Tonawanda News


November 29, 2012

BOOK NOOK: 'Legion' an engaging, but short read

Tonawanda News — Brandon Sanderson’s “Legion,” published this past August, is an addictive joyride. Its biggest fault: the fun ends too soon. 

As an author, Sanderson is best known for finishing Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series. A 14-book-long epic fantasy, Jordan left extensive notes on how he wanted his final book to be written before passing in 2007. Sanderson, a longtime fan of “Wheel of Time,” pieced the notes together and finished the series.

Now a professor at Brigham Young University, where he graduated from in 2005 after rooming with Ken Jennings (of “Jeopardy!” fame,) Sanderson teaches creative writing when he’s not working on his writing. Usually focusing on speculative fiction, Sanderson’s novella “Legion,” might be his most entertaining piece yet.

Following main character Stephen Leeds, Sanderson takes us on a cross-continental journey in search of stolen property. Hired by a rather ambiguous company to hunt down former employee Balubal Razon, Leeds hunts for a mysterious camera in Razon’s possession that is able to take pictures of the past. Point the camera on Christian holy ground, for example, and you just might be able to get a glimpse of what Jesus looked like.

This is exactly what Razon attempts to do, and it’s up to Leeds to catch him before he uses such proof of Christ’s existence for money, power or worse. The adventure is a page turner, and draws a similar feel to the excitement of Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci’s Code,” especially given the religious overtones. 

Sanderson could have stopped there, but it’s the character twist in protagonist Leeds that really makes “Legion” a must-read. Stephen Leeds has multiple personality disorder.

This isn’t your everyday case of the disorder, either. Rather than switching between personalities and personifying them with his own actions, Leeds sees each personality as a separate person.

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