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Legion #1-3

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds

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A story in three life-shattering acts.

Includes the never-before-published Legion: Lies of the Beholder.

Stephen Leeds is perfectly sane. It’s his hallucinations who are mad.

A genius of unrivaled aptitude, Stephen can learn any new skill, vocation, or art in a matter of hours. However, to contain all of this, his mind creates hallucinatory people—Stephen calls them aspects—to hold and manifest the information. Wherever he goes, he is joined by a team of imaginary experts to give advice, interpretation, and explanation. He uses them to solve problems. . .for a price.

His brain is getting a little crowded and the aspects have a tendency of taking on lives of their own. When a company hires him to recover stolen property—a camera that can allegedly take pictures of the past—Stephen finds himself in an adventure crossing oceans and fighting terrorists. What he discovers may upend the foundation of three major world religions—and, perhaps, give him a vital clue into the true nature of his aspects.

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds includes the novellas Legion and Legion: Skin Deep, published together for the first time, as well as a brand-new, shocking finale to Stephen Leeds' story, Lies of the Beholder.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published September 18, 2018

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About the author

Brandon Sanderson

389 books210k followers
I’m Brandon Sanderson, and I write stories of the fantastic: fantasy, science fiction, and thrillers.

Defiant, the fourth and final volume of the series that started with Skyward in 2018, comes out in November 2023, capping an already book-filled year that will see the releases of all four Secret Projects: Tress of the Emerald Sea, The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England, Yumi and the Nightmare Painter, and Secret Project Four (with its official title reveal coming October 2023). These four books were all initially offered to backers of the #1 Kickstarter campaign of all time.

November 2022 saw the release of The Lost Metal, the seventh volume in the Mistborn saga, and the final volume of the Mistborn Era Two featuring Wax & Wayne. The third era of Mistborn is slated to be written after the first arc of the Stormlight Archive wraps up.

In November 2020 we saw the release of Rhythm of War—the fourth massive book in the New York Times #1 bestselling Stormlight Archive series that began with The Way of Kings—and Dawnshard (book 3.5), a novella set in the same world that bridges the gaps between the main releases. This series is my love letter to the epic fantasy genre, and it’s the type of story I always dreamed epic fantasy could be. The fifth volume, Wind and Truth, is set for release in fall 2024.

Most readers have noticed that my adult fantasy novels are in a connected universe called the Cosmere. This includes The Stormlight Archive, both Mistborn series, Elantris, Warbreaker, and various novellas available on Amazon, including The Emperor’s Soul, which won a Hugo Award in 2013. In November 2016 all of the existing Cosmere short fiction was released in one volume called Arcanum Unbounded. If you’ve read all of my adult fantasy novels and want to see some behind-the-scenes information, that collection is a must-read.

I also have three YA series: The Rithmatist (currently at one book), The Reckoners (a trilogy beginning with Steelheart), and Skyward. For young readers I also have my humorous series Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, which had its final book, Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians, come out in 2022. Many of my adult readers enjoy all of those books as well, and many of my YA readers enjoy my adult books, usually starting with Mistborn.

Additionally, I have a few other novellas that are more on the thriller/sci-fi side. These include the Legion series, as well as Perfect State and Snapshot. There’s a lot of material to go around!

Good starting places are Mistborn (a.k.a. The Final Empire), Skyward, Steelheart,The Emperor’s Soul, and Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians. If you’re already a fan of big fat fantasies, you can jump right into The Way of Kings.

I was also honored to be able to complete the final three volumes of The Wheel of Time, beginning with The Gathering Storm, using Robert Jordan’s notes.

Sample chapters from all of my books are available at brandonsanderson.com—and check out the rest of my site for chapter-by-chapter annotations, deleted scenes, and more.

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Profile Image for Petrik.
687 reviews46k followers
November 30, 2018
Fun and thrilling to dark, poignant and intimate, Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds have them all.

