After struggling to find a book to read for a week or so, I actually finished two. Both were novellas, but that worked out pretty well since they went by quickly and got me out of my slump. The first I read was Winterfair Gifts by Lois McMaster Bujold. The other, which I just finished last night, was Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson.
Legion is an interesting series. Part of me feels like it’s a play on the super spy genre since the protagonist miraculously has every ability needed for a given situation. At the same time, Stephen ‘Legion’ Leeds is obviously flawed, and his aspects can be as much of a hindrance as a help. Their distinct personalities and quirks make Legion less of a spy, and more like a coordinator of academics, which pulls the novellas firmly out of the super spy genre that I want to put them in.
While I really like Sanderson’s work, he occasionally has pacing problems in his novels, so the novella format is nice for this series since it keeps the plot quick and tight. The first book was a great introduction to the world and characters, but Skin Deep adds a lot of needed depth. This time around, Sanderson gives much greater insight into how detrimental the aspects are to Stephen’s life, and his tenuous grip on reality is highlighted.
There are some flaws, the main one being that the author was a little too present in some of the scene resolutions (Spoiler alert: I’m referring specifically to the barn scene and how Legion manages to stall Zen. Highlight the spoiler bar to read.) I also felt like some of the aspects weren’t developed the same way Stephen was. That may be due to their nature, but if Stephen is growing and developing, I think more of his aspects should as well.
Overall, I liked it a lot. I like the series and look forward to the next installment.