Stephen ‘Legion’ Leeds is a man wealthy in money, intellect, and powerful hallucinations. Literally a one-man army, Leeds calls upon the many ‘aspects’ running around in his mind to unite and solve a crime of perplexing and disillusioning stature: finding the inventor of a camera with the power to take pictures of the past.
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Publish Date: August 31, 2012
Novel: 88 Pages
Audiobook: 2 Hours, 8 Minutes
Worry not. There are no (major) spoilers in this review.
Legion was, if nothing else, inventive. The plot itself, while hardly weak, paled in the shadow of the character of Leeds, the dominating interest and pull of the story. Leeds has something almost like schizophrenia, if schizophrenia went Supersaiyan (to the layman, this means it became extremely superior). All of Leeds’ various personae, or “aspects,” live with him in the mansion that he purchased off the rewards of a successful crime-solving lifestyle. Leeds knows these identities are not real, but they are so realistic to him that he decides it would be best to treat them just like he would any other person. The aspects interact with him, and one another, even possessing long-lasting histories together. Each of them has a fluid and distinct personality and pattern of speech, delivered with such conviction that you forget they aren’t tangible characters in the story. Even more amusing is that the aspects know they aren’t real either, opening doors for odd, thought-provoking conversations between them and Leeds, their host.
But one crime arises which seems a little different from the rest. Leeds finds himself in possession of an impossible photograph, showing a very famous scene from history, but in a different way–a way that, if it were true, could damage modern reality. Of course, being that Leeds is for all intents and purposes a genius (while he himself might not have much knowledge, familiarizing himself even a little bit with any subject can prompt creating an aspect who’s a professional on the topic), he immediately assumes the photo is falsified. But further developments put him at odds with himself and even with his aspects, and they set out on a trek to Jerusalem to find the creator of a camera with the power to capture frames of the past. As any good book would have it, things don’t go quite according to plan, and Legion must utilize several of his colleagues and aspects to not only solve the mystery, but avoid death in the meantime.
There is possible room for a science/faith discussion that unravels during the course of the story, involving the death of Jesus. To speak much more of the matter would be to ruin part of the story, but there is an interesting inclusion of Christ’s existence in the narrative that sets Legion apart from Sanderson’s other novels on the matter of religion and faith.
In conclusion, Legion is a witty and comical jumpstart to a promising series, wrought with creativity–as quality Sanderson as Sanderson comes, and with a sequel already written and heading to the presses. If you haven’t yet, give Legion a try. It’s short, fast, and moves with a furious interest that will keep you sprinting to the last page.
God bless, reminisce on old friendships, and always remember to smile.
VERSE OF THE DAY – Proverbs 17:17
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
SONG OF THE DAY – “Be My Escape” by Relient K
+ Unique and fascinating premise
+ Strong characters
+ Plenty of humor
+ Sequel underway
- Story forgettable in light of protagonist
- Only a novella in length