This omnibus was my second venture into Sanderson’s non-Cosmere book/trilogy; the first one being Snapshot. Once again, Sanderson didn’t disappoint. Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds is an omnibus that encapsulated Sanderson’s Legion trilogy into one volume, specifically, Legion, Legion: Skin Deep, and Legion: Lies of the Beholder. If you haven’t read any of the trilogy, I strongly suggest you get this edition.

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

The story in this trilogy is centered on Stephen Leeds and his hallucinations. At its core, this is a detective story tinged with a bit of superhero aspect. Each book in the trilogy features a standalone story. The first book introduced us to the characters and the setting nicely but admittedly, although I enjoyed this one, it was still too short even for a novella. The second book was a great improvement as the pages count increased, there was more room to develop the story and characters that have been introduced in the previous installment. Finally, the third and final book concluded Stephen Leeds story wonderfully.

“You should know by now that I've already had greatness. I traded it for mediocrity and some measure of sanity.”

The tone of the story in the first two books was light-hearted and fun, but the third book took a darker tone as Stephen deals with his declining mental state more. This brings the third book to be my favorite of the trilogy; it was intense, well-written, and well-paced. I know that there will be a lot of readers that’s disappointed with how the story ended but I personally loved it. Lies of the Beholder ended on a bittersweet and personal (for Sanderson) note. In my opinion, not only Sanderson greatly explored how scary mental illness can be, if you’ve read a lot of Sanderson’s books then you should also realize that he pretty much channeled himself brilliantly into the character of Stephen Leeds within the final section of the series to conclude the trilogy on an intimate note.

“All the things that matter in life are the things you can’t measure.”

The characters of the book may not be included in some of the best characters that Sanderson ever wrote, but they were still well-written. Although the story was told exclusively from Stephen’s perspective in first person POV, to me it was the side characters that made Stephen’s character felt more alive. The side characters—the aspects/hallucinations—have such distinctive and well-fleshed out personality. J.C, Ivy, Tobias, and Audrey easily took the spotlight of the book for me. I love Stephen’s interaction with his hallucinations and the hallucinations have a fascinating relationship with each other.

“Well, when the fear of death seizes you—when the dark thoughts come—you stare the darkness right back, and you tell it, ‘I will not listen to you, for I am infinite Batmans.”

As I mentioned before, this was one of the very rare occurrences where Sanderson utilized first-person narration. Admittedly, I prefer Sanderson when he’s writing in third-person perspective but the first-person approach was definitely more suitable for the kind of story featured in this trilogy. As usual, the writing was still vivid and very easy to read and digest. I know that a lot of people hated Sanderson’s simplistic prose, I personally loved it. It’s a great feeling to be able to read a book while you’re tired without feeling like you won’t be able to appreciate the story because you have to juggle through mazes of words that’s heavier than skyscraper *cough*Kharkanas trilogy*cough.

My minor con was the lack of intricate world-building and hard-rule magic system that has always been a staple in Sanderson’s Cosmere work. Although understandable because the setting of the series takes place in our world, I still miss it. Some of Sanderson’s greatest talent as an author is his capability to tell a detailed world-building full of history and lore that’s accompanied by an incredible magic system while making sure they’re easy for readers to follow. None of them are here. The magic (hallucinations) also felt quite Deus ex Machina-ish. The only other series I know which utilized mental illness as their magic system was Michael R. Fletcher’s Manifest Delusions and in my opinion, Fletcher did it so much better.

Reading this in the omnibus edition also adds extra depths to the story. Each chapter begins with a Rorschach image that displayed Stephen’s mental and psychological state. Sanderson has also mentioned in the acknowledgment section of this omnibus how the concluding installment of this book is the most personal book he has ever written so far. If you’ve read a lot of Sanderson’s books, you’ll know the reason behind this when you read the final chapter and epilogue of Lies of the Beholder. If you don’t know, I strongly suggest reading his blog post: Voices in my Head: Part Three AFTER you finished the trilogy so that you’ll be able to appreciate the nuances behind the ending of the series. Below this is an excerpt taken from the blog post:

“And yet, by the end of the third one, I had indeed expressed something that was deeply personal—and real in ways that it is still strange to me that a piece of fiction can reach.

