Book Report: First Blood by David Morrell (1972)

I bought this book recently because I already had Rambo: First Blood Part II, the novelization of the movie, and thought I should read them in order. Also, it was cheap. I knew the book differed from the film (mostly in that Rambo lives for a sequel in the movie). So I picked it up as an intermission from a longer piece of classical literature that I’m only half way through.

At the onset, I loved the book. Morrell creates the situation and makes both Rambo and Teasle, the police chief who runs him out of town a couple times without true rancor and with only a dash of Respect My Authoritah! Ergo, the confrontation takes on the dimensions of a natural disaster, albeit one at which one simultaneously wants Rambo to get away (even though he snapped and killed a cop) and wants Teasle to capture him.

Unfortunately, about halfway through, the book stalls. Suddenly, Rambo turns back to slaughter more of the cops. Then the injuries start to accumulate, and both Teasle and Rambo get 18/00 constitutions and great feats of holding their poor bodies to keep in the novel. Yes, I know you cannot get 18/00 constitutions (or you couldn’t in Second Edition rules, which is when I quit shelling out money for D&D), but Morrell invents it for the book. The climax carries on for 50 pages or so, dabbles in mysticism and the hunter and the hunted, whichever the order is, and then ends poorly.

I’ll have to take another look at the film to see which I prefer; however, although I leaned toward the book at the beginning, I’ll probably end up preferring the movie.

Books mentioned in this review: