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Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson
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Legion: Skin Deep

by Brandon Sanderson

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Series: Legion (2)

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Looking back at my review of the first novella, Legion, I’m not really sure why I chose to read Legion: Skin Deep. Possibly I hoped it would improve? More likely, I just forgot that I wasn’t super thrilled with Legion and plunged head first into this one willy nilly.

Technically, you don’t need to read these books in order. The plot lines aren’t really related. The core concept of this novella series is the main character Stephan Leeds, who has hallucinations. However, these are no ordinary hallucinations. They appear whenever he studies any topic, gaining the knowledge that’s locked in his subconscious. They give him a panel of experts that he carry around with him at all times and allow him to have a lucrative job as an adviser and investigator.

In this installment, Stephan is hired by a bio-tech firm to recover a corpse that got stolen from the morgue. The body is that of a scientist who was experimenting with ways to encode information within human cells and who used himself as a research subject. He’s thus full of propriety information that the company desperately wants to recover.

Like a lot of novellas, the Legion stories are based around the concept of the hallucinations. It’s a fascinating concept. Unfortunately, nothing else about the book quite does it for me. Stephan just is not that interesting of a protagonist. His hallucinations have way more personality than he does. Plus, I noticed the same trend regarding character types as in Snapshot, another Brandon Sanderson novella, and it gets old fast.

The plot’s all right. It’s sort of a sci-fi thriller, with assassins casing Stephan and so on. There was a plot twist regarding how he dealt with the assassin that I found innovative and somehow a bit funny. It’s pretty much the only memorable plot point though.

Basically, Legion: Skin Deep doesn’t improve over the first book in the ways that I hoped. While I do like the core concept, I’d probably only recommend them to die-hard Sanderson fans.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | May 31, 2017 |
Skin Deep is the second book in the Legion series, which is shaping up to be very interesting, albeit unusual. Unusual more because of the format than the content. Who else but Sanderson gets to write a series of limited edition novellas? The perks of fame are very sweet indeed.

Legion is about a man named Stephen Leeds, who has a one of a kind, made up mental illness that combines genius with schizophrenia. He can read a book in the blink of an eye and use the information in it, but he doesn't have direct access to the information. Instead, he forms an imaginary personality, or 'aspect' to become his new expert in that field. He knows they're imaginary, but if he doesn't treat them like real people bad things happen. They get upset. They're own insanity (every aspect has some sort of mental health issue, however minor. One of his most useful aspects, Ivy, has trypophobia) and issues start to effect Stephen who, other than his creation of aspects, is usually very sane and rational. To this end he needs a mansion to house his aspects, a limo to drive whichever ones he chooses to take with him on a case, etc.

That's the gist of things. This second book continues Stephen's adventures into crime-solving, and also furthers the themes of the first book that touch on the relationship between technology and humanity, with a little religion/philosophy thrown in for good measure. In the first book it was a camera that could take pictures of the past and, possibly, Jesus Christ. In this book it's about a new technology that allows information to be stored inside the DNA of a human being, and a corpse full of classified information that gets stolen.