But that’s the point of stories, or at least one of them. A medium through which we can all connect in ways that we never could solely by explaining ourselves. Because art reaches inside us, and expresses aspects of ourselves that aren’t deliberate, there’s a truth and genuineness to it. A raw sincerity that isn’t always about which part of the three-act structure you’re crossing right now, or which part of a character arc this event is fulfilling. Those are important to give us a framework. But it is not itself the art.

The structure is the skeleton, but the art is the eyes. The part you can see into and feel it looking back at you. The part that somehow—despite my best attempts to quantify it—is a soul that lives on its own, and defies explanation.”
- Brandon Sanderson

And with that, it's time to close another review for Sanderson’s books. Not gonna lie, I’m starting to feel anxious that I don’t have a lot of Sanderson books left to read. I’ve read and reviewed more than twenty Sanderson's books and I must say that—excluding White Sands—I loved every one of them; including his non-Cosmere works. Legion: The Many lives of Stephen Leeds was fun, thrilling, original, and bittersweet. I highly recommend this omnibus to anyone who's looking for a short satisfying trilogy to read, as far as novella goes, this trilogy was awesome.

Series Review:

Legion: 3.5/5 stars
Skin Deep: 4/5 stars
Lies of the Beholder: 4.5/5 stars

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds: 12/15 stars

You can buy the book with free shipping by clicking this link!

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
March 4, 2020
I was SO excited to see a wrap-up to this trilogy of SF novellas by Brandon Sanderson! Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds is set of three interlocking science fiction/mystery novellas, with the detective role played by schizophrenic genius Stephen Leeds and his legion of hallucinatory alter egos or “aspects,” as he prefers to refer to them. The first two previously published novellas, “Legion” and “Legion: Skin Deep,” are now published together for the first time, along with a new third novella, "Lies of the Beholder," that wraps up the series and answers some questions that have been loose threads since Legion. (What happened to Stephen’s mentor and lost love Sandra? Why did she disappear from his life? And why do some of Stephen’s aspects periodically vanish?)

In the preface to this set, Sanderson comments:
Psychology-as-superpower is a recurring theme in my works. I’ve always believed that the personality traits that make us each distinctive (the way we process information, the way we motivate ourselves, the way we shelter our psyche from the bad while learning to cherish the good) can be either our greatest strengths or our most dramatic limitations…

The premise was simple: What if a man’s hallucinations proved beneficial to him in his life, rather than the typical distraction?
It’s such a unique concept, and Brandon Sanderson has a lot of fun with it. Stephen Leeds has given form and shape to the voices in his head, giving them each a unique personality and field of expertise (based upon Stephen’s own readings). And once Stephen passes off his knowledge about, say, computers to a particular aspect, that knowledge is completely unavailable to him, “forgotten” by Stephen unless the aspect tells him about it in an imagined discussion. Stephen has been so successful solving crimes and other complex problems using his invisible army of experts that he’s been able to buy a mansion large enough to house himself and his cohort of some forty-plus aspects (who each require their own room) and distance himself from an overly-curious world. Now he accepts only those cases that he finds particularly interesting.

The mystery in “Legion,” the first novella, involves an international search for a stolen camera that can take pictures of people and events at any time in the past. It’s a device that’s been used several times before in science fiction; most notably, T. L. Sherred’s 1947 novelette “E for Effort” (collected in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume 2B), Isaac Asimov’s 1956 short story “The Dead Past,” and Orson Scott Card’s 1996 novel Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. Legion doesn’t really add anything new from a science fiction point of view. Sanderson’s story points out some of the problems with the theory of time travel (branching paths of reality; Earth not being in the same place in space as it was in the past you are traveling to, or taking pictures of), but it doesn’t ever try answer those questions.

