Who is Jason Bourne? Why does he have millions of dollars in a bank account in Zurich? Why does he have skills that only an assassin would have? Is he an assassin? You don’t know who Jason Bourne is? That’s okay, neither does Bourne. Robert Ludlum offers his readers one of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written with his international bestseller, The Bourne Identity, and it puts just about every other book in its genre to shape. If you have yet to read it, take a moment to slap your wrist then go to the local bookstore and read it. And I dare you to try to put it down.
If you’ve seen the blockbuster film, The Bourne Identity with Matt Damon, forget the plot because the plotline of the novel is about as different as oranges are from apples. The plotline here is much more complex and in all honesty – better. There are about as many twist and turns in this book as there are pages. Once you think you have everything figured out – you don’t. Ludlum crafts one of the best plotlines ever put to paper.
Despite the fact that Jason Bourne has no idea who he is for the majority of the book, he is still a strong character and one can’t help but feel sympathetic for him. He is a very flawed individual but someone who is obviously good at heart and someone who truly does want to do the right thing. Marie is also a strong character. She is very different from the character portrayed in the film but in all honesty, the one we meet in the novel is a much stronger character.
Ludlum is a gifted writer. His words keep the reader hooked and turning the pages. The only real flaw that he has as a writer is that the depth of this book doesn’t go beyond an engrossing story with great characters. This isn’t fine literature – yet, it’s not trying to be. Looking at this book for what it is – an action packed thriller – it’s as good of a book as you’re ever going to read. That said, with such a good story and character, Ludlum could have done a little bit more with emphasizing morality and/or social criticism which would make this book have the depth to take it to another level.
The Bourne Identity is not the kind of book where the reader is constantly anticipating a great and shocking climax. This is the kind of book where the reader just enjoys the ride and the twists and turns along the way. In fact, when I read the final words of this book, I was sad to see it end. This is definitely a long book, but I didn’t feel it. The Bourne Identity is one of the most engrossing books that you can ever read. This is the kind of book that puts the likes of Tom Clancy to shame. If you read one thriller this year – make it this book.
Content: R for violence, language, and sexuality