Review: Lies of the Beholder

Lies of the Beholder (Legion, #3)Lies of the Beholder by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This novella is a great wrap-up to the story of Stephen Leeds. Now that the trilogy is published as one volume, I think that’s going to be your best way to get into the story. For this final entry, we find that Leeds seems to be losing a grip on his ability to keep himself sane by expanding out into various aspects. It’s such a short story there’s not too much more to be said about it, so I’ll consider the entire story.

I don’t know if there’s any real mental condition that has either the symptoms or cures that Sanderson explores with the Legion series, but I think Sanderson does a good job creating an interesting set of stories around the condition. However, I actually prefer the way he’s handling a similar condition over in his Stormlight series. There the character also has conversations with various aspects, but also (I think slightly more realistically?) can have a particular aspect take control of the body and be the primary aspect for a time. The first two stories in Legion are more like detective stories with a little psychological fantasy laid over top. The ending is less of a detective story than a thriller. I think Sanderson definitely sticks the landing and makes great use of everything he’s been building up in Leeds to great effect. As for the bit of science fiction that makes up the crux of this story, I think Sanderson’s creativity works a bit better in a fantasy world. I guess we already know this is a fantasy world because of the camera from the first story (or second, I can’t remember), but the tech here really blurs the line of whether it’s supposed to be more fantastical or SF and it feel slightly flat for me.

In the end, if you got the novellas individually, I think this entry is a good conclusion. If you haven’t, I think it’s an interesting series that’s worth the price of admission, but don’t consider this to be ultimate Sanderson – check out his Mistborn Series, Warbreaker, or The Stormlight Archive for that.

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