Legion by Brandon Sanderson

I was really looking forward to this book, but I have to say I’m glad I got Legion out of the library rather than buying it, as I’m prone to do with Sanderson’s books. I am generally a big Brandon Sanderson fan, and while Legion wasn’t a terrible book, I can’t see it as one I’d want to own because I will never read it again.

Stepping outside the boundaries of fantasy to explore the mind of Stephen Leeds, better known to everyone in the world as “Legion” on account of his unique psychiatric profile, Leeds has a mental condition that creates personalities to help him explore the infinite number of tasks and possibilities his mind is capable of performing. Need to learn a new language? Easy-peasy! I’ll just whip up a new personality proficient in Hebrew and adequately make my way through otherwise cumbersome conversations in a matter of hours thanks to that new personality. Trying to understand my obvious psychological problem? No worries! I’ve got a psychiatric personality who helps me analyze my own condition so I can better understand what’s happening to me (though… not really, not really at all).

Sounds like a super cool concept, and, in essence, it is. The mind is an incredible place, a tool capable of more than we can even begin to fathom even after centuries of analysis and study, so as a concept I definitely found it believable. However, the stories in Legion were originally written and released as novellas, and as I was reading I felt dropped into the middle of a lot of situations without much concept or relativity. It was as though the whole world knew everything there was about this super fabulous person who could do… well… everything. I was just an outsider who didn’t have a clue, so it took a lot to actually immerse myself in the stories, and just when I started to feel comfortable, the story was over and it was time to move onto the next one. This made it difficult to identify with the main character and really get a feel for his unique situation. A lot of the things he got wrapped up in felt unbelievably bizarre, which was kind of cool, but his underlying personal quest seemed sort of lacking by comparison to the information presented about him prior.

That being said, I didn’t dislike the book. I enjoyed it enough to see it through to the end, but overall it felt like a very flat read to me. According to a lot of other reviews, it seems to have been well-received, so I don’t discourage others from checking it out. Who knows, maybe this will be exactly the book you’re looking for. I guess all I can say is: To each their own.

I gave it three out of five stars.


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