Sanderson’s primary focus, and the real attraction of these novellas, is the unique psychology of Stephen Leeds, and the hilarious and colorful cast of hallucinated aspects surrounding him: J.C., the paranoid, trigger-happy ex-Navy SEAL and weapons expert; Armando, the trick photography expert who is convinced he’s the rightful emperor of Mexico; Tobias the schizophrenic historian and philosopher; Kalyani the linguist; and so on. Stephen’s aspects all are brilliant in different fields, all have their own differing mental illnesses, and all are utterly real to him, even though at the same time he is logically aware that they’re imaginary. It’s odd because they’re so completely real to him, but at the same time he *knows* they’re not real. And his hallucinations (for the most part) also understand that they’re not real, but so much of Steven’s life and his tenuous hold on sanity depend on him, and them, acting like they are real. It’s fascinating, and sometimes it gets really meta, which I love (it’s great brain exercise). Monica, who hires Stephen to solve the case of the missing camera, points out to Stephen:
You create these delusions so that you can foist things off on them. Your brilliance, which you find a burden. Your responsibility — they have to drag you along and make you help people. This lets you pretend, Mister Leeds. Pretend you are normal. But that’s the real delusion.
But real or not, Stephen’s legion of invisible experts are a lot of fun to read about.

I’m especially fond of J.C., the politically incorrect ex-Navy SEAL aspect whose smart-mouth comments are the source of most of the humor in the Legion stories. “Skin Deep,” the second novella, gives J.C. another chance to shine, as Stephen and his aspects (he’s up to 47 now, though only a handful play a significant role in these stories) search for a missing corpse whose cells contain an invaluable scientific breakthrough.
“Not zombies,” I said, feeling cold. “Cancer. You created a virus that gives people cancer.”
“It was an unintended result that is perfectly manageable,” Laramie said, “and only dangerous if used malignly. And why would anyone want to do that?”
We all stared at him for a moment.
“Let’s shoot him,” J.C. said.
“Thank heavens,” Tobias replied. “You haven’t suggested we shoot someone in over an hour, J.C. I was beginning to think something was wrong.”
“No, listen,” J.C. said. “We can shoot Pinhead McWedgy over there, and it will teach everyone in this room an important life lesson. One about not being a stupid mad scientist.”
The mystery of “Skin Deep” concerns a dead man who was a pioneer in biotechnology, and developed a method for storing massive amounts of information in the cells of the human body. He’s believed to have stored some ground-breaking scientific information in his own body before he died. His corpse has now gone missing, and competing parties are in a potentially deadly race to find it. Stephen, despite his intentions otherwise, gets roped into investigating the case.

The mystery in “Skin Deep” is much more satisfying than the one in “Legion.” Still, I thought “Skin Deep” would have benefited from more depth and detail; I’m not sure the novella length was the best choice. The real pleasure in this novella is, once again, reading about Steve and his hallucinatory alter egos. Sanderson handles it all with a deft, humorous hand.

I was also hoping for more answers in “Skin Deep” about the mysterious Sandra, a psychologist who disappeared from Steve’s life a decade ago and whom he desperately wanted to find again. In the first two novellas Sandra kept being dangled in front of us like a particularly annoying worm, but nothing ever really happened with that particular plotline. Sanderson finally tackles the Sandra problem head-on in his final Legion novella, “Lies of the Beholder.”

As “Lies of the Beholder” begins, Stephen Leeds is giving a private interview to Jenny Zhang, a reporter who begins displaying far more insight into Stephen’s mental state and thought processes than he’s comfortable with. This uncomfortable interview is interrupted by a text from the long-missing Sandra that says, simply, HELP. Stephen is desperate to find Sandra, but her trail is elusive … and some of Stephen’s aspects are becoming alarmingly unreliable.

“Legion” and “Skin Deep” are both fun, fairly light reads with some intriguing psychological aspects. “Lies of the Beholder” is significantly different in tone. Without getting into spoiler territory, I admire Sanderson’s decision to take the final Legion story in a different, darker direction, but the final story felt like it needed more fine-tuning.

The concept and basic plot of “Lies of the Beholder” is a strong one and had several truly surprising ― even shocking ― moments. However, there are some significant plot holes here, and I didn’t think the various elements tied together in a way that was sufficiently logical within the framework of this universe. As a result, I was left feeling vaguely dissatisfied with the resolution of Stephen’s story. That dissatisfaction was underscored by a final wrap-up that suggested a far too simple answer to the problem of Stephen’s schizophrenia.

