Continuing with my collection of Bond audiobooks, I started listening to Diamonds Are Forever to kick off the beginning of my latest placement and thus the start of long commutes. Every evening for the past week or so I have spent my journey home delving back into the world of espionage and following James Bond through another assignment.
So did I enjoy this instalment? Yes and no. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by my previous acquaintances with Dr No and Goldfinger but I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as those Bond novels. Not to say that I didn’t like it. On the contrary, the excitement and action was some of the most thrilling, especially towards the latter end of the novel with a train chase. The ever changing scenery from London to an American race course, Las Vegas casinos to an old Wild West town and a cruise ship was constantly engaging and ensured you never got bored or dared lapse your concentration or you would miss an entire section of the plot.
I also loved the characters. Felix Leiter, one of my favourite Bond characters, makes an appearance and true to form, makes you laugh and stimulates some of the more interesting action scenes. Tiffany Case, the obligatory Bond girl, is another amazing character. Named after the jewellery case her father left as a parting gift for her mother after the disappointment of having a daughter rather than a son, Tiffany is a changeable, adaptable and interesting character. She has a lot more depth than quite a few of the other Bond girls and you feel genuinely interested in her and her interactions with Bond.
However, having finished the novel, I was left wanting. There is so much action in the middle section of the book that the less than climatic ending seems somewhat odd and ill thought out. It was almost like Fleming got to the last chapter and thought “Ugh, I guess I have to wrap this all up.” And put as little effort in as he could get away with. It is a stark contrast to the rest of the book which lives up to the high calibre of the series.
I would definitely recommend this book, despite the ending. It has some interesting twists and turns and keeps you hooked and wanting more. Just don’t expect that absolutely, mid-blowing epic ending and everything will be awesome!