Legion is a quickly moving story about how Stephen Leeds uses his condition of having “hallucinations” for his benefit and for the benefit of others. These hallucinations are personalities that manifest themselves to Stephen, and the reader, as actual persons. As a result of these others he is able to quickly adapt to new situations that arise and uses these hallucinations to solve conflicts. Stephen comes across as crazy to those around him, but in his opinion is “perfectly sane”. These hallucinations have their own individual personalities, likes, desires and flaws.
Legion is well written and has a good pace. For the length of the story there is good character and story development in the amount of time available to do so. Legion is a fun book that can be read in an hour or two and is enjoyable.
As Legion begins we are introduced to the main character, Stephen Leeds, who is by his account, a genius. However, he is plagued by these hallucinations. These hallucinations are separate persons with their own personalities and agendas. Stephen interacts with them as individuals and relies on them for information throughout the course of the story. While this phenomenom is not explained or fleshed out (which is what the author seems to have done intentionally), it is intriguing to read. The reader is expected to read on without the explanation being given, however it doesn’t impact the story. There are hints in the story that this wasn’t always the case with Stephen and that it was a condition that was brought on to him somehow.
There are a couple of interesting things about Legion that captured my interest from the start. One is the concept of having multiple personalities being a help and not a hinderance to one’s life. This concept is addressed in the story, not only in theory but also demonstrated throughout the story, which is one of the reasons why the reader doesn’t get hung up on “How does this all work?”. Another interesting concept is the MacGuffin (that is more fully fleshed out than most) of the camera and how it is included in the plot of the story. While this MacGuffin lends itself to science fiction, it was believable and fun to read. With the inclusion of this particular MacGuffin and it’s capabilities, the story is like a modern day Indiana Jones adventure – but better.
This short novella is one of Brandon Sanderson’s shorter books, and as Brandon is known for his lengthy novels this can come as a surprise for those that haven’t read one of his shorter stories. While Brandon’s longer novels are amazing, his short novellas are just as entertaining. Such is the case for Legion. With the speed and efficiency that Brandon writes his books, I’m sure there will be a follow up to this story especially since the ending leads us to believe that there are more Stephen Leeds stories to tell.
I recommend this novella to all readers who enjoy a good mystery. There is a little bit of violence, akin to a PG movie, and there are no scenes of sex and no swearing.