Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “I Am Legend” as Want to Read:
I Am Legend
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

I Am Legend

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  96,759 ratings  ·  6,150 reviews
Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth... but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has succumbed to the vampire plague, and they are hungry for Neville's blood.

By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

How long can one man survive like
Paperback, SF Masterworks #2, 160 pages
Published January 21st 1999 by Millennium (first published July 1954)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about I Am Legend, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Tim The book plotline is so different from the movie, I didn't really have a hard time with it. I assumed he looked like Will Smith in my head till Mathes…moreThe book plotline is so different from the movie, I didn't really have a hard time with it. I assumed he looked like Will Smith in my head till Matheson gave a description, and then the description seemed to make more sense with the book character's life and personality. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  96,759 ratings  ·  6,150 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of I Am Legend
May 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
"I am legend". These words make me shudder. But if you have only seen that Will Smith movie that went 180 degrees on the book's message, the soul-crushing impact of these words will be lost on you.
That makes me sad...

To quote Stephen King, "I think the author who influenced me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson."
This was enough of a recommendation for me to go and dig up this book. And it's great.
(view spoiler)
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Absolutely disturbing modern classic! Robert Nevile is the last human in town, maybe on earth. All others are infected and turned into vampires. You read how more and more got infected, how they were buried (this will give you nightmares). There was a pandemic (seems familiar in times like ours at the moment). Ben Cortman, colleague and neighbour who reminds him on Oliver Hardy (the comedian) shouts every evening he should come out. But Robert doesn't want to turn into one of them. He does resea ...more
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: seen-movie, usa, 2013
I loved this book! Was very creepy to read.
I thought it was brillant from beginning to end.

One of my favourite books of all time ever!
That ending! WOW
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~

Honestly, this is a tough book to review.

I did like the story, but one of the biggest bothers for me here was not fully understanding why the world has gone to shit & why everyone is now a vampire.

The book just drops you right in the middle of Robert Neville's situation, which is a day to day existence of killing vampires during the day & hiding in his house during the night.

I'm the kind of SF reader who likes a bit of depth to be given to the cause of disaster, and this story largely gloss
Ahmad Sharabiani
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson

It was influential in the development of the zombie-vampire genre and in popularizing the concept of a worldwide apocalypse due to disease.

Robert Neville appears to be the sole survivor of a pandemic that has killed most of the human population and turned the remainder into "vampires" that largely conform to their stereotypes in fiction and folklore: they are blood-sucking, pale-skinned, and nocturnal, though otherwise indistinguishable from normal humans.

Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just re-read this after watching some of the movies based on it. It's truly a chilling book. It's an apocalyptic novel. The vampire plague has destroyed our society. Much of the book focuses on our hero's loneliness. When he finds an uninfected dog, his attempts to befriend it are almost pathetic & truly heart-wrenching. It's well worth reading.

There are 3 movies that I know of that are based on this book.

The Last Man On Earth starring Vincent Price in the mid 60's. This follows the book pret
Merphy Napier
I loved this book. It was really interesting the whole way through with a MC that really had to work hard to figure out how to get out of this situation. It was so cool figuring it out beside him. Easy classic to read - def recommend
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013

I was going to rate the book a lukewarm 3 stars, but then I looked once more at the date of publication (1954) and reconsidered. A bit of historical perspective, of literary context elevates this novel to the well deserved 'genre classic' status. At the time Matheson published his science-fiction take on the gothic vampire myth, the market was a lot different from today's oversaturated landscape that has largely trivialized the subject and gave it a curious teenage romance slant. Even bringing i
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I’m not much of what you might call a “vampire guy.” By which I mean both that I am not a vampire, or a guy who likes vampires or vampire-themed endeavors. Thus it stands to reason that I never would have read Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend had not the wildcard of my book club chosen it as this month’s selection. Frankly, I was a little underwhelmed by the choice. The critical “blurbs” did not help matters along. Dean Koontz said it was the “most riveting vampire novel since Dracula,” which is g ...more
Johann (jobis89)
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"The strength of the vampire is that no one will believe in him."

Robert Neville is the last man on earth...or is he? Following the outbreak of an incurable plague that has mutated every other human on earth into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures, Robert Neville must scavenge for food and supplies during the day, whilst hiding in his boarded-up, vampire-proof home at night. Living a solitary life for so long is not easy, and so he is constantly on the look-out for fellow survivors...

This was a bu
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of classic apocalypse
Recommended to carol. by: SciFi and Fantasy Book Club monthly read

There are some excellent reviews out there. I know I was complaining about sqeeing and gifs recently, but I can't help but think a classic book like this could use a little modern reviewing.




