Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson. ★★★
Looking back at my review of the first novella, Legion, I’m not really sure why I chose to read Legion: Skin Deep. Possibly I hoped it would improve? More likely, I just forgot that I wasn’t super thrilled with Legion and plunged head first into this one willy nilly.
Technically, you don’t need to read these books in order. The plot lines aren’t really related. The core concept of this novella series is the main character Stephan Leeds, who has hallucinations. However, these are no ordinary hallucinations. They appear whenever he studies any topic, gaining the knowledge that’s locked in his subconscious. They give him a panel of experts that he carry around with him at all times and allow him to have a lucrative job as an adviser and investigator.
In this installment, Stephan is hired by a bio-tech firm to recover a corpse that got stolen from the morgue. The body is that of a scientist who was experimenting with ways to encode information within human cells and who used himself as a research subject. He’s thus full of propriety information that the company desperately wants to recover.
Like a lot of novellas, the Legion stories are based around the concept of the hallucinations. It’s a fascinating concept. Unfortunately, nothing else about the book quite does it for me. Stephan just is not that interesting of a protagonist. His hallucinations have way more personality than he does. Plus, I noticed the same trend regarding character types as in Snapshot, another Brandon Sanderson novella, and it gets old fast.
The plot’s all right. It’s sort of a sci-fi thriller, with assassins casing Stephan and so on. There was a plot twist regarding how he dealt with the assassin that I found innovative and somehow a bit funny. It’s pretty much the only memorable plot point though.
Basically, Legion: Skin Deep doesn’t improve over the first book in the ways that I hoped. While I do like the core concept, I’d probably only recommend them to die-hard Sanderson fans.