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Brandon Sanderson – Legion: Skin Deep

May 15, 2015

6. Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson (2014)
Legion, Book 2

Read my review of book:
1. Legion

Read By: Oliver Wyman
Length: 4h 23m (208 pages)

Genre: Mystery, Science Fiction (except not really, since it’s psychological, not scientific)

Started: 19 January 2015
Finished: 23 January 2015

Where did it come from? Audible.
Why do I have it? I really enjoyed the first Legion story, I love Sanderson’s books, and it was a free download at Audible!
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 15 December 2014.

He gets by with help
from his (imaginary)
friends, and they solve crimes!

Summary: Stephen Leeds is a private investigator who has a whole team of specialists working for him… the only thing is, he’s the only one that can see or hear them. Leeds – nicknamed “Legion” by the media – is a genius with a photographic memory, but it’s not him learning these skills, he would insist, but rather one of his “aspects”. He’s not crazy – he knows that these aspects are only in his head – but he has to treat them as real (holding doors for them, reserving extra seats on airlines for those he wants to bring along), and when he’s forced to confront their non-existence when things start to go bad. Anyways, in this story, Leeds is hired to track down someone who’s gone missing – pretty standard detective stuff, only this time, the person is already dead, and it’s his corpse that’s gone missing from the morgue. The deceased man was a scientist at a biotech firm, and some of their technology has gone missing as well, technology that has the potential to be dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. So Stephen and his aspects have to find the missing body AND the missing tech before anyone else does… including whoever hired the assassin that’s dogging Stephen’s every move.

Review: These stories are so much fun. They’re cinematic, they would make the basis for great TV/movie scripts, they’re quick and fast moving while still being detailed and satisfying, and there’s a great mix of humor, mystery, action, and psychology. I’ll start with the mystery aspect first. It was really good; complicated enough to keep me guessing while still making sense in the end, and well-paced in terms of the investigation and the rate at which clues were doled out. The action sequences – car chases, assassination attempts, sneaking around buildings, etc. – were also really well done (as is characteristic of Sanderson), and easy to follow/visualize. But the thing that I liked best about this story (as was true of its predecessor) was thinking about the psychology of Stephen and his aspects. What does it mean to create an aspect? What does it mean for an aspect to die? How much does Leeds actually know consciously vs. unconsciously, how is it walled off, and what happens when those walls start to break down? I understand how he is able to do the physical stuff without knowing he knows how to do it – his ex-Navy-Seal aspect “pushes” him out of a moving car at exactly the right time, or helps him aim the gun – but how did he acquire those skills in the first place? Certainly not by flipping through a dictionary (as was the case for some of his translator/linguistics expert aspects), but if he has had Navy Seal training in the past, has his conscious mind blocked that time from his memory? And if so, how does he account for that missing time? Lots of fun and interesting things to think about and explore, and I hope Sanderson keeps writing more of these stories to do just that. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Sanderson does a good enough job explaining how the aspects work that it’s not critical that you read the first story first, although it does help (plus it’s also a really good story, so why skip it?) Definitely recommended for those who like mysteries with a bit of a psychological/supernatural twist.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dork, Mad Scientist Books, Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: “What’s her angle?” Ivy asked, walking around the table with her arms folded.

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