It doesn’t take much for me to pick up a book by Sanderson. While I love many authors and many more stories, I am inclined say that Sanderson is my favourite writer. I go into some of the reasons why in my review of Alloy of Law. Legion is a bit of a side step from the fantasy genre, but demonstrates even further that Sanderson is a master of his craft.
As I browsed the shelves in my local ‘Stones (as always I was drawn to the SFF section), I picked up this fairly skinny book. Usually I avoid hardbacks, but I do make exceptions and this was one of those times. Not only was this copy of Legion signed by the author (cue fangirlish squee) but it is part of a genre which I believe is fairly obscure: a mix of fantasy/sci fi but with a focus in mental illness.
Though I could say that it is my psychology background that draws me to stories like this, I think it is more that my interest in this genre drew me to study psychology. I picked up this Patrick Ness book recently, and I have my own story planned in my head on this topic, but if you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them.
This particular novella focuses on the story of Stephen ‘Legion’ Leeds, a man with a very unique talent/mental illness. His hallucinations each have their own character with their own set of skills. When Legion learns something, so that his mind can cope with the large amount of information it has just received the knowledge manifests as a hallucination. He then interacts with the hallucination as if it were a real person and they help him to solve mysteries and crimes. Aware as he is that these characters are hallucination, Stephen is actually pretty sane. Set in modern day, the SFF aspect comes in when he is asked to help locate the inventor of a camera which appears to be able to take photos of the past.
For such a short story, Sanderson crams a lot in, developing Stephen’s personality and background as well as those of his hallucinations. He also set it up for the next installment, which was released last year. Twice the length of Legion, Legion: Skin Deep is something that I am massively looking forward to reading.
As Legion is quite a short story (I read it in one sitting) there is not much else I can say about it without giving away plot. The only thing left then, is to tell you to go read it. You won’t be disappointed.
NB. I have lent this book to a friend, so pictures will be coming as soon as I have it back!