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Legion by Brandon Sanderson

Legion (original 2012; edition 2016)

by Brandon Sanderson (Author), Oliver Wyman (Reader)

Series: Legion (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4623722,468 (3.79)24
Authors:Brandon Sanderson (Author)
Other authors:Oliver Wyman (Reader)
Info:Brilliance Audio (2016), Edition: MP3 Una
Collections:Read in 2017

Work details

Legion by Brandon Sanderson (2012)



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English (35)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  All (37)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
This is one of those books that, while I loved immensely when I read it, I just couldn't put into words how much, or why. There was simply too much going on, too much to think about for me to put my thoughts in order. It's only now, when I have the sequel [b:Skin Deep|20886354|Skin Deep (Legion, #2)|Brandon Sanderson|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1404932663s/20886354.jpg|40227944] in my hands and have started to dig into it that I realize I should really try and say something about the original before inevitably writing a review of that.

So, let's talk about this book. First of all, it has perhaps the best opening line of any book I've ever read.My name is Stephen Leeds, and I am perfectly sane. My hallucinations, however, are all quite mad.How can you keep yourself away from a book that starts like that? It gives me goosebumps to even think about it. Maybe it's because I'm trying to become a writer myself, but that's just one of those perfect opening lines that, honestly, Brandon may never top in the entirety of his career.

-Deep Breath- Okay, moving on...

Legion is the story of a man with a mental illness that doesn't actually exist. He's schizophrenic, but in a uniquely helpful way. He can flip through a book and immediately absorb the content. Okay, nothing too new there, but instead of him actually having direct access to said knowledge it is compartmentalized in his brain as an imaginary person, or 'aspect', that advises him, and they all have unique personalities and feelings of their own. He's quite rich and lives in a mansion whose many rooms are devoted to housing these hallucinations, which he can't help but treat like real people. This leads to some interesting limitations. He can't bring too many with him at once, because he needs space in the car to fit them (which is why he typically rides in a limo). They don't always get along with each other, one of them has trouble coping with the fact that he's a hallucination, etc.

So that's the basic premise behind the main character and the series as a whole. The plot behind this first entry is equally as imaginative as the condition of the protagonist.

Leeds is hired to track down a scientist who stole his own invention from the company that funded his research. He created a camera that can take pictures of the past, and while he's a scientist he's also devoutly religious, and wants to use the camera to prove that Jesus Christ really existed by travelling to Jerusalem and, well, taking a picture of him.

For a Mormon whose religious beliefs are well-known, Brandon is a born writer, capable of seeing things from other people's perspective and entertaining beliefs that are not his own, so I never once felt like this was an attempt by him to force his beliefs on anyone. I'll try not to spoil the end too explicitly, but I will say that it dredges up some deep questions about whether absolute proof spoils the point of faith, and if humanity is ready for such proof anyway. It's kinda like that age-old question, "If you had absolute proof that god did or did not exist, would you tell the world or keep the information to yourself?"

My only complaint is that the book feels a little too short. I wanted more Stephen Leeds so bad when it was over, but since the sequel is out and it's much, much longer than this book is, I'd say that complaint has been quelled.

If you haven't read any Sanderson before, I'd say that this or [b:The Emperor's Soul|13578175|The Emperor's Soul|Brandon Sanderson|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1343059311s/13578175.jpg|19161502] is a fantastic place to start. They are both novellas, much shorter than his typically really long epic fantasies, but chock full of the same pure imagination and inventiveness that makes those books great. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that his short work is his best work. The only problem is that Legion is a limited release, with only a thousand copies having been printed (all of them are signed as well), so good luck finding a physical copy for under fifty bucks (which is what I paid). There is, however, a kindle edition available, and everyone in the world other than me seems to have a kindle, so there you go. For those who aren't down with the e-readers, The Emperor's Soul is readily available for purchase at a normal price, and I highly recommend it as well.
( )
  ForeverMasterless | Apr 23, 2017 |
Review originally posted on Goodreads.

This book was funny and exciting, which I'm surprised because it was so short. I was disappointed when it was over because I wanted more! ( )
  apollymipanthos | Feb 25, 2017 |
Very nice book. The only negative thing I can say about it is that it is too short... But other than that, an excellent concept with some hilarious remarks here and there. 'My hallucinations are about to drive me insane.' Really! ( )
  zjakkelien | Jan 2, 2017 |
I don't normally get too excited for short stories, but this one was a great read. Quick pacing and interesting characters, many of whom were imaginary, made this fun. ( )
  oswallt | Nov 25, 2016 |
Of course, as usual, Brandon Sanderson hits another out of the park. In this case, a quick 88-page novella. I read this in a couple hours in a single sitting, and it didn't feel like that at all. The story is so engaging. Really, it's hard to find flaws with the story.

All the characters, as is typical Sanderson, have deep personalities, and you quickly understand each of them as though they were real people. The concept as a story, is fascinating (more on that in a sec). Even better, even though this is a mere 88-pages in length, he manages to tell 3 stories in parallel, while also giving you enough background to the main character, to completely grasp what is going on. Which means the pacing is incredible.

The story focuses on Stephen, who seems to have a schizophrenic multiple personality disorder. He's schizophrenic in that fantasies play out as individual people that he can interact, and who can interact with him. He has multiple personality disorder in that his hallucinations all have character traits of their own. In fact, one of his personality projections is also schizophrenic, and has a character that that hallucination can communicate with, but Stephen cannot.

The main plot is about a camera that can take photos of the past. However, the camera must be in the physical location that the event took place. Brandon Sanderson (through the character Stephen) correctly explains that the planet is in motion, and when traveling in time, you will not be in the same physical location as the planet for that time reference. Unfortunately, Brandon only considers Earth's rotational spin, and orbit around the Sun, and doesn't take into consideration that our Solar System as a whole is also moving. So, never mind the rotational spin, and solar orbit- we've laterally moved through the Milky Way (which is also moving). So, moving back in time, you just won't get the same physical location in Space as when that event occurred. You will quite literally be looking at the void of space.

But, this is fantasy, so the author is granted a literal liberty, and he takes it. Regardless, the camera works, although it can't be explained how, where it can take a photo of the event, even if the Earth is in a different physical position. Okay, good enough.

The final story running in parallel, is apparently, Stephen has a romantic past. Not much is said about this past, but the fact that he hasn't closed that chapter (hah, pun intended) in his life must mean something.

Ultimately, the book stays one step ahead of you (which is remarkable giving the pacing of the book). You accept everything that is going on, until a new event happens, that makes you think back into the story, with that "AH HAH!" moment. Then you go along, until another happens. Then another. And another. You are always thinking you have it figured out, until a new wrench is thrown into your theory. All the way to the last page.

Well done. ( )
  atoponce | Oct 7, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brandon Sandersonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Foster, JonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Green, SamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyman, OliverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Daniel Wells, who gave me the idea.
First words
My name is Stephen Leeds, and I am perfectly sane. My hallucinations, however, are all quite mad.
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Solving mysteries
Using my schizophrenic

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"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"--From publisher description.… (more)

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