I’m still enthusiastic about Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds as a whole. Stephen and his aspects are both original and appealing, and their interactions never cease to captivate and amuse me.

The new hardback edition of these collected stories has an appealing, clever cover image of a fractured Stephen, and the evolving images at the beginning of each chapter are even more fascinating, not to mention thematically appropriate. It begins as a Rorschach test type of inkblot image, then I thought it was turning into a brain scan. But gradually it becomes clear that the artist has created something far more significant ― particularly as the image starts to devolve later in the book. Kudos to both artists!

Initial post: The hardback ARC of this book just appeared on my doorstep today!!
*happy dances around the house*
*throws confetti in air*
*forgives our puppy for chewing up my new shirt and my computer mouse this morning*
Profile Image for Anne.
4,060 reviews69.5k followers
May 12, 2019
Stephen has a lot of people in his head.


And while that sounds like a bad thing, he's managed to make it work for him.
So, basically, he's like Sherlock Holmes but with multiple personality disorder. Ish.
That will make sense if you read the book. Promise.


This book was a compilation of all 3 of Sanderson's Legion short stories. Which were actually pretty damn cool. My only complaint is that it seems as though he's finished with this character, and that would be a shame. In the end, Stephen and the world he inhabited felt incomplete and unfinished.
I want more, and I highly doubt I'm alone in that sentiment.


Sanderson? Sanderson? Come on, man! Please?
Profile Image for TS Chan.
719 reviews886 followers
November 29, 2018
'Voices in My Head: Part Three' has just been published and it made me round up my rating, as I am pretty certain I will when I reread the third story.

4.5 stars.

Legion carries the Sanderson trademark through and through, with concepts which are fantastical and far out, but the storytelling is always centred around the characters and humanistic themes.

All the things that matter in life are the things you can’t measure…

This omnibus collects the first two novellas, Legion and Skin Deep, both previously released as individual volumes, and the final new instalment, Lies of the Beholder, which provides closure to Stephen Leed’s story. Each story pretty much stands on its own but together forms a cohesive and continuous narrative with important elements carried forward from one to the next.

The blurb for Legion is quite well-known already and most of you who have an interest in the book would probably know its basic premise. Stephen Leeds is a genius with an unparalleled aptitude to learn at an astonishing rate. However, his mind needs to conjure up hallucinations to contain the knowledge and manifest the expertise that he himself is unable to utilise directly. These hallucinations, whom he terms as ‘aspects’, have their own distinct personalities, and even their own lives. With its psychological angle, the story is necessarily written in the first-person perspective of Stephen Leeds to place the readers right into his head and mind. And what a mind he has, to keep up with around four dozen aspects - each with a certain idiosyncrasy and quirk which could very well be a personification of one or more of his personality traits, but scattered across many imaginary human beings.

The aspects have all the character. I try hard not to stand out. Because I am not crazy.

One thing from the usual Sanderson narrative that is absent here is worldbuilding. The tale takes place on good old earth, and mainly in the United States of America. The plots are centred around a mystery or puzzle that Leeds and his imaginary crew of experts have been tasked to solve. But the primary objective of the story is the characterization of Leeds and his aspects. While Leeds has a busload of aspects that can assist him with various specialised tasks, the ones we see the most are those he is most reliant on to keep him sane and safe - J.C., Ivy and Tobias. These aspects are characters who feel utterly real, both in their personalities and the manner in which they interact with each other in Leed’s imagination. I didn’t miss the typical worldbuilding of Sanderson’s books here because he made up for its absence in the pacing (these are short books as far as he is concerned) and fascinating characterization.

Before I proceed to talk about the ending, I need to point out that I am quite an obsessive Sanderson fan. I follow Sanderson on possibly every social media platform (Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), I’ve read all his blog posts, watched/listened to most of his taped appearances on YouTube, and even participated in his recent Google Hangout Session for the Read for Pixels Campaign. I am also a regular visitor of the 17th Shard and the ‘Words of Brandon’ Arcanum.