I'm a little mixed in my reading reactions to a novella that feels more like a self-conscious allegorical tale than truly innovative storytelling. The short, choppy prose suited the narrator, but gave a more limited ambiance to the setting. Given the protagonist Neville's relatively easy ability i
This was creepy and sad too. I don't think I would have lasted long as the last person alive. I would have just given up and let myself get caught! The vampires of this story are quite zombie like, I thought. How events turn out in the end surprised me.
Morgue Anne
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Scifi and Horror Fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure if reading about a global pandemic that wiped out most of the worlds population was really wise at the minute, but the fact that they turned into vampires was a welcomed twist??

With sole survivor Robert Nevillie spends most of his days in isolation as he battles to find a cure, felt so devastatingly real.
As the main theme of loneliness and repetition soon leads to depression shows how much we crave human interaction.
Learing the fate of Robert's wife and daughter is even more tragic.
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
1. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize for all of the Will Smith jokes. It's going to be difficult, but I will refrain from including him in this review.

2. Stuff I liked - Matheson does an amazing job in describing the situation Neville has deal with as the only person left in the world. The scariest parts for me where when Matheson deals with themes like isolation and loneliness. That stuff was much more terrifying than the vampires (more on them later). There were entire chapters of
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb: Robert Neville is the last man left alive on Earth...but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire. Neville spends his days scavenging for food and supplies, and hunting down the undead in their lairs in the ruins of civilisation. At night, he becomes the hunted and barricades himself in his home, waiting and praying for the dawn.

I Am Legend was one of the first, and certainly t
Kat  Hooper
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I don’t like vampire novels much, so I wasn’t planning to read Richard Matheson’s classic vampire story I am Legend which was published in 1954, is also known by the title The Omega Man, and is, of course, the basis for the movie I am Legend.

But then I recently read and was enthralled by two other books by Matheson: The Incredible Shrinking Man and Steel and Other Stories. I realized that The Incredible Shrinking Man wasn’t really so much about a man who w
May 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Four fifths of the way through and the only thing on my mind was how incredibly boring and one-dimensional Robert Neville is. You would think that someone forced into solitude and surrounded by death and insanity would have a wonderfully colourful and twisted mind - if you're going to have a book revolving around a single character, make him a really good one. So, it wasn't until he began chasing, abusing and kidnapping a woman in the name of science (everything in this book was tunnel-viewed 'i ...more
Richard Matheson may be the most underrated genre writer ever. When you look at a list of his books- I Am Legend, Somewhere In Time, Hell House, Duel: Terror Stories, What Dreams May Come- just to name a few, you realize how unique and diverse his talent was.

This novel, I Am Legend, a perfect little bricolage of apocalyptic, dystopian, sci-fi, horror, vampire, zombie, is probably his best known work, although I'm partial to Somewhere in Time (Bid Time Return) being such a romantic sentimentalist
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Los Angeles, about 22 years into the future (Jan. 1976 - Jan. 1979 in this book; copyright 1954, which really shows in some of the book's views). After the 'plague' finished in 1975, Robert Neville seems to be the only human left immune and alive. He's not anywhere like Will Smith, lookwise, English-German man in late 30s with blue eyes, blond going bald (and later with a beard). When we meet him he's been living at his present place for 5 months. Trying to survive, and wondering what caused eve ...more
Graeme Rodaughan
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone into early Apocalypse literature
Vampire Hunter Shocker! Last Human Loses Battle with the Bottle!: "We'll It's just not the Hollywood ending we were all expecting!" - Post-Apocalyptic Tattler.

One guy against a world filled with vampires.

I went into this book with an expectation of action. When the story had action scenes, they were done very well, and there is a wonderfully suspenseful and thrilling chase scene in the first half of the book. However, action, suspense and thrills were absent for most of the rest of the book.

Mike (the Paladin)
This is another one of those times when there are people who if they could would give this book far more than the allowed 5 while if I were rating it on "enjoyment alone" I'd be looking to give it negative stars. I realize this is one of the "classics" of science fiction (or science fantasy)and I don't care. I read it years ago and while I find the writing in places rates my recognition of it's quality...I don't care for the book.

Like some of Matheson's other works there are some questions that
Let me being this review by saying that I never saw any of the movie adaptations of this book. I turned the first page of "I Am Legend" with zero knowledge of what Hollywood did to it because a friend of mine gave me an important warning. He said: "When it comes to this story, there is no movie; there is just the book".

