Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Book Review: "Legion" by Brandon Sanderson

This is the ebook cover.
Once in a while, an author comes along whose work I enjoy so much that I take a leap of faith and buy their future books without borrowing them to preview before I buy. Brandon Sanderson is on that list, with good reason. I think what he has done in finishing "The Wheel of Time" series is nothing short of genius. He took a series that had become a bit sluggish (and I'm a huge fan, don't get me wrong, even with slow phases, this series is better than anything else out there) and revived it, like Dr. Frankenstein, injecting life and energy and vitality back into it. I, along with millions of other fans, anxiously await the release of book 14 (!) in January.

In the meantime, I am slowly listening to the audiobooks of the first 13 (slowly because I read about 6x faster than the narration... and only listen to a little here and there) and enjoying the odd non-fantasy book on the side. Yesterday, much to my happy surprise, my copy of Sanderson's novella "Legion" arrived.

First impression? Glee! I love a new book. Second impression? Sheesh. I spent over $20 (including shipping) on this little thing? When they called it a novella, they weren't kidding! It only took me a few hours to read, and would have been much less if I wasn't required to cook my family dinner and give a neighbor a ride somewhere... at any rate, it's a very quick read, and I would have liked it to not cost me so much for just a short moment of entertainment. It's so short, it almost felt like a preview, created solely to hook readers into buying a whole series... hey, wait...

This is the HB cover.
However, as a would-be author myself, I do understand the wholly justified desire to make money from one's work, and I do like and want to support Sanderson, so I won't say anymore about the cost feeling exorbitant. 

And, after all, it was generously offered as an e-book for only $2.99. I just don't have an e-reader or iPad, so I opted for the book rather than to read it on my computer screen. Which makes my eyes leaky. :)

As for the story, true to my expectations, it is very good. The story is about a man named Stephen. He has a form of schizophrenia that causes him to see various people-- hallucinations, that he calls "aspects", which is how he comes to be nicknamed "Legion". The aspects are varied and unique and have different abilities, but together they add up to his being a genius. In this first book about him, he tries to find a camera that's been stolen-- a camera that can take photos of the past. He's doubtful, naturally, that it really can, and if it can, that it should. He is brilliant (with the help of his aspects) and remarkably sane for someone who hallucinates constantly. He is also likeable and self-aware, and able to do remarkable things.

I'm always on the hunt for something original to read, as most books have overly formulas and patterns, so it's refreshing to read something so completely unique. At least, in my reading experience, it is totally new and fascinating. I especially loved Stephen's observations on what would happen if time travel were possible--amazing! I've never, ever heard time travel discussed that way. I love it when an author makes me think, without overwhelming me, and by reading his book I feel like I've actually expanded my brain a little!!

As you can see, there are different covers for the different versions. I prefer the ebook cover-- it seems to capture Stephen's aspects better than the other, but the chaos of the other seems to capture the relationship of these "characters" better.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in something new, very well written, and thought-provoking. Excellent little book.


Anonymous said...

This book was AWESOME! I hear they'll make it into a movie.

With a premise like this... I just hope it doesn't get directed by M. Night Shyamalan. (Please God, no!)

Steph said...

Ha ha, I agree! :)