Audio Book Review: Legion (Legion Book 1 of 2)

Legion - Brandon Sanderson

This is a fun little story. Did you have invisible friends when you were a child? I had a whole fleet of them -- different friends for different circumstances and occasionally they would all get together at the same time and we’d have a big party. Well, the main character in this story has a lot of invisible friends too. The thing is, he’s an adult and he can really see them. The main character, Stephen, is incredibly smart, but his knowledge and skills have been divided up into different “aspects” of himself, which manifest as actual people with whom he has conversations. He’s fully aware that these people don’t really exist, but he mostly interacts with them as if they were real.


Since the story is so short, I don’t really want to talk about the plot for fear of spoiling the fun of reading/listening to it for somebody else. I’ll just say that it’s interesting, and that it’s sort of a cross between a mystery and science fiction. The story is resolved pretty well and stands alone well enough although there are some small threads left hanging. There’s a lot of humor in the story and my only real complaint is that it wasn’t longer – I would have loved a full-length novel with this character and setting.  It was just too short to get into things in as much depth as I would have liked.


I actually listened to this as an audio book. I don’t have a lot of audiobook experience, but I thought the narrator did a great job and was easy to follow. I could tell which character the narrator was speaking for even before the speaking character had been identified. The story kept my attention very well which is something I sometimes have trouble with when listening to audio books. I had actually listened to this story once before, a few years back, but I enjoyed it equally as much the second time. I’m listening to it again now because I intend to listen to the sequel soon and I wanted to refresh my memory.


The rest of this post is random rambling about audio books and my October plans – not a review of this book.

I have a poor success rate with audio books, as I’ve occasionally noted in comments on other people’s posts. I love the idea of audio books.  What could be better than enjoying a good story while doing something else that’s tedious but necessary? The problem is that I get distracted more easily while listening to them, it’s harder to go back and re-listen to sections I’ve missed, I’m less likely to pause and reflect on something interesting or thought-provoking, I don’t usually go back and re-listen to confusing parts like I would if I were reading the book myself, and I just generally don’t retain and absorb material nearly as well by hearing it as I do by reading it.  If I had the time, I could type up an entire essay on my difficulties with audio books.


However, I’ve had a couple great experiences with audio books in the past, which is one reason I keep coming back to the idea over and over even though most of my attempts fail within the first two hours of the book. During the month of October and possibly November, I’m involved in a major project for my job that will require some long hours and a few road trips. (I know I’m probably not the most active person on your dashboards, but I’ll probably be even quieter than usual for the rest of the month.) Anyway, because of the planned road trips, I thought it was time to give audio books another try.


This audio book was only about two hours long. I downloaded the sequel when it was on sale a while back because I remembered enjoying the first book, but I never got around to listening to its sequel.  I’ll probably listen to it in about a week when I have another long drive. The sequel is twice as long at around four hours.


Somebody once suggested to me that audio books might work better for me if I listened to books I’d already read for myself in the past. I thought that sounded like a really great and logical idea, but I haven’t given it a try yet. I think it would help with my frustration about getting distracted and missing things, because I would already know the story. Knowing the story, and knowing I’ve chosen one I like, might also help with my attention span. On the other hand, the trick will be to not choose a story that I know so well that I tune it out because I already know what will happen. Another advantage is that some books can be bought super cheap on audio if you’ve already bought the Kindle edition through Amazon. So I’ve decided that, whenever I manage to finish the second Legion audiobook, I will listen to the first book in the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks, The Way of Shadows. I read that one several years back, and I remember really enjoying it, but I also remember remarkably little about the story. But it will probably be at least two or three weeks before I get to it, if I do.