Audiobook Review: Legion by Brandon Sanderson

5 12 2012

Legion by Brandon Sanderson

Read by Oliver Wyman

Audible Frontiers

Length: 2 Hrs 8 Min

Genre: Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: Legion is the kind of story that totally defies genre. It’s simply a fascinating tale with an amazing character that should please anyone who has two spare hours and needs something fun to fill up that time. Don’t let any misconceptions of prejudices of genre writers to allow you to miss this fun little story.

Grade: A-

Note: Legion is currently Free to all Audible members until the end of 2012. Even if you are not sure you will listen to it, you should hurry up and download it anyway. You never know when you will find yourself needing two hours of quality audio to listen to.

I am usually a pretty good planner when it comes to my audiobook listening. I create a general weekly listening plan, but I build flexibility into it in case a surprise release comes out or I receive a review copy earlier than I was planning. I typically fill my MP3 Player up with about a weeks worth of audiobooks, and have a bunch of books from my backlist To-Be-Listened-To pile there just in case I really don’t like an audiobook, or my mood calls for something different than I had planned for. Because of this, I usually find myself with a lot of options. Yet, last week I planned poorly. I had just finished a longer audiobook series, which, although spread out over a few books, I planned as a single post. Because of this, I had a bunch of shorter audiobooks planned out in order to give me plenty of material to post this week. Yet, I figured the timing out poorly and was left with two hours of time to fill. I didn’t want to start a longer book, because I was really looking forward to starting the new Harry Bosch book the next day, but all the audiobooks I had on my player were all 10 hour plus. Luckily, I remembered that months ago, I had downloaded a free audiobook on Audible called Legion by Brandon Sanderson and I could pull it up on the Audible app on my phone. I had never read Sanderson before. I have heard quite a lot of good stuff about him, but he typically writes Fantasy Epics, and while I have enjoyed a few epic fantasy series in the past, it’s not my favorite subgenre. One of the problems with epic fantasy, for me, is they take a lot of commitment. For example, Sanderson’s Mistborn series is about 90 Hours of audio spread over three books and a novella. Even for me, that’s around two weeks of listening. Yet, I decided Legion was the perfect choice to fill up my two hour gap, particularly because it was narrated by the rock star of audiobook narration, Oliver Wyman.

I absolutely love Legion. I mean, a love so enthusiastic that I would give it a huge manly bear hug without bothering to take a moment to glance awkwardly around for witnesses. Legion introduces us to one of the most interesting characters I have met in a long time, Stephen Leeds. Leeds, called Legion, has a strange blending of genius with an almost pop culture mental illness that allows him to create other tangible personalities to filter his genius through. Or something like that. There really is not way to truly explain what this character does, because the character himself doesn’t truly understand it. Leeds works a as a sort problem fixer cum detective. His specific mental condition combined with what we can only label genius, allows him to approach issues that most traditional people, no matter how brilliant, wouldn’t have the mental flexibility to take on. Now, I’ll be honest, I enjoyed this character so much, I would have probably raved about a tale of Leeds solving the mystery of who was stealing food from the workplace fridge, but, instead, Sanderson creates a plot that tickles all of my speculative fiction buttons. The story takes on time travel, a missing person mystery, the potential for science to change our very existence, and even the nature of religion it self. It’s a wonderful little story, with a touch of action, a whole lot of humor and just enough of a taste of a series mythology that I may be saying a prayer everyday for a novel sized book featuring this character. Legion is the kind of story that totally defies genre. It’s simply a fascinating tale with an amazing character that should please anyone who has two spare hours and needs something fun to fill up that time. Don’t let any misconceptions or prejudices of genre writers to allow you to miss this fun little story.

Legion is the perfect little audio-novella to highlight the skills of Oliver Wyman. Let’s face it, I’m not all that sure that Oliver Wyman is entirely sane. It’s hard for me to believe that those great voices he consistently brings to his work aren’t actually self aware creatures already living somewhere within Wyman’s head. Hiring Wyman to read your audiobook is like getting 20 people for the price of one crazy, hirsute hermit. Wyman brings his own style of crazy and his vast menagerie of voices to his reading of Legion, making it a highly memorable listening experience. I have this crazy image of Wyman sitting in his small studio, with 5 empty chairs around him for all his alternate voices as he brings this tale to life. Leeds is a character who is just made for audio, and I enjoyed every darn minute of the experience. My only complaint is that it was too short. I need more. Much, much more.



4 responses

5 12 2012
Dave Thompson

I loved listening to Legion, and I’m with you – really hoping for another work featuring Leeds and his entourage. It’s also one of the first of Sanderson’s stories I read (the only other one I remember was a short story).

And your review of Wyman’s performance was a work of art itself 🙂

5 12 2012
Coffee & a BookChick (@CoffeeBookChick)

A huge manly bear hug without caring about witnesses? If it inspires that response from you, I’m in. Just downloaded it from Audible, thanks for the heads up!!

9 12 2012

I also enjoyed this book. It was great to see that Sanderson could pull off novella length works with finesse. I am so use to his long, epic works (which I thoroughly enjoy) that I had that in the background going into Legion. I think it deserves a bear hug too.

15 12 2012

Thanks for the tip! I snatched it up. 🙂

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