Sanderson is one of my favorite authors for his ability to balance fun with depth. His books may not be the deepest around, but he makes a conscious effort to get you thinking, all the while making sure his books are fun, fun, fun. I agree with and appreciate this approach to writing. While I can't speak for everyone, I know that I'm much more likely to finish a shallow, fun book than an incredibly boring book with hidden depths. I may not remember that shallow book afterward, but hey, at least I finished it. I have always believed that the best authors find a way to strike a balance, preferably one that puts the fun first (after all they are entertainers selling entertainment), and Sanderson has consistently done incredibly well in that regard. This book is no exception. It is an absolute blast from beginning to end while containing some of his most relevant and striking themes to date. If you're a fan of Sanderson, and especially if you were a fan of the fist Legion, this is a must-read.
( )
  ForeverMasterless | Apr 23, 2017 |
This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge's Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge's Exalted Permission. Title: Skin Deep Series: Legion Author: Brandon Sanderson Rating: 3 of 5 Battle Axes Genre: Paranormal Pages: 208 Format: Kindle Synopsis: Stephen Leeds is back, this time to find a body that might be infected with dna tech that could give cancer or the plague, to every single person on the planet. As are his splintered mind psyche fragments. Old and New. With Old and New Problems. My Thoughts: I enjoyed this more than the first book and had more issues with some of the philosophy spouted out, which is why the rating is the same as the previous book, Legion. I liked how Sanderson showed the problems that Leeds has and how they are growing. Being a super-genius isn't all that it cracked up to be. ha. Leeds has issues with the number of psyche fragments and even greater issues with a random one showing up. My first thought was "What would it do to Leeds if he simply had one fragment take out a bunch of others to give himself room"? He'd lose skills, but would he take a step back from the edge of completely losing it? The fact that Sanderson can make me even think these questions is great. The story itself was pretty good. Potential world plague, intrigue, corporate espionage. All good thriller stuff. The main issue that brought this down for was the philosophy and the idea of Time being Infinite. Sanderson is at least nominally a mormon and hence I know we share a large amount of philosophy in common. However, I do use the word nominal and the idea of Time being Infinite is not something that is Biblical [not sure if that issue is addressed in the Book of Mormon or not]. In fact, while it might seem like a small issue, the reason it is so big to me is that so far in existence, only God Himself is infinite. Saying that anything else is is tantamount to saying that that is God as well. Wrong theology is one thing, but claiming Divinity [in a real world situation, not in a fantasy story] is Blasphemy. To finish up, I sure do hope that Sanderson keeps up writing these Legion novellas. They are just plain interesting and engaging. " ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
A great continuation. Still not quite novel length, but a much fuller story than the first. As much as I love the Mistborn and Stormlight series and want to see them finished, I hope Sanderson takes the time for more Legion books. ( )
  oswallt | Nov 25, 2016 |
Steve-o and the Interdimensional Time Rangers
Remember that kid with the imaginary friend, the one who talked to or conventiently blamed things on someone no one else could see? Stephen Leeds is that kid all grown up, except he doesn't just have *one* imaginary friend, he's got about 4 dozen! Yes, he's crazy - sorta - but his friends (he calls them his "aspects") help him solve crimes and problems by extending his memory and expertise. Need an expert in surveillance or hand writing analysis or just a very observant second set of eyes? They're there for him. And now that he's got to find a stolen body that may have potentially dangerous information on/in it and an assasin chasing him, he's going to need their help.

I've never read anything by Brandon Sanderson but was bowled over by this incredibly clever novella (I listened to the audio book version). It sort of has the 'hard-boiled' style of the detective noir stories, except I found it very clever and funny instead of annoying. The dialog between Stephen and his aspects is sometimes very witty and makes for some very charming characters - whether they're "real" or not. The narrator does an excellent job, too, even if his voices for Stephen, Dion, and J.C. sometimes sound alike. This is book 2 in the series, and now I intend to read the first one. ( )
  J.Green | Nov 22, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brandon Sandersonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Foster, JonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyman, OliverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"What's her angle?" Ivy asked, walking around the table with her arms folded.
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It's not his own genius that Stephen Leeds gets hired for. Clients want to tap into the imaginary experts that populate his mind—and it's getting a bit crowded in there.

Now Stephen and his internal team of "aspects" have been hired to track down a stolen corpse—but it's not the corpse that's important, it's what the corpse knows. The biotechnology company he worked for believes he encoded top-secret information in his DNA before he died, and if it falls into the wrong hands, that will mean disaster.

Meanwhile, Stephen's uneasy peace with his own hallucinations is beginning to fray at the edges, as he strives to understand how one of them could possibly have used Stephen's hand to shoot a real gun during the previous case. And some of those hallucinations think they know better than Stephen just how many aspects his mind should make room for. How long will he be able to hold himself together?
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