Hyperion Books for Children, 2005. 978-0-7868-3661-1
Synopsis: Fourteen-year-old James Bond has just started his first half at Eton and somehow managed to find himself at odds with George Hellborne, the son of an American benefactor. Bond seals his fate as an enemy when he foils George’s attempt to win in the Hellborne Cup competition, but smartly makes sure to stay clear of him and his cronies. But then James runs into a boy named ‘Red’ Kelly on the train to Scotland for the Easter holidays and convinced to help search for Kelly’s cousin, who has disappeared near the mysterious SilverFin Loch. James also spies George on the same train and learns that he and his father live in the castle overlooking the Loch, and begins to suspect that Hellborne may have something to do with the disappearance of Kelly’s cousin.
Why I picked it up: I’ve been on a Bond kick lately, and some classmates mentioned that this series is very popular in the libraries where they work.
Why I finished it: Bond is understandably different as a young man as opposed to his later 007 spy persona, but Higson manages to take a familiar character and make it his own. Young James is not quite the ladies man yet, nor has he begun to develop his suave nature known for wanting his martinis shaken, not stirred. Yet, there is something charming about the character in that he is striving to make right in the world. Like many other boys his age, Bond has his passions and his dislikes, and Higson brings this out in the story, though he arguably spends a lot of time trying to develop the characters and doesn’t leave much room for the plot to play out. The premise of the story was interesting if not predictable – Bond unknowingly stumbles upon some plan involving world domination and must foil the sinister mastermind’s plot before it is too late – but still interesting enough to keep the reader wanting more, eager to see if Bond will find a way out of whatever he gets himself into. The only real gripe I have with this first installment is that Higson is taking his time developing Bond’s character, and I worry that there will not be a lot of room to show a change in the character; however, since this is a series, I have some faith that the character will be fully fleshed out sooner rather than later.
Other related materials: Blood Fever (Young Bond Book 2) by Charlie Higson; Double or Die (Young Bond Book 3) by Charlie Higson; Hurricane Gold (Young Bond Book 4) by Charlie Higson; By Royal Command (Young Bond Book 5) by Charlie Higson; SilverFin: The Graphic Novel by Charlie Higson and Kev Walker; Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz; Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer; Danger Society: The Young Bond Dossier by Charlie Higson; The Enemy by Charlie Higson; The Kane Chronicles series by Rick Riordan; The Dead by Charlie Higson; Solder Boys by Dean Hughes; James Bond Novels by Ian Fleming; Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan; Stormbreaker: The Graphic Novel (Alex Rider Series Graphic Novels) by Anthony Horowitz, Antony Johnson, Kanako Damerum, and Yuzuru Takaskai; Cherub series by Robert Muchamore