moonraker

Author: Ian Fleming

Pages: 256 (Paperback)

Publisher: Penguin Books

ISBN-10: 0142002062

ISBN-13: 978-0142002063

Josh’s Rating: 1/5