With the knowledge about Sanderson that I’ve gathered over the years through these means, the poignant and bittersweet ending of Leed’s story resonated most keenly as being a personal matter for the author. A more casual reader of Sanderson’s books might not be as taken in by the conclusion. I reacted with a gasp and a lump in my throat when I realised what Sanderson was attempting to portray in this tale as I read the last few paragraphs, or at least what I thought he was trying to do. That he has also been releasing a three-part series of essays on his blog called 'Voices in My Head', in conjunction with the release of this book, alludes to where this story of Stephen Leeds comes from. (At the time of writing this review, the third part of ‘Voices in My Head’ which will talk about the Legion stories specifically has yet to be published)

One more thing I need to mention is the ingenious use of the inkblot images at the beginning of each chapter – those which are used by the Rorschach test to perform psychological evaluations of its test subjects. This inkblot image begins as a couple of dots and gradually spreads into a bigger one with each chapter as the story progresses. After a certain point, I can already make out what I am seeing. And then something else starts happening to that image. Ahhh - simply brilliant, especially considering that the ‘magic' in this book is based on psychological powers.

While the story of Legion does not have the epic worldbuilding and magic systems that Sanderson is so well-known for in his fantasy series, it nonetheless carries his trademark storytelling ability. The moment I started reading the new story, Lies of the Beholder, I simply could not put it down until the end. Even though I will always admit to a personal bias for anything Sanderson produces, this is a clever and engaging piece of writing that explores human psychology and personalities.

This review can also be found at Booknest
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,141 reviews3,566 followers
November 21, 2018
Hallucinating good!!!

This book contains the all three short stories of "Legion", the first one with the same name, the second one "Skin Deep" and the third one (and final one (so far)) "Lies of the Beholder".


While I knew about this book series by Brandon Sanderson since a while, it was until I got this collected edition that finally I was able to read it...

...and I love it!

Stephen "Legion" Leeds is easily one of the most interesting prose novel characters that I've read about. You can easily mistaken him with someting like John Nash, a real life Nobel-winner man whom Russell Crowe acted in the famous A Beautiful Mind, and while it's obvious that it was an inspiration for this material, definitely Stephen Leeds and John Nash aren't the same kind of characters.

John Nash watched hallucinations in the shape of people that talked to him, but he doesn't have any control over them and they just do whatever they want, even tormenting him.

Stephen Leeds is able to read any kind of information (even with no careful attention, and still being able to retain the knowledge in some section of his brain) and bringing to his reach that information through the assistance of hallucinations, that he knows well that they're indeed not real, but in that way, he can have in hand an incredible ammount of data, that nobody else could be able to have easy access without the help of a tech device.

Leeds has (along the three stories) a quantity of 50-ish different "aspects" (the name that he gives to his hallucinated people) and each of them has an "expertise" in specialized fields, and all of them are priceless to break impossible cases that nobody else could be able to solve.

And that's another cool thing about this book series, that not only Stephen Leeds aka Legion, is quite a special character...

...but also his cases are totally blowing-mind ones, dealing with revolutionary (reaching the level of "impossible") technology and the threats of its misuse.

Leeds usually has around three key aspects: Ivy, a female psychologist that helps him to deal with social situations and study the people that he meets; Tobias, an aged man with general knowledge in an extreme range of topics and with a voice tone that can keeps him in calm; and J.C., a wacko male bodyguard, expert in security matter and that refuses to admit that it's an hallucination...

...but along the three cases, you get to know many other aspects of his "collection" of hallucinations, and even the creation of new ones when needs demand, along with giving a "boost" of skills to some of the already created aspects.

If Stephen Leeds is insane or not, it's a discussion matter along the whole book,...

...but at the end, it doesn't matter (at least to me), since sane or mad, Leeds is an amazing character to read about, and his legion of aspects are a real threat to enjoy in the narrative.

Profile Image for Gavin.
884 reviews398 followers
September 25, 2018
This book was a compilation volume containing all three of Sanderson's Stephen Leeds novellas. I'll mainly focus on giving my thoughts on the newly released third novella, Lies of the Beholder, as I've already shared my thoughts on the other two in previous reviews.

