Series: Legion #1
on August 31, 2012
Genres: Adult SFF, Mystery
My Reviews in this series: Legion: Skin Deep
Brandon Sanderson is one of the most significant fantasists to enter the field in a good many years. His ambitious, multi-volume epics (Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive) and his stellar continuation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series have earned both critical acclaim and a substantial popular following. In Legion, a distinctly contemporary novella filled with suspense, humor, and an endless flow of invention, Sanderson reveals a startling new facet of his singular narrative talent.
Stephen Leeds, AKA “Legion,” is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the story begins, Leeds and his “aspects” are drawn into the search for the missing Balubal Razon, inventor of a camera whose astonishing properties could alter our understanding of human history and change the very structure of society. The action ranges from the familiar environs of America to the ancient, divided city of Jerusalem. Along the way, Sanderson touches on a formidable assortment of complex questions: the nature of time, the mysteries of the human mind, the potential uses of technology, and the volatile connection between politics and faith.
Resonant, intelligent, and thoroughly absorbing, Legion is a provocative entertainment from a writer of great originality and seemingly limitless gifts.
I really liked this one. Don’t hate/judge me but this is my first Sanderson read. HEY! I said don’t judge. I’ll get to his series soon (all of them are on my TBR practically because you GR people rate them so damn high).
And really, I’m not surprised that this short story turned out to be great. Especially when it starts of with a bunch of people living inside a person’s brain. Leeds has handfuls of people living in his mansion…only they’re not really people. They’re hallucinations conjured up by his knowledge.
It’s similar to BBC’s Sherlock‘s “Mind Palace” in which he recovers information by quickly putting his observations and knowledge together in his mind in order to solve mysteries. Only in this one, Leeds actually talks with his “hallucinations” in order to gain the information. They all have distinct personalities and variations of dialogue.
Luckily he doesn’t have people like this conjured up:
Or maybe I would have liked that more…
And at least they helped him rather than hindered him. THAT would have been chaotic:
“I didn’t know what would happen if one of my hallucinations shot me. How would my mind interpret that?”
Or maybe I would have liked that more…
If this is coming off as a bad review, IT’S NOT, I PROMISE! This is a really good story with awesome characters (particularly J.C. the gun-obsessed fanatic)–I like him mostly because his answer to any problem is:
The plot is basically about a camera that goes “missing,” not a big deal right? Except this camera takes pictures of the past and will unleash major chaos in the world as we know it! Leeds doesn’t want any part of it, but there’s a special someone he remembers from one of the pictures. Someone he’s just dying to find.
Thus, this little mini-adventure sets off with a big mystery to solve, action to be had, and underlying themes to appreciate.
Pretty awesome in my opinion.
Here’s some memorable quotes:
“‘I’m not going more mad,’ I said. ‘I’ve stabilized. I’m practically normal. Even my non-hallucinatory psychiatrist acknowledges that.'”
“‘I’m tired of being poked and prodded. I’m tired of being special'”
“‘Believe what you will,’ I said. ‘But I’m not a genius. My hallucinations are.'”
“‘You see people who aren’t there, Mister Leeds. It’s a difficult fact to get around’
‘And yet, I live a good life,’ I said. ‘Tell me. Why would you consider me insane, but the man who can’t hold a job, who cheats on his wife, who can’t keep his temper in check? You call him sane?’
‘Well, perhaps not completely…’
‘Plenty of ‘sane’ people can’t manage to keep it all under control. Their mental state–stress, anxiety, frustration–gets in the way of their ability to be happy…'”
Legion is not like any other Brandon Sanderson book I’ve read before. Because hey, it’s not a fantasy at all – and I think of Brandon Sanderson as one of the kings of Fantasy. But Legion is still just as good as anything else I’ve read by him but simply in a different genre. I would consider Legion to be more of a mystery, light thriller with some action adventure thrown in. It’s a super quick read – I don’t even know if it would take you an hour given that its 88 pages long.
The main character Stephen Leeds is a millionaire who solves problems, puzzles, situations or what ever for people. He does this with the help of many other people which are actually personal hallucinations of his (that he refers to as aspects). Supposedly that makes him schizophrenic…or a type or schizophrenic. Anyhow he functions really well all things considered. It reminded me of that show that recently started a year or so ago called ‘Perception’ which I really like and I don’t watch much tv.
Someone comes to him with a job, to recover a stolen camera – one that can take photos of the past. It seems Stephen really likes a good mystery. I definitely recommend it for a quick quirky read.
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