Legion by Brandon SandersonLegion is a short story that delivers in a big way. At a mere 88-pages, it managed to draw me into a story that was unlike anything I've ever read - and leave me wanting more. Once again, Brandon Sanderson delivers with addictive storytelling, unique characters and a premise unlike all others. What's even more impressive is that this isn't Sanderson's usual fare; not by a long shot.
Published September 11th 2012 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
A novella from #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, Legion is a fast-paced, witty, and supremely fun thriller with a psychological bent.
Stephen Leeds is perfectly sane. It’s his hallucinations who are mad.
A genius of unrivaled aptitude, Stephen can learn any new skill, vocation, or art in a matter of hours. However, to contain all of this, his mind creates hallucinatory people—Stephen calls them aspects—to hold and manifest the information. Wherever he goes, he is joined by a team of imaginary experts to give advice, interpretation, and explanation. He uses them to solve problems…for a price.
His brain is getting a little crowded, however, and the aspects have a tendency of taking on lives of their own. When a company hires him to recover stolen property—a camera that can allegedly take pictures of the past—Stephen finds himself in an adventure crossing oceans and fighting terrorists. What he discovers may upend the foundation of three major world religions—and, perhaps, give him a vital clue into the true nature of his aspects.
Legion tells the story of Stephen Leeds, who's known to most people as a reclusive oddity...to put it mildly. You see, Stephen has a variety of other personalities, or aspects as he likes to refer to them. He's been labeled as a schizophrenic by most, but that isn't quite right. Stephen knows it, and other specialists seem to suspect it too. The thing is, Stephen's aspects can learn things. Independently. One aspect can learn a new language, or war tactics, or what have you and then transmit that information to Stephen without him having learned those things himself. What's more is that he can summon new aspects as needed, if the situation calls for a particular skill-set that he or his current aspects don't possess. This in turn makes Stephen seem like an expert in any given field. And it explains why outsiders see him as a genius. Crazy too, but a genius all the same. Sure the guy may have some mental issues, but his abilities go above and beyond the usual, and to me that comes across as some sort of special power or even super-human ability.
The book kicks off with Stephen and his aspects being recruited by a government official to find a missing invention with potentially earth-shattering possibilities. A camera that is able to take pictures of the past. Like, let's say years later, you were to go to the exact spot your parents first met. You could take a picture of the spot in the present day and the picture would show your parents there, in the past. Only you haven't travelled back in time, only the camera did. In this sense, Legion deals with the wibbly-wobbly concept of time-travel, without straying too far from realism of actual real life. It's easier to swallow a 'magical' item than actual time-travel...for the skeptics, I suppose ;)
I won't get into the finer details of the implications of this camera, or any more plot details for that matter. Considering this is a novella, any more info I'd want to share could be considered spoiler-ish. Suffice it to say that Legion is a bit hard to classify. It has elements of a psychological thriller mixed in with a dash of sci-fi and magical realism. Classifications aside though, this was an engaging, wholly-original and quick read that left me wanting more. Sanderson does it again!
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars