Skin Deep (Legion Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson

Posted June 21, 2015 by Jay Magidson in Reviews / 2 Comments

Skin Deep (Legion Book 2) by Brandon SandersonSkin Deep by Brandon Sanderson
Narrator: Oliver Wyman
Series: Legion #2
Published by Audible Studios on 24 November 2014
Length: 4 hrs and 23 mins
Genres: Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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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 short, distinctly contemporary novella filled with suspense, humor, and an endless flow of invention, Sanderson revealed a startling new facet of his singular narrative talent. In the stunning sequel, Legion: Skin Deep, that talent is on full display.

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 new story begins, Leeds and his "aspects" are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. But there's a catch. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body. And that something might be dangerous... What follows is a visionary thriller about the potential uses of technology, the mysteries of the human personality, and the ancient human need to believe that death is not the end. Legion: Skin Deep is speculative fiction at its most highly developed. It reaffirms Sanderson's place as one of contemporary fiction's most intelligent - and unpredictable - voices.

©2014 Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC (P)2014 Audible Inc.


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You’ve read Legion, enjoyed it and want to listen to more of the escapades of Stephen Leeds, brilliant psychiatric patient. Skin Deep is about twice as long as Legion, but still not long enough to be called a book, maybe a novella at this length. There is no reason the two books (stories) couldn’t have been combined into one book with different adventures. Too much of this book is spent re-explaining Stephen Leeds’ condition and why he doesn’t need medical help, etc. If you listen to the two books within a short time of one another, this will sound tedious.

Sanderson introduces a few new characters from Leeds’ many personalities. Basically it is more of the same, the super brilliant mental patient who can learn anything quickly to solve any puzzle given by using his many personalities. Unfortunately, the freshness of the idea has worn somewhat thin this go around. The plot is completely unbelievable and ridiculous. Though charming in the first volume, it is somewhat insulting to the listener in the second. Sanderson has this great idea about such an interesting character and his legion, yet falls so flat with a plot that fails to move them through the story. Disappointing.

Oliver Wyman is the same narrator as in Legion and does a generally good job. His character voice of one of the new female personalities is difficult to differentiate at times and is occasionally confusing, but not to the point of ruining the story. You just have to wait until the dialogue tells you who was speaking. Overall, fine job.

If you loved Legion, you will like Skin Deep. The franchise is growing thin, however. A compelling story to guide the characters would help immensely to keeping this series fresh. Overall an OK listen.

About Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson was born in 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a child Brandon enjoyed reading, but he lost interest in the types of titles often suggested to him, and by junior high he never cracked a book if he could help it. This changed when an eighth grade teacher gave him Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly.

Brandon was working on his thirteenth novel when Moshe Feder at Tor Books bought the sixth he had written. Tor has published Elantris , the Mistborn trilogy and its followup The Alloy of Law , Warbreaker , and The Way of Kings , the first in the planned ten-volume series The Stormlight Archive. He was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series; 2009’s The Gathering Storm and 2010’s Towers of Midnight were followed by the final book in the series, A Memory of Light , in January 2013. Four books in his middle-grade Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians series were released by Scholastic, and his novella Infinity Blade Awakening was an ebook bestseller for Epic Games accompanying their acclaimed Infinity Blade iOS video game series. Two more novellas, Legion and The Emperor s Soul , were released by Subterranean Press and Tachyon Publications in 2012, and 2013 brings two young adult novels, The Rithmatist from Tor and Steelheart from Delacorte.

The only author to make the short list for the David Gemmell Legend Award six times in four years, Brandon won that award in 2011 for The Way of Kings. The Emperor’s Soul won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novella. He has hit the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Best-Seller List seven times, with all three Wheel of Time books hitting the #1 spot.

About Jay Magidson

Lover of books, Sci-Fi, 19th Century literature, young adult, and more, as long as it's good, I'll read or listen. I'm a writer as well, my weekly art column was published for years in the Aspen Daily News, Roaring Fork Sunday and Aspen Sojourner Magazine. I have 5 books in print, all pretty entertaining if you'd like to check them out. And my Sci-Fi novel, "Threshold of the Mind" was recently produced into an audiobook, read by award winning actor: Jeff Clarke (Chicago, Mad Men).

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2 responses to “Skin Deep (Legion Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson

  1. nrlymrtl
    Twitter:

    I enjoyed both Legion and Skin Deep, but I did listen to them perhaps a year apart (whatever the difference is in publication dates). I found enough amusement in book 2 that I could ignore the fact that details of Leeds condition was repeated. I do think you are right though in that if you listened to these back to back, you might be put off by that repetition. However, that same repetition allows book 2 to stand on it’s own allowing the listener to enjoy it if they have not already given Legion a go.

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