- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Disney Books (Little Brown); 1 edition (April 30 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 078683661X
- ISBN-13: 978-0786836611
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 3.4 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 522 g
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #967,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Silverfin: A James Bond Adventure Hardcover – Apr 30 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9–Meet Bond–James Bond–at 14, before he became the suave, lady-killing international spy. An orphan, he attends Eton and lives with his Aunt Charmian during school breaks. While the premise for this prequel sounds intriguing, it fails to deliver. Action, adventure, and mystery are not a part of the plot until the end. While visiting his dying Uncle Max in Scotland, James discovers that his enemy at Eton, George Hellebore, is visiting his father, Lord Randolph, who owns the castle in the same town. On the train to Scotland, James met Red Kelly and learned that Red's cousin Alphie is missing. Rumor has it he disappeared near Loch Silverfin, which is part of the Hellebore estate. It doesn't take long for James and Red to determine that Alphie's disappearance is connected to the castle. Red Kelly, Meatpacker, Wilder Lawless, and her horse, Martini, are interesting and quirky characters while James is positively dull. He is merely a part of the plot instead of a driving force. The book may appeal to serious Bond fans, but for students who are looking for mystery and adventure, Anthony Horowitz's "Alex Rider" books (Philomel) are a better choice.–Angela M. Boccuzzi-Reichert, Merton Williams Middle School, Hilton, NY
Gr. 5-8. The name's the same--Bond, James Bond. But the face is different. And no wonder: the late Ian Fleming's fabled superspy is only 14 years old in this newly launched, lavishly promoted, high-concept series. Higson struggles heroically to incorporate all Fleming's trademark ingredients. There's a ravishing heroine (who rides a horse named Martini); a larger-than-life villain (a wealthy American with large, flashing white teeth who is "mad, I tell you, mad"); and lots of melodramatic nonsense about eels and eugenics. The problem is that young Bond is a bit of a cipher, and the story takes forever to get going. Then once things heat up, they go on too long and, worse, too predictably. Part of the problem is endemic to all new series: the need to establish characters, background, etc. But one hopes that Higson will give more attention, in future volumes, to fresher plotting and fleshing out the character of his hero. Michael Cart
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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 (kudos to Higson and the copyright holders for making these books period). 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 found his 007 steel and menace via his harrowing experience on Loch Silverfin. 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 (and maybe even surprise). 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.
The scenes with the killer eels are very disgusting and exciting at the same time. James Bond changes over the mission. In the beginning he is a bit weak but by the end he has courage and strength from going through so many dangerous experiences. At the beginning of the book he is intimidated by two bullies, at the end of the book he has the courage to call them overgrown monkeys and stare them down.
I will recommend this book to my friends even though at times the scenes with the eels made me want to hurl.
I have read the whole series, Hurricane Gold is another good Young James Bond book, but te last one "By Royal Command" was sleepy.
If you want to read a good series, try Alex Rider,Jason Steed, Jimmy Coates, Cherub and then come to this, its about 4th place, shame as the author already had the character given to him.