27 September, 2012

Review - Legion by Brandon Sanderson

With Brandon Sanderson, you can always expect something unique and well thought out. It's not even a question. Well, maybe a bit because of that whole finishing the Wheel of Time thing...but otherwise, you can expect what I just said.

That's one of the best parts about reading Sanderson. Yeah, he's got great characters, compelling plot twists and stuff. But what makes him a pleasure to read is the way he makes something like epic fantasy vibrant and new. His unique ideas and magic systems become characters of their own and half the reason I continue to read is because I want to experience more of it.

Legion [US - only $2.99 on Kindle] [UK] is no exception. As the novella begins, "My Name is Stephen Leeds, and I am perfectly sane. My hallucinations, however, are all quite mad."

Leeds lives in a 47 bedroom mansion inhabited by himself...and his hallucinations. They are each unique, we're lead to believe, but we only deal with a few of them for this story.

His hallucinations tend to specialize in different things that help Leeds to be quite the problem solver, which lends well to detective work, not to mention the desire for every shrink in the world to want to study him.

The uniqueness to this story is that the hallucinations essentially make Leeds a genius. In some way that is not explained, as long as Leeds takes some time (a very short time actually) to familiarize himself with a particular discipline (such as weapons or linguistics), he will immediately create a hallucination that is an expert in that subject.

Having recently read The Hollow City, I can't help but wonder who had the idea first. I know Wells and Sanderson are friends. Not that they're exactly the same conept, they just both deal with a protagonist who has hallucinations. This one's much more Sandersonized (of course) with the well thought-out system whereas Wells' seems to be closer to actual schizophrenia.

In the end, it's a really fun concept and tons of fun to read, especially when for instance the hallucinations are tied up along with Leeds and one of them frees himself up to untie the rest. Or, when they drive, each of the hallucinations needs their own seat.

As if you needed any impetus to read this novella, just do it, have fun, be happy. :)

4 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

Note on Rating: While a fun concept (I know, I can't stop saying "fun"), it's not my favorite of his. I also prefer fantasy, so that plays a big part. I can see this concept expanding into more, but I think it really worked best with this shortened format. I think I would have tired of it were it any more, but I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to find out.:)


David Zaine Aarons said...

Apparently this novella is something of a prose pilot for a proposed TV series, which is a format I can see working very well for Leeds. Whether that show finds its way through the circuitous pipeline of television production, gets picked up, makes its way to air, and evades early cancellation, of course, remains to be seen.

Unknown said...

Interesting. I'm hugely behind when it comes to Sanderson. I have Warbreaker awaiting my attention, and Elantris is on the TBR pile too. Mistborn is the one one of his I've read to date, which is shameful.

Legion looks fascination, I will have to add it to the List.

Bryce L. said...

@David - Ah, a TV series would be pretty great coming out of this, you know as long as it makes it through all those hoops and is good. Sadly those two don't necessarily equate.

@Taztic - I'm also behind in my Sanderson. I have yet to read Mistborn, but I've read Warbreaker and WoK, both of which were amazing.