Book review ; You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming
You Only Live Twice or YOLT as bond geeks call it is the 12th novel to feature the greatest fictional character of all time . Bond . James Bond. this one picks up directly after the heartbreaking ending of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service where Bonds wife of only a few hours is brutally gunned down and killed.
You Only Live twice kicks off 8 months after that with bond spiralling out of control and drinking and gambing heavily. As a last resort M decides to give Bond a final chance and dispatches him to carry out a mission in Japan.
Once there bond is told to kill a man known only as Dr.Shatterhand , Bond soon realises that this “Doctor” is Blofeld in disguise and blinded by inconsolable rage sets out to kill his greatest adversary
That sounds like the recipe for the perfect revenge thriller , unfortunately though it's all a bit disappointing . for me it starts going wrong the second Bond gets to Japan ,the book starts to read like a travelogue and it seems that Fleming was showing off his knowledge of Japanese culture , normally i love that sort of detail in bond books but here it was tiresome.
And while there is action scattered. throughout the book it's all over before it gets started .
However once bond sneaks his way into blofeld’s castle containing ‘the garden of death’, a popular suicide spot for the Japanese the whole thing goes completely batshit . Amongst other things you get the hilarious spectacle of Blofeld hunting down Bond in a suit of armour ,sadly the final confrontation between the two results in Bond *spoiler* strangling Blofeld to death , shortly after which Bond falls out of a hot air balloon and is presumed dead by MI6. Fleming even goes to the trouble of writing a rather touching obituary for Bond , which is by far my favourite part of the book.
There's a rumour on the internet that You Only Live Twice or at least the garden of death part will form the some basis of the much delayed Bond 25 and as hilarious as Christoph Waltz running around the grounds of a castle in a suit of armour sounds, i think it's best left alone. i think Bond going on revenge missions has been done to death And there's much better untapped literary bond material they could use
This is only the first time i've read you only live twice so i probably will revisit it at some stage and i may well change my mind but i'm afraid to say it left me a little bit cold, it's not all bad but like the film version its a disappointment .
Verdict : Good