Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds is now out. If you aren’t familiar with Brandon’s Legion stories, they’re a mix of action, mystery, and a splash of a Brandon magic system. The first two novellas have been released before, but this omnibus is currently the only place where you can find the final story.
Legion is about a man named Stephen Leeds who is perfectly ordinary except for one small detail: he see hallucinations of people he calls aspects. Each aspect is an expert in a different field and he uses them to solve crimes. The aspects’ unique personalities and the crazy cases that Stephen takes on can make his life very interesting. Whether it’s the paranoid bodyguard J.c., the schizophrenic yet soothing historian Tobias, or the sarcastic psychologist Ivy, each aspect brings Stephen a skill he needs.
Legion and Skin Deep
The first two Legion novellas are both incredibly fun, enjoyable reads. If you haven’t read them and you enjoy faced-paced mysteries, I highly recommend them. These stories have hilarious moments that will make you laugh out loud and tense moments that will put you on the edge of your seat. The ending of Legion: Skin Deep is a particular favorite of mine, where Brandon mixes his standard avalanche with a heavy dose of cleverness and humor to make an incredibly satisfying ending. The characters are all incredibly unique and engaging. Sometimes you love them, and sometimes you want to punch them (I’m looking at you, J.C.), but you’re always rooting for them to pull through.
Lies of the Beholder
This is the part where those of you who haven’t read the first two novellas leave to go do that. Everyone gone? Good. (There will be no spoilers on Lies of the Beholder in this section, however.)
Lies of the Beholder is not your typical Legion book. I know that seems strange to say, as we only have two others to base it on, but it’s true. Where the other two stories were silly and fun, Lies of the Beholder is an emotional rollercoaster. You may find yourself hopeful, angry, and sad. Once again, Brandon proves his ability to make you care deeply about characters you’ve spent so little time with.
But just because Lies of the Beholder is different than the other stories, that doesn’t mean it loses all of the aspects (pun intended) you’ve grown to love in the other Legion books. It still has a tightly-paced story filled with mystery and action. Lies of the Beholder has the tightest plot of all three novellas, and the questions it brings up are ones that have been lingering in the background of the entire trilogy: questions about Sandra and the nature of aspects.
While the aspects often stole the show in Legion and Skin Deep, Lies of the Beholder is truly Stephen’s story. You’ll get to experience his emotions and thoughts as he's in his most raw and vulnerable state. It’s fitting, then, that Lies of the Beholder is labelled as "A Stephen Leeds Story" and the other two aren’t, as this is the first story that truly focuses on him.
Lies of the Beholder is by no means a perfect book. I have plenty of problems with it myself. Some of the mysteries brought up throughout the series weren’t answered as well as I’d hoped or expected they’d be. I felt that some characters got shoved to the side in favor of the story Brandon wanted to tell, when instead I wanted to get to know those characters more. And at times, I felt the story moved a little too fast, to the detriment of the impact of some events. (Some people here disagree with my assessment here, however.) But overall, I think most people will agree that this story is a satisfactory conclusion to Stephen’s story. It wraps things up with more emotion than I or anyone else expected out of this novella. Just because these characters don’t exist, it doesn’t mean they aren’t real to us.
Need more perspective on Lies of the Beholder, or want spoilery discussion on it? Just wait until Thursday's Shardcast, where we will talk about our reactions and thoughts to the story.
Discuss your Lies of the Beholder reactions in our spoiler thread: http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/77697-lies-of-the-beholder-reaction-thread-spoilers/