Legion by Brandon Sanderson
I am yet to join the legions who swear by Brandon Sanderson’s name when it comes to creating something new and thought-provoking in the Fantasy scene. ( sorry – couldn’t help it =, had to sound smart and use that word “Legion” – to my mind, the word brings alive a thousand troops trampling across a dusty dry earthen field marching towards their death on the battle-field. What image does the word Legion conjure up for you?)
Anyways – a lot of people agree that Legion may not be Brandon’s best work, but the sheer powerhouse of talent that this man is, is pretty evident by the time you finish this book and shake your head at the ingenuity of the ideas presented here. Way of Kings has been on my wish-list now, like forever. I got my hands on the mist-born trilogy but for some reason, never really got around to reading it. Yeah spank me.
Apparently he’s written a novella based on the game series, Infinity Blade – I’ve played the game but mind you, only after I came to know that he’s written a novella. I got my hands on the free chapters of his previous book, Alloy of Law – some sort of a steampunk western set in the same world as Mistborn. Now that was certainly something good. But incomplete as I never was inspired to go buy the entire book. So today I make amends as I finally finished a complete Brandon Sanderson work of fiction. I agree with the legion. This guy is definitely one of the most prolific writers of our age and it would be a crime not to read him. in fact, I wager it’s going to be impossible not to read this guy. He’s got books out in most genres of speculative fiction.
With Legion – an paranormal urban fantasy novel he is breaking new grounds and in trademark Brandon style, has stamped his unique style of writing on this one. So what makes Legion a great book?
Great characters that jump out at you? Check.
Engaging prose that keeps it lively? Check.
Tongue in cheek humor? Check.
New ground breaking ideas? Check.
Legion is about Stephen Leeds and his legion of hallucinations who all live with him. He is a veritable genius and can polish off new languages, learn how to fire a firearm, solve complex missing person cases – all this with the help of his many hallucinations. It’s amazing how in the manner of minutes he learns up a new language or the mechanics of a new machine and creates a new hallucination as the expert in that area. The story is a missing-person case –a person whose invention borders on the edge of fantastical. And being a genius, Stephen Leeds is brought in to trace him back and more importantly his invention. How Leeds goes about cracking this case forms the meat of the story. And yes, there are twists at the end of the story, so don’t you go about hmmm’ing and hawing that it sounds straight forward. It isn’t.
Having said that, novella-length truly doesn’t do justice to the ideas presented. I felt a bit cheated when the book ended. Even though the loose ends are tied up well, I craved and hungered for more. Maybe it’s a good thing. Brandon is setting the stage for something on a grander scale.
But all things considered, it was a great peekaboo into Brandon’s fertile playground. I am sold and will be closely watching the works of this genius in the future. Three stars.