Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Books: The Bourne Supremacy

A few days ago I finally finished up the book I've been reading since the beginning of March, The Bourne Supremacy. I really enjoyed it, despite what you might think given the long time it took me to finish it. The slow pace was mainly because it was a relatively long book (~600 hardcover pages), I didn't take it on our trip and I wasn't reading very much at a time.

I was really impressed with The Bourne Supremacy, and pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. I was a little leary because although I enjoyed The Bourne Identity, I wasn't sure if I would like reading another book of the same style so soon afterwards.

In fact, initially I wasn't planning on jumping right into the Bourne Supremacy since I didn't own it (just Bourne Identity and Ultimatum). The plan was to pick it up on one of our trips to Half-Price Books. Instead, we happened to be at the library for another reason and I put in a request for the Bourne Supremacy on a whim. From the projected wait time I wasn't expecting to see it for a month or two, which would have been just fine. A week or so later I got a phone call that it had come in, and at that point I hadn't even finished the Bourne Identity yet. Let alone Hacking the XBox, and You Shall Know Our Velocity which were already in the queue. But once it came in, I felt silly saying "Now, I don't want it", so I checked it out for as long as you could and added it to the ever lengthening list of books to read.

Anyways, I am glad that I did, because it was quite a good book. The story seemed somewhat more complicated then the one in Bourne Identity, which I liked. I'm not sure if the story just seemed more complicated, since it had nothing to do with the movie, or if it actually had more twists.

Another thing that I liked about the Bourne Supremacy better then the Bourne Identity was that it didn't feel nearly as repetitive. Until the last hundred pages or so everything in the book felt very fresh. Even those last pages managed to keep my interest because I was anxious to see how everything worked out.

The book is largely set in the Far East which these days is pretty standard Spy-Novel fare, but seems like it would have been pretty forward thinking in 1986. Over the course of the plot the characters range all over, from Hong Kong to Mainland China, and everywhere in between. With all the different characters and their particular subplots, the book moves along at quite a good pace and never feels bogged down.

I really can't think of much about the book that I didn't like. Certainly it is a super-spy-book, so if you have a problem with suspiciously convenient coincidences and one-man penetrates the security of an entire army by himself, you probably won't like it. But otherwise, the book seemed well done.

After that glowing review, I am a bit nervous about the Bourne Ultimatum. For one thing, from what I have read it sounds like Bourne Supremacy is the high-point of the series. For another thing, three spy books roughly in a row might be a bit much. So I am planning to hold off on Ultimatum for at least a little while (I own it, so there is no time crunch).

For right now I've moved onto Softwar: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle. After that, well, I don't know.

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