January 13, 2020 by TinyNavajo
Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds by Brandon Sanderson
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
*Published September 18, 2018*
A omnibus of three novellas centered around Stephen Leeds and the many many people have inside of his head. As a consumate Sandersonite, I was interested to read something of Brandon Sanderson’s that wasn’t centered in the Cosmere. This did not disappoint.
A story in three life-shattering acts.
Includes the never-before-published Legion: Lies of the Beholder.
Stephen Leeds is perfectly sane. It’s his hallucinations who are mad.
A genius of unrivaled aptitude, Stephen can learn any new skill, vocation, or art in a matter of hours. However, to contain all of this, his mind creates hallucinatory people—Stephen calls them aspects—to hold and manifest the information. Wherever he goes, he is joined by a team of imaginary experts to give advice, interpretation, and explanation. He uses them to solve problems. . .for a price.
His brain is getting a little crowded and the aspects have a tendency of taking on lives of their own. When a company hires him to recover stolen property—a camera that can allegedly take pictures of the past—Stephen finds himself in an adventure crossing oceans and fighting terrorists. What he discovers may upend the foundation of three major world religions—and, perhaps, give him a vital clue into the true nature of his aspects.
Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds includes the novellas Legion and Legion: Skin Deep, published together for the first time, as well as a brand-new, shocking finale to Stephen Leeds’ story, Lies of the Beholder.
Stephen Leeds is normal. He is not crazy. His hallucinations on the other hand, they’re completely nuts. And he uses his hallucinations in a very nuanced way. This was an interesting view into a world where someone doesn’t considered themselves crazy, but does consider his aspects of himself as crazy. While not quite the usual Brandon Sanderson fare that I am used to reading, this was still interesting and thrilling to read.
It’s a bit of a detective story arc throughout all three novellas, with Stephen Leeds using parts of his aspects to solve mysteries/crimes no one else is able to. The way he is able to do this is by learning a new skill within a few hours. In order to keep all of these skills alive though, he has to manifest a new aspect to hold that information. This is where you see the typical “magic system” of the world grow, but as we are centered in the real world so to speak, this “magic system” is a form of a mental disorder. And Brandon Sanderson treats this with upmost respect. It is not played for shits and giggles, it is not making him into a unstable killer, this is a person who just happens to have a mental disorder.
I loved the writing and I quite enjoyed the ending to this series as well, which I can see why some people may not like. It is a real life ending though, and I think this is why I like it so much. I won’t say much more, as I don’t want to give away the ending, but it is a bittersweet ending where life doesn’t always fall in the direction you would like, but you can work with the direction it fell in. If you love Brandon Sanderson’s books and the way that he writes, then I would recommend you picking up this omnibus and giving Stephen Leeds a try.
What sorts of endings do you like? Which are endings that you may not necessarily like, but you can acknowledge it was how the story needed to end? Comment below and let me know!