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Because this review was too big for one day, we’re extending it. Today, we’re continuing our review of Legion by Brandon Sanderson. You can buy it here. As a warning, we’re about to get crazy here, so let’s finish this.
Legion: Lies of the Beholder
The final story in this trilogy, and where everything comes to a boiling point. This is the one that changes the entire story and goes insane along the way. Stephen is trying to meet with a supposed reporter who wants to know about him and his aspects, when suddenly, he receives a text from Sandra, his long lost girlfriend, who is in need of help.
However, a prison organization, which also dabbles in video game development, is creating a world that acts like a prison, but is nothing more than a false illusion. Meanwhile, Stephen is losing control of his aspects and now has to come to terms with their fate.
I had two different thoughts on this story. On the one hand, I enjoyed the different turn compared to the previous stories, but felt like it was too punishing for our hero. I won’t spoil much, but I felt the ending was a bit weak for the story it was trying to tell, especially after going through all of them and connecting with the heroes.
On the other, it’s fitting due to the fact that this story is about insanity. Having us go through an otherwise normal story and end up with an insane ending is admittedly creative. I won’t spoil it, but it does go for the “what is real” angle. It starts with a strange, yet natural storyline, then ends with something in the opposite direction that goes against everything it did prior.
Honestly, it’s kind of gutsy for the author to do that, considering we’ve put so much investment in these characters. To be fair, I assumed an ending like this would happen since he could no longer control these aspects, so having something end that way, while it makes sense, could have been tightened better so that it’s not too depressing.
Oh, and the final scene is cliche and a bit of a downer. You’ll have to read it yourself, but prepare to be cheated.
As for the story itself, it was entertaining enough. It’s another espionage mission to rescue his girlfriend and thwart a evil mastermind’s sick plan. Well, his idea of making prison more safer for inmates is a noble cause. Many agree that while our prisoners often deserve imprisonment, they should still be taken care of despite their crimes.
That’s a whole other topic I’d rather not get into, but I love villains who fight for a noble cause, yet have sinister intentions on doing it. Basically turning prisons into video games, complete with quests and whatnot. It’s interesting, and would definitely make prison more bearable (I mean, what else are you gonna do?), but I’m not sure it’s the solution he thinks it is.
This definitely has a Sci-Fi feel and with the advent of virtual reality that actually feels convincing enough, but I think if anyone is trying that, it’d end up as part of a dystopian America, or way off into the future. It’s 2018 and VR is still in its infancy. Maybe 2030 we’ll have this tech perfected.
Other than that, this wasn’t my favorite of the three, due to the ending, but it’s still a good story to read and definitely has that futuristic feel of it.
Odds and Ends
I do enjoy the concept of this borderline schizophrenic character who not only imagines their hallucinations to be real, but can hold full conversations. Plus these hallucination gain some self awareness by realizing they are in fact illusions created by their master, so to speak. It create some humorous moments by having him talk in public and everyone looking at him funny.
Now, schizophrenia is a serious illness and typically isn’t one to be taken lightly. Most of that is auditory rather than visual, but it also brings to mind another concept. Imaginary friends. How many of us had one imaginary friend that not only did we envision, but we spoke to as if they were real. Those people never had real friends of their own, so they made up some. I had a few, even imagining Pokemon as my friends.
This feels like a man who had imaginary friends in the past, but never let go of them, so they basically became real. It doesn’t seem like typical schizophrenia since he’s holding a full conversation with them (plus none of them are claiming he is, just that he’s borderline insane). So this is treated as a new mental disorder that feels real, yet is only in his mind. It leads him to question what’s real and what isn’t.
This is really pronounced in the third story where he meets Jenny, a reporter who calls him in for an interview. She’s revealed to be fake, but it felt so convincing to him, that he got used to his own aspects. Not only that, but J.C. physically helped him fire a gun, even if he wasn’t a real being. He should have went right through him, but he was real to them.
It does have an Inception vibe to it, and I love those types of stories that question reality and bend what’s truly possible. It’s a good take and I think Stephen Leeds is an amazing character. Plus his aspects are fun to read and not only are they incredibly diverse, you have different personalities as well.
Also one thing that’s pretty neat is that every chapter, there’s an inkblot type graphic that grows as the story progresses, starting from the very beginning and ending with a smaller version of the inkblot. It’s fitting for a story about insanity and it’s a nice touch seeing how much it can grow before fading.
I enjoyed this story the whole way through and kept me gripped throughout. While the ending wasn’t impressive and felt cliche, the overall story was great and I always looked forward to what they were going to do next. This was a fun trilogy and I recommend checking it out.
That’s all for today. Take care, and remember, the inn is always open.