The story is Robert Neville's, the last man on Earth after a strange plague has turned every other human being into a vampire. He lives in a carefully barricaded house, stuffed wi
Megan Baxter
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Yet again, I've been breaking the rules. This time, it wasn't on purpose! But I went into reading I Am Legend knowing the ending, knowing the twist. Years ago, you see, my husband had wanted to talk about the book, probably when the most recent adaptation to movie form had come out, and I am well known for not reading horror, so it wasn't an unreasonable assumption that I would never read this.

So, wrong, in the long run, but it made reading this for the first time a very different experience tha
David Sarkies
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
The Last Human
23 March 2020

I first heard about this book because somebody decided to make a movie with the same title with Will Smith as the lead role. Well, when I saw the trailers I certainly felt that it looked quite interesting, especially since he seemed to be driving around a completely empty New York City. In fact, I sort of wonder whether that is what New York City is like these days. Melbourne certainly does seem to be much emptier than usual, and while I sort of would like to catch a
This is definitely one of the Grand-daddies of the Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian/Virus/Monsters-taking-over-the-world stories.

This book had to be a commentary on where Matheson thought we were headed as a society - not just a simple tale of vampires created by a virus.

It is amazing how much he fits in to a 160 page book. I am thinking that Matheson must have been a master of telling a lot of story in very few pages.

A very suspenseful and quick read. This would be a great choice for horror fans, po
Encouraged by my reading group to try this piece by Richard Matheson, I was soon pulled into the world of vampires and a massive plague (how fitting!) as this story unravelled. Robert Neville is in a battle against the world, or so it seems to him. His house surrounded by vampires, Neville must try to negotiate his way around in order to ensure he has the necessities to fend off the attack. Many of his friends and neighbours have succumbed to these blood sucking beasts, but there must be more to ...more
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
The world is in ruins. The vampire plague has claimed all human life. Except for Robert Neville; mankind's lone survivor.

This is a classic hard-hitting case of "it's not you, it's me." I'll have to apologise to the book after gathering my thoughts.

In hindsight, I Am Legend is an astounding work of dystopian fiction, a classic example of a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a grim and horrifying future. I wish I realised that while I was reading it. Unfortunately, I could never get into it. It
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, pre-80s-sf
“As he entered the silent store, the smell of rotted food filled his nostrils. Quickly he pushed a metal wagon up and down the silent, dust-thick aisles, the heavy smell of decay setting his teeth on edge, making him breathe through his mouth.”

This book was adapted into a 1964 film called “The Last Man on Earth” (the first of several adaptations). I have not seen the film yet but the title is very apt, if a little on the nose, perhaps. The above quote is an example of the feeling of loneliness t
Dirk Grobbelaar
Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wife-books, horror
A novel that has been both heavily criticized and revered, I Am Legend straddles an uneasy line between Horror and Science Fiction. However, there is no denying its influence, nor its simple charm. In comparison with some of the 'vampire' drivel being served up today, this little novel is indeed legend. It ranks with Salem's Lot as one of my favourite reads on the vampire mythos. I know that the science isn't sound, but Matheson has done a terrific job of introducing new ways to broach the subje ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Castle Dracula: I Am Legend - Richard Matheson 7 30 Nov 06, 2020 04:36PM  
Huntsville-Madiso...: Hoopla Pick - October 27 - I Am Legend 1 4 Oct 27, 2020 11:22AM  
I am Legend Video Analysis 1 1 Jul 06, 2020 11:00AM  
The Ink to Film B...: I Am Legend DISCUSSION 1 8 May 27, 2020 02:29PM  
Never too Late to...: 2020 April I am Legend 43 29 May 05, 2020 06:33PM  
Soy Leyenda - La "Traducción" 1 1 Feb 29, 2020 03:00PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • I Am Legend
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
  • The Road
  • The Mist
  • I, Robot (Robot, #0.1)
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • The War of the Worlds
  • The Exorcist
  • American Psycho
  • The Troop
  • The Haunting of Hill House
  • The Day of the Triffids
  • The Stand
  • The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • Flowers for Algernon
  • 'Salem's Lot
  • Rendevous With Rama
See similar books…
Born in Allendale, New Jersey to Norwegian immigrant parents, Matheson was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1943. He then entered the military and spent World War II as an infantry soldier. In 1949 he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and moved to California in 1951. He married in 1952 and has four children, three of w ...more

Articles featuring this book

Hollywood has a long-standing tradition of adapting horror novels into frightening films. From 1930s classics like Dracula and...
103 likes · 71 comments
“Full circle. A new terror born in death, a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend.” 238 likes
“In a world of monotonous horror
there could be no salvation in wild dreaming.”
More quotes…