Friday, 25 November 2016

'Legion' by Brandon Sanderson (2012)

Synopsis: Legion is a sci-fi mystery novella and is the first in a planned trilogy. Stephen Leeds (a.k.a. "Legion") is a reclusive millionaire living in modern-day America and has been diagnosed with a multiple personality disorder. However, Stephen's real mental condition is considerably more unique and bizarre than this and is actually extremely useful to him. Stephen is able to hallucinate about many different "aspects" (imaginary persons) who all have their own specific personalities, skill-sets and knowledge. J.C. is a trigger-happy Navy SEAL and weapons expert, Ivy is a psychologist, Tobias is a historian and philosopher, Kalyani is a linguist, and so on and so on. Although Stephen is technically mad (and is of immense interest to the medical community), his various aspects help him to do almost anything and he's been able to earn a huge amount of money as a private detective. It's then that Stephen is approached by a woman called Monica who offers him a very unusual case: to track down a scientist called Balubal Razon who has been able to develop a special camera that can take pictures of the past. It turns out that Razon has now gone off to Jerusalem to try to find out if Jesus Christ truly existed so Stephen, Monica and the aspects all get on board the next available flight to Israel. However, the group soon discovers that finding Razon's exact location is the least of their problems as a dangerous terrorist group is also after the camera.

I wasn't originally planning on reviewing Legion for this year's Sci-Fi Month but as it's only a novella I was able to squeeze it in amongst the novels that I've been reading :)

Earlier this year I managed to read the original trilogy of Brandon Sanderson's epic high-fantasy Mistborn series (which I absolutely loved!) Now obviously since Legion is a far shorter work that belongs to a different genre and is set on modern-day Earth it made for a very different change of pace to The Mistborn and it certainly didn't compare to the richness, depth and overall brilliance of that trilogy - but that being said Legion was still a terrific little read! Its premise is fascinating, the writing is fast-paced and brisk, it's got plenty of action and mystery, and it even manages to touch on themes of faith, science, mental health, and politics. However, as much as I enjoyed its plot, the very best about Legion for me was without doubt its characters. I loved how quirky, eccentric and diverse Stephen's aspects all were - not just in terms of personality but also in terms of gender and race - and all of the amusing bickering that went on between them and Stephen :D

Although I do wish that this novella could have been longer and that the subplot concerning Stephen's mysterious ex-girlfriend Sandra could have been explored more, I had sooo much fun reading this novella. To be honest I wasn't in a good mood at all when I started it but it really cheered me up! I'm definitely looking forward to reading this book's sequel Skin Deep now and more of Sanderson's fantasy and sci-fi works in general of course! Once I'm done with Skin Deep, I'm thinking either Warbreaker or Steelheart will be my next Sanderson reads...

Rating: 4/5


Rinn said...

I love Sanderson, he is such a genius. This is one I still have yet to read though. :)

Hannah said...

Rinn - Yes, he's the best storyteller that I've come across in fantasy since Neil Gaiman! I hope you'll enjoy this one when you eventually get around to it :)