I did reread both Legion and Skin Deep before starting Lies of the Beholder and enjoyed them both. I liked Legion just as much the second (or third) time around. It is a fantastic introduction into the crazy world of Stephen Leeds! While I did enjoy my reread of Skin Deep I felt it showed a few more flaws the second time around. I like JC, he can be hilarious, but the fact that he is such a gun nut is a little annoying. His character feels a bit like the personification of Sanderson glorifying guns which seems a bad social message at a time when mass shootings are common place! The other thing that annoyed me was how judgemental Stephen was of his date early in the book. Judgemental characters who feel like they are better than others always piss me off so it was disappointing to see it here. Outside of those moments I did still enjoy Skin Deep and felt it had a good mix of humor and an intriguing mystery.

The first two Stephen Leeds novellas had a light and fun tone but Lies of the Beholder felt like a change in direction for the series. It still had a bit of the humor and mystery we expect from the series but had a lot more serious tone and dealt with a few more weighty emotional issues.

In terms of story we still got a bit of mystery as, out of the blue, Stephen gets contacted by his old flame Sandra in the form of a cryptic text message. It sets him off on the hunt to find and rescue her! I found it an engaging enough tale and actually loved where he did track her down to. I was also happy with the way Sanderson dealt with the Stephen/Sandra relationship. It was built up in the first two books but I'd always been a little uncomfortable by the way Stephen was always trying to track down a woman who clearly left him of her own volition and cut contact. Seemed a bit stalkery to me! Luckily Sanderson got things right in this one so I enjoyed the pairs interactions.

The main focus of this third novella was actually Stephen's deteriorating mental state. He seemed quite in control of his hallucinations in the first two books but that was not the case here as we saw him struggle to separate what was real and what was imagined and witness the fact that he had become ever more reclusive and anti-social since we last seen him in Skin Deep. It gave the story a darker tone as Stephen struggled with mental health issues. Sanderson also went heavy on the theme of grief and loss as Stephen had to deal with it in a bunch of different ways of the course of the novella.

Lies of the Beholder was definitely an engaging read but it also turned out be be a darker and more melancholy tale than its predecessors. I'm not sure I was entirely satisfied by the ending we got here but I guess it was passable. I just wish it was not a series finale as Sanderson has created a fantastic world in this series and I feel it had tons of potentially fun tales still to tell!

All in all I rate the Stephen Leeds novellas as one of the better novella series I've read over the years. Yeah, even considering the flaws I've just spent the whole review moaning about lol!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Audio Note: Oliver Wyman is a top narrator who did a fantastic job with all three novellas. He gets the tone of the story and was spot on dealing with the humor and with the more emotional moments. He aced the character voices as well!
Profile Image for Xabi1990.
1,991 reviews897 followers
November 7, 2020
Cinco estrellas porque me da la gana.
Porque Sanderson tiene “algo”.
Porque hasta lo malo suyo (y este no es lo mejor) es entretenido de leer.
Porque Stephen Leeds, Legión, en realidad es lo que nos gustaría tener a todos: sub—mentes que te ayuden.
Porque J.C. es divertido y sarcástico y no se cree ni él mismo.
Porque Legión nos encantó en su primer cuento y este libro nos sacia la sed que nos dejó en su día ese relato.
Porque las tres aventuras se complementan: en diversión la primera, aspectos sociales en la segunda y reflexivos en la tercera.
Porque su leguaje es popular y nos llega a todos directo, sin paja ni páginas de relleno.
…Y porque me reconozco fan semi-incondicional.

¡Anda!, bien mirado igual no era sólo “porque-me-da-la-gana”.
Profile Image for Holly.
1,449 reviews1,091 followers
September 21, 2019
These three novellas are as intelligent, quirky, fun, and borderline crazy as the main character they all portray - Stephen Leeds. I don't want to give too much away but I will say this step away from epic fantasy for Sanderson was a success in my book. It pushes the boundaries of reality just enough to make you really think but still keeps it entertaining.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,643 reviews1,511 followers
October 5, 2018
3.5 It’s so Hard to Say Goodbye Stars

This is the final novella to complete out the story of a brilliant man who is just a little bit crazy, or at least his hallucinations are.

