Book: Legion Review

“Around the world. With Me, Myself, and I…”

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Drama, Age: YA+

Released: 31st August 2012 (UK version)

Secrets of time should remain secret. One scientist doesn’t think so.

Balubal Razon creates a camera that can take images of the past in the exact location they are taken. Then he goes missing…

Stephen Leeds is a critical genius, whose hallucinations are various people. Intrigued by the prospect of following up the missing camera, he travels with government agent Monica to find out the truth about the camera.

Warning! Contains Spoilers!

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The first time you read Legion, it’s comes across as a flashy, fast-paced story seemingly for a movie. It has all your favourite Hollywood character tropes: the gun-slinger, the sexy lady agent, the calm man, the butler, and the guy in the middle that wants everyone to get along.

In an interesting twist, most of the somewhat large cast is all born from the mind of the lead character, Stephen Leeds.

Although fairly intelligent, Stephen has a lot of weak points, such as not being able to fire a gun with accuracy, speaking a lot of languages, and being a critical analyst. This is where his hallucinations come into play. Each of them are their own distinct personality which have an input into his current situations.

Stephen is a psychologist’s dream, but rarely allows himself to interact with those types. Instead, he lives in a mansion with his hallucinatory friends, complete with a (real) butler.

Monica is a govermnet agent and former boss of the time-camera inventor Balubal Razon, and seeks Leeds out when the inventor and camera go missing.

She is the perfect skeptical tag-along that gets to experience how Stephen interacts with his hallucinations. The result is a journey filled with one-sided conversations, and gives the impression of a child talking with his imaginary friends.

Like previously mentioned, the cast covers Stephen’s weaknesses, which makes them very well-rounded overall. However, each of them just quirky enough to be irritating, and knowledgeable to come across as smarmy and too capable.

J.C the weapons and security expert, in particular, drawls and grumbles his way through everything.

It’s one person’s brain, split into very hard-working parts. They are so capable in fact, that there is virtually no character development.

Cringe worthy moments seem to creep up in Legion. One of the hallucination having the same condition as Stephen Leeds, i.e. his own hallucination? J.C and Ivy pairing up to make a couple? How would that work?

Almost two thirds through the story and the gang land in Jerusalem, and start looking for the scientist. Sanderson can’t resist poking holes in his own plot-points.

“The Earth’s rotation would mean that the camera would be taking pictures of space, because the earth wouldn’t be in the same position in time.”

Never-mind all the self-inserted logic, because rebel gangs and factions are involved, leading to a kidnapping and a fight. It all ends very suddenly, almost on a cliffhanger.

Overall, it might seem like I’m picking on a small concept. The action scenes were fast paced, and as well-choreographed as always, but the over-capability of the characters failed to engage me as a reader.

It wasn’t a surprising ending either, because even though a lot of issues are left unresolved (maybe for a sequel?), Brandon Sanderson gives the reader the happy ending they wanted.

In all of the “realness” of the story, I missed magic and fantasy. The camera might have been “fantasy-esque”, but it doesn’t get enough exposure to allow the reader to imagine it’s inner complexity.

At 88 pages, the story definitely doesn’t overstay its welcome. Many readers are likely to think that it’s too short, and could have been expanded more. It feels like the start of a brand new concept in Brandon Sanderson’s writing, and ultimately would be a welcome diversion from his other stories.

Rated – 3/5 Enjoyable, but cast is less engaging than other works.

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