Review of Legion by Brandon Sanderson

July 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Legion by Brandon SandersonLegion
By Brandon Sanderson; Read by Oliver Wyman
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
[UNABRIDGED] – 2 discs; 2 hours

Themes: / fantasy / magic / hallucinations / special powers / novella /

Publisher summary:

Brandon Sanderson is one of the most significant fantasists to enter the field in a good many years. His ambitious, multi-volume epics (Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive) and his stellar continuation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series have earned both critical acclaim and a substantial popular following. In Legion, a distinctly contemporary novella filled with suspense, humor, and an endless flow of invention, Sanderson reveals a startling new facet of his singular narrative talent. Stephen Leeds, AKA “Legion,” is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the story begins, Leeds and his “aspects” are drawn into the search for the missing Balubal Razon, inventor of a camera whose astonishing properties could alter our understanding of human history and change the very structure of society. The action ranges from the familiar environs of America to the ancient, divided city of Jerusalem. Along the way, Sanderson touches on a formidable assortment of complex questions: the nature of time, the mysteries of the human mind, the potential uses of technology, and the volatile connection between politics and faith. Resonant, intelligent, and thoroughly absorbing, Legion is a provocative entertainment from a writer of great originality and seemingly limitless gifts.

Legion is a short, interesting, 2-disc novella by Brandon Sanderson about a man with a unique mental disorder that allows him to do extraordinary things. Sanderson develops some fun characters, interesting abilities (of course this is typical for him), and drops them in a mysterious adventure. My only real complaint about this novella is that I wish there was more.

Those familiar with Sanderson’s style know to expect a unique magic/ability system that leads to an interesting plot. In this case, Stephen Leeds has many hallucinations that all serve as experts in some way that is useful to him such as weapons, knowledge, psychology, etc. People come to Stephen with problems and he can serve as a team of experts to solve whatever case/mystery needed. The trick is that only he can see these hallucinations (think A Beautiful Mind) which can lead to some interesting conversations.

Oliver Wyman does a great job narrating this novella. He did a great job with all the voices and accents from the novella. He does a great vocal equivalent of a skeptical look when characters are dealing with someone talking to hallucinations. I would listen to books narrated by Oliver Wyman again.

Posted by Tom Schreck

Review of Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore

January 9, 2013 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore

Island of the Sequined Love Nun
By Christopher Moore; Read by Oliver Wyman
Publisher: HarperAudio (available on Audible)
[UNABRIDGED] – 11 hours, 39 minutes; 10 CD’s
Published: 2004

Themes: / exotic island / humor / commercial jet / cannibal / cargo cult /

Publisher summary:

Take a wonderfully crazed excursion into the demented heart of a tropical paradise – a world of cargo cults, cannibals, mad scientists, ninjas, and talking fruit bats. Our bumbling hero is Tucker Case, a hopeless geek trapped in a cool guy’s body, who makes a living as a pilot for the Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation. But when he demolishes his boss’s pink plane during a drunken airborne liaison, Tuck must run for his life from Mary Jean’s goons. Now there’s only one employment opportunity left for him: piloting shady secret missions for an unscrupulous medical missionary and a sexy blond high priestess on the remotest of Micronesian hells. Here is a brazen, ingenious, irreverent, and wickedly funny novel from a modern master of the outrageous.

Christopher Moore is a popular writer and satirist in the vein of Terry Pratchett and Kurt Vonnegut with titles like Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal; You Suck: A Love Story; and many Moore (how could I resist?).

Island of the Sequined Love Nun was actually my first foray into his work, but what got me more than anything else, even more than Moore’s popularity and humor, was the title itself. It says it all. And after having read it, it’s an extremely fitting title.

Tucker Case skates by in life, nearly everything has been handed to him, not the least of which is his job flying a pink jet for the Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation, which he almost immediately crashes…while drunkenly fooling around with a girl he “didn’t know was a prostitute.”

With an intro like that, how can you resist?

Tucker is essentially imprisoned as Mary Jean attempts to salvage the situation for her company. Having lost his license to fly, his options are limited and thus begins the meat of our story as Tuck is contacted by a less-than-reputable employer claiming to be doing “missionary service.”

One of the first things I noticed was that Moore is not afraid to be outrageous and he does so often. There are jokes about cannibals, religions, transsexuals, you name it. He pushes the boundaries and even does so a bit too far for this self-admitted prude. Then again, I didn’t not laugh either.

Tucker Case comedically bumbles around the place, just accepting life as it’s handed to him, but the problem is you either love him or hate him, and I found myself leaning toward the latter. He bugged me from the start and he does eventually develop redeeming qualities, but it was almost too late for me. That’s why I couldn’t say I absolutely loved this book, it was just decent.

A big part of how I measure how much I am liking an audiobook is how much I look forward to my morning drive or how much I skive off, to use a British term, whatever I’m doing to listen and while it wasn’t painful, it also wasn’t my favorite.

In the end, Island of the Sequined Love Nun was a good introduction to Christopher Moore. While I didn’t absolutely love it, I will definitely come back for more (I held back!). I’m looking forward to reading some of his more popular works in the near future.

3 out of 5 Stars (Recommended with Reservations)

Review by Bryce L.