We first met Steven Leeds on the worst blind date ever. It is a little disconcerting to find out the man you are on a date with sees and talks to people who aren’t really there. Over the course of a few books we’ve gotten to know many of the hallucinations that he has created to compartmentalize all of the stuff in his head, including most of his psychological problems. Each hallucination has one from paranoia, germaphobia, schizophrenia and many many more.

Lies of the Beholder examines what happens when the controls that Steven has set up in his mind to deal with his problems starts to break down. What happens when he can’t control the hallucinations anymore and they take on a mind of there own so to speak. It got a little dark in there. The mind is a beautiful and sometimes dark place when fear leaches in and starts breaking things apart.

Steven is having a difficult time in this. His life has some changes happening in it as the butler he has relied on for years has decided to retire. The Butler’s granddaughter is training to replace him since Steven has some very specific needs from the people who work for him since he treats all the hallucinations like real people.

In the conclusion to this series we find out what happened to the ever-elusive Sandra and why she left and disappeared in the first place. It is a good conclusion and I could see how some parts of this might mirror a little of Sanderson’s personal life especially with where he took the conclusion.

It wasn’t my favorite of the series, most likely due to the darker tone to the book and less humor throughout. There is a pattern of loss in this conclusion to the series and I liked where Steven ended up, but I can’t say the same thing about the endings for the Hallucinations. See even I’m treating them like real people.

Audio Note: Oliver Wyman is the perfect narrator for this series. Sanderson has picked a lot of great narrators for all of his books and this series is no different. He did a great job at conveying the emotions of Steven and playing all the other characters too.
Profile Image for Claudia.
960 reviews555 followers
September 9, 2018
Mr. Sanderson’ writing is great when it comes to fantasy, especially to his Stormlight Archive series. However, he should stay away from science fiction, as this is not a genre for everyone to write.

The science part is missing completely from this novella, there is no worldbuilding; this is just a work of fiction with lots of gaps between events, with a preposterous plot and an unconvincing and unrealistic main character – he has 46 alter-egos which act as hallucinations, not personalities (as he told us), but from which we met just a few - thank God for small mercies.

I said to myself that I won’t read another sci-fi work by him, after the fiasco with Firstborn , but I thought to give it another chance. Turned out to be an even bigger disappointment. He really should stick to fantasy, which he’s brilliant at, and forget about writing science fiction.

>>> This review is solely for “Legion”, the first novella in this collection of three. I’ve got this excerpt thanks to Macmillan-Tor/Forge via NetGalley <<<
Profile Image for Lamaleluna.
296 reviews1,185 followers
April 7, 2022
Me llamo Stephen Leeds y estoy completamente cuerdo. Mis alucinaciones, sin embargo, están todas bastante locas.

Excelente libro!

Entré a él sin esperar absolutamente nada. Aunque claramente siendo de Brandon Sanderson no podía decepcionarme. Legión es sin duda una joyita oculta, un libro que debería ser mucho más mencionado.

Aclaro que para leer este libro NO tienen que haber leído nada más del autor.

Legión, las múltiples vidas de Stephen Leeds, está conformado por 3 historias cortas en las que seguimos que nuestro protagonista Stephen quién se encargara de resolver casos y misterios con los que consigue una buena fortuna. Pero Stephen no va a trabajar solo, ya que consta de sus "aspectos", alucinaciones suyas a las que les dió una personalidad y con las que trabaja día a día.

Es MUY interesante ver al personaje con todas sus personalidades amigas, ver cómo él cree que está cuerdo porque puede llevar una vida casi normal pero de a ratos duda de si. Ver cómo sus aspectos son sus acompañantes y sus amigos y verlo dudar entre si le hacen feliz o lo aíslan de la sociedad.

Los 3 relatos están súper bien, mi favorito es por lejos el tercero, que va a abordar mucho más el tema de la locura y la cordura.
Me encariñé muy rápido con muchos personajes, llegué a admirar y