Author: Brandon Sanderson
Length: 88 pages (about 2 hours audio)
Publication: 31st August, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Mystery/Thriller (ish)
My Rating: 5/5
The sequel, Legion: Skin Deep (being released 11/24/14), is currently free from audible.
Stephen Leeds is completely sane; his hallucinations, however, are not. Stephen is known as "Legion" because of his rare condition that has many similarities to schizophrenia-manifesting through his couple dozen "aspects," or hallucinations. Stephen leads a semi normal life, helped along by the genius of his hallucinated friends (most of whom accept the fact that they are not actually real).
Stephen is pulled into a plot by Monica, a woman who works for a company that funded the development of a very special camera: it can take pictures of moments from the past. The inventor of the camera, Balubal Razon, has taken the camera and disappeared. Stephen, along with Ivy, JC, and Tobias (three of his aspects) and a fourth picked up along the way, must find the camera before it ends up changing the fundamental structure of society.
I downloaded the audio of this novella (although I prefer to read rather than listen) because I could never find a copy to buy at a reasonable price. The concept was very interesting and I must say did not disappoint. I was very happy with this little work-I only wish it were a full length novel.
- Stephens "condition"-This rather extreme version of schizophrenia is a very interesting concept and some of the things discussed and highlighted throughout the novella has insightful thoughts on this condition. The condition is closest to schizophrenia rather than dissociative identity disorder because the aspects appear to Stephen as other people-they don't manifest to others through him. He is always himself, just with a few tag along imaginary friends who will give him advice and steady his hand when he needs to aim a firearm.
- The characters-I loved every single character throughout this story. Although it is not very long we were able to get to know each individual very quickly and the development, as is standard for Sanderson, was beautifully done.
- Stephen Leeds: The main protagonist and extreme schizophrenia- a genius who places his genius within each hallucination which requires him to have their near constant companionship in order to access certain forms of information. He hates being a lab rat, but students and scientists continue to try to pull him onto their studies.
- Ivy: One of Stephen's hallucinations who acts as his psychologist. She is really fun and great at reading people. The only downside is that she often needs Stephen to place himself within range of needed sensory information. She often feeds Stephen information that helps him to solve mysteries.
- Tobias: An older, scholarly aspect who helps Stephen keep a level head no matter the situation. He also gives valuable advice and guidance.
- J C: A retired Navy Seal who is another of Stephen's aspects and is obsessed with carrying firearms. Of the three main aspects in the novella, J C is the only one with major issues regarding his status as a hallucination. He plays a key role in the final confrontation scene which is really interesting (read it and let me know what you think). He and Ivy butt heads a lot and their relationship is super funny (and, admittedly, kind of weird with their both being hallucinations and all).
- Monica: The woman responsible for getting Stephen and his aspects involved in this hunt for the past revealing camera. Her reactions to Stephen, and the aspects she cannot see, are very funny as well as thought provoking.
- Another, less prominent feature, is that of Wilson. Bruce Wayne had Alfred, Stephen Leeds has Wilson. Wilson is the housekeeper who accepts-for the most part at least-Stephen's oddities. I hope to see more of him in the sequel.
- The overall story-I found this novella extremely thought provoking. The views, although limited, on schizophrenia and this extreme version of it brought to mind many questions. I found the entire idea both fascinating and headache inducing. I will definitely re-read this novella in the future.
- The length. This novella could easily be a full length novel. I was very satisfied with the contents, but a longer, more complete novel would have been even more satisfying. A great idea that deserves more attention. Very excited for the sequel novella to shed some more light on Stephen and his aspects.
Until next time. This has been your book loving friend,