Brandon Sanderson

Books: Fantasy

Legion: Legion (2012), Legion: Skin Deep (2014), Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds (2018)


Dangerous Women (2013)


Legion (2012)

legionImportant note: this is a novella. I love novellas and short stories, but some people don't, so there's your heads up.

Stephen Leeds has multiple aspects–full fledged personalities that he sees as distinct individuals, yet knows are hallucinations. These hallucinations allow him to solve mysteries and conundrums and have made him very rich and very famous, but also very very tired of being studied and examined.

"Well, true. They're my hallucinations. But Stan is something special. Only Tobias hears him. Tobias is a schizophrenic."

She blinked in surprise. "Your hallucination . . ."


"Your hallucination has hallucinations."

It's a complicated idea, and it is very very well done. I adore the idea that someone might have hallucinations, know they are hallucinations, and be able to put them to use.

"No offense intended, Monica, but you're a sneaky corporate type. Ivy and J.C. figured out ages ago that you're not an engineer. You're either a slimy executive tasked with handling undesirable elements, or you're a slimy security forces leader who does the same."

"What part of that am I not supposed to take offense at?" she asked coolly.

Utterly marvelous.

Published by Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC

June 2014 | Rating: 8.5/10

Audio version read by Oliver Wyman

Publisher: Audible Studios

February 2017 | Rating: 8.5/10

Legion: Skin Deep (2014)

Legion-Skin-Deep copyThis is the second story about Stephen Leeds, and it's just as delightful as the first.

Stephen is insane, but in an extremely useful way.

He is a genius, and to use his genius he manifests different aspects who are experts on whatever he is researching. But he is well-aware that only he can see these aspects and that they are a form of insanity.

At this point, he has manifest enough aspects that he has to be careful when working with them, lest they overwhelm him. Because they all have distinct personas.

"She's a looker, Skinny. Nice work!"

"Half of her is plastic," Ivy said dryly.

"Same goes for my car," J.C. said. "It still looks nice."

It is an utterly fascinating concept, and one that is done extremely well in these novellas.

"Rule number one of decryption," Audrey said. "If you don't have to break the code, don't. People are usually far less secure than the encryption strategies they employ."

I enjoy the first story, was relieves to like this one just as much. I high;y recommend it.

Published by Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC

February 2015 | Rating: 9/10

Audio Version Narrated by Oliver Wyman

Publisher: Audible Studios

June 2017 | Rating: 8/10

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds (2018)

I am super conflicted.

I absolutely adored the first two Legion novellas. They were quite different from anything else, and they were action packed and lots of fun.

This third novella was a problem for me from the start. First and foremost, it was released ONLY with the previous two novellas, and at a super-high price. Right now, a year after initial publication, it's $15 for the kindle version.

That's $15 when I already owned 2/3rds of the material in the book, and there was no way to buy just the third story. I though that was really really crappy.

So I put it on my wish list and eventually got it as a birthday gift.

I started it eagerly, re-reading the first two novellas and enjoying them immensely. The third novella, however, I kept putting down. The previous two were adventure mysteries and I found them fun. This one just felt different (and not in a positive way) from the get go.

So let me back up.

Stephen Leeds is a genius with an eidetic memory–he immediately memorizes any thing he glances at or that plays in the background. But he can't handle the overwhelming amount of information, and so in his schizophrenic, and created aspects, or personalities, each of whom is specialized in some area, from military tactics and weaponry to psychology to languages. These aspects have their own personalities and quirks, and because they can quickly become overwhelming, he has a mansion where each aspect has their own room.

To be clear, Stephen is fully aware that this aspects are hallucinations that he uses to deal with his gifts.

My name is Stephen Leeds, and I am perfectly sane. My hallucinations, however, are all quite mad.

I didn't know what would happen if one of my hallucinations shot me. How would my mind interpret that? Undoubtedly, there were a dozen psychologists who'd want to write a paper on it. I wasn't inclined to give them the opportunity.

One of the things I particularly liked about the first two novellas is that they didn't take things too seriously, and did have a sense of fun.

Take Stephen's meeting with an eccentric billionaire.

"Is the spook here?"

"I'm not CIA," J.C. said. "I'm special forces, you twit."

"Is he annoyed to see me?" Yol asked, grinning behind his garish sunglasses.

"You could say that," I replied. Yol's grin deepened, then he took out his phone and tapped a few buttons. "J.C., I just donated ten grand in your name to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. I just thought you'd like to know."

J.C. growled. Like, literally growled.

I adore that those who accepted Stephen as he was are able to fun with the situation.

So the first two stories are wonderful–Stephen has to help a company recover a camera that is capable of taking pictures into the past in the first. In the second, a biotech firm has created the ability so store data in a human's redundant DNA, but one of the scientists has possibly created a rogue virus and they're not sure what information might have spread or be spreading.

These are both FASCINATING concepts, and (theoretically) plausible (even if not particularly likely).

The third story, however, is all about Stephen finding Sandra–the woman who taught him how to create and use his aspects–and dealing with some of his aspects becoming nightmares. In other words, instead of adventures and solving mysteries, it was really about about Stephen and his mental health, and also some dubious legal shenanigans.

It also ended in a way that made it clear that there will be no more Stephen Leeds stories, which was kinda the tone of the whole story–like he wanted to close off the series, and was writing this novella just to do that, rather than because the world was fine.

I could be wrong, and this might be what he had in mind the entire time, but I still didn't like it.

So, first two novellas were AWESOME. The third, however, was aggravating, and left a bad taste in my mind.

Publisher: Tor Books

August 2019 | Rating: 7/10


Dangerous Women (2013) edited by George R.R. MartinGardner Dozois


There are a lot of different stories here–on purpose.

Dangerous Women was conceived of as a cross-genre anthology, one that would mingle every kind of fiction, so we asked writers from every genre— science fiction, fantasy, mystery, historical, horror, paranormal romance, men and women alike— to tackle the theme of "dangerous women,"

Thus I was fully expecting there to be a number of stories I wouldn't particularly like, or would even skip. And there were. Unfortunately for me, the dislikes were higher in number than the likes, and there were several dystopias, which I really dislike. And a lot of the women were in the neutral to evil category of dangerous. Which is fine, but all that dark got a bit overwhelming, which is why I took several months for me to finish this anthology.

"Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell" by Brandon Sanderson was straight up fantasy, and took a bit to get into, but I ended up liking it. It's about a woman who does what she needs to survive and protect her daughter. I quite liked Silence.

All in all, there were more stories I disliked than liked, which sometimes happens. As this covers all different genres, you're likely to find at least one story you like, you'll just have to decide if it's worth the price.

Published by Tor Books

Rating: 5.5/10