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Silverfin (Young Bond Series #1)

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  • Posted February 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    James Bond Book 1

    A good start. But a shame the story had to be written in the 1930's. It should have been done in the 1970s to make it current.
    I would recommend Cherub books, Alex rider and Jason Steed first.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2007


    Much less a Bond novel and more a mix of pure boy's tale and a Hardy Boys mystery 'with a little of the improbable thrown in', Silverfin is nonetheless enjoyable for about 2/3 of its length. As it nears completion, however, Silverfin firmly establishes that as a Bond novel 'young Bond it may be', it's not really up to the challenge. The plot is just a little too leisurely, with mild happenings and too little genuine suspense. The mad scientist/villain is more pulp cliche than Bond standard, and the 'creepy old castle' headquarters seems like an uninspired attempt to capture a 1930s child mystery flavor. Silverfin is also marked by a disturbing level of violence and cruelty toward animals, inappropriate for young readers. In sum, Silverfin is limited by several genre conventions that fail to gain the book any clear separation or distinction from past pulp adventures in this case, 'Jimmy' Bond emerges as just another entry in the boy hero roll call.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2005

    Should have been outstanding

    James Bond is such a well known and riveting character that the opportunity was here to write something brilliant. But perhaps that was also a hindrance. The first half of the book is unbelievably slow. If you make it past there, the action picks up, but for many readers - especially boys - it will be too late by then. Much better examples of the genre, books which will have readers gripped and enthralled, are already out there - the Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz and 'Jimmy Coates: Assassin?' by Joe Craig.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2005

    A View From A Bond Fan

    Critics complained that John Gardner and Raymond Benson could never step free of the shadow of Ian Fleming in their 007 'continuation novels.' The good news is Charlie Higson has finally stepped clear of that shadow...the bad news is he's landed squarely in the shadow of J.K. Rowling. Far too much of SilverFin reads like a Harry Potter clone, and while this may please the pre-teen target audience, it makes Young Bond #1 a tough read for the more seasoned James Bond fan. (But make sure you read this review to the end¿it get's better.) After a thrilling opening prologue that would not be out of place in a legitimate...err, I mean, adult James Bond novel, we meet young Bond as he arrives at Eton in the 1930s. Like Potter, James is an orphan sent to a school filled with eccentric headmasters, odd slang, and old rituals. Like Potter, he is polite and self-effacing. For much of the novel he is really an observer of more talkative and flamboyant characters. In what is certainly a low point of young Bond's masculine development, Wilder Lawless, the spunky 'girl' of the story, wrestles him to the ground and shoves leaves into his mouth. This is clearly NOT Fleming's Bond. It's not even Roger Moore's Bond. But know this is also by design¿ It's no spoiler to say Young Bond #1 is a story of transformation and that, by the end of the novel, the timid boy has via his experience found his 007 steel and menace. If nothing else, this book HAD to be that. And when Bond finally shakes off his yammering Potteresque companions, the action of the final third of the book is downright thrilling! Age becomes less of a factor when Bond is facing off with a madman or battling for his life in the waters beneath a Scottish Castle. It's here Higson begins to channel Fleming at his best and shows us the true potential of a Young Bond series. For this old Bond fan, the final third was a last minute save; a rousing return to Bondian basics with a dash of sci-fi horror thrown in. I would still rather be reading the adventures of an adult 007, but like young Bond himself, I found myself transformed in the end by SilverFin. So for those die-hard Bond fans predisposed to not liking the Young Bond series, know that SilverFin will probably not change your mind, and I recommend seeking out a secondhand copy of John Pearson's superb James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007, which offers up a far more interesting -- or at least more adult -- version of young Bond's upbringing. But for those more pliable fans, like myself, who have enjoyed the various 'continuation novels' and are willing to gamble on this Young Bond series, SilverFin will satisfy. It's a good start. I just hope Higson will shake off the Harry Potter contrivances and edge back toward that shadow of Ian Fleming in Book #2.

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    Posted December 15, 2008

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