I hadn’t read anything by Brandon Sanderson, and I only really heard of him when he took the job to finish The Wheel of Time series for Robert Jordon. I gave up on that series nine books in, so I’ll probably never get to read his contribution, but I was curious about his work after he’d been selected.
Legion is just a short novella, so it’s a great introduction to him. It’s also quite a good introduction to audiobooks in general if you haven’t taken that step yet. Audible is offering the story for free, which is how I stumbled upon it.
My name is Stephen Leeds, and I am perfectly sane. My hallucinations, however, are all quite mad.
Stephen Leeds, nicknamed Legion, is a genius with a catch – he’s constantly surrounded and interacting with people no one else can see. Each one of these hallucinations, ‘aspects’ he calls them, is an expert in a specific field. There’s an ex-Navy SEAL, a philosopher, a mechanic, a psychiatrist, and more. At one point he needs to speak another language, and a new aspect arrived to translate for him.
As much as he’s known publicly as a medical oddity, he’s also known as someone who can solve problems, a modern-day Sherlock. He’s hired by a company to track down a contractor who’s made off with a very special camera he was developing in their lab. A camera that can take pictures in the past.
(I made that sound lame, but Sanderson actually pulls it off in a bit of an interesting way.)
One thing that attracted me to the comic Cowboy Ninja Viking (apart from the name, obviously) was the concept of someone trying to have three distinct personalities work together simultaneously. Unfortunately, the comic just wasn’t able to pull it off. Maybe the disappointment I had from that helped fuel my enjoyment of Legion. It was great to see Sanderson really nail the idea. He tells a fun story, but he also manages to come up with simple and satisfying explanation for Legion’s mental state, providing some potential depth to explore in future stories. I have a feeling this character will be back again.
This is also a Whispersync novel, which means if you grab this free audiobook and then buy the Kindle version (for $3, unless it’s discounted as part of this), you’ll be able to automatically sync your place in the audiobook with what page your Kindle is on (or your Kindle app on another device), allowing you to switch back and forth. I haven’t tried that, and it’s probably not all that useful in such a short book, but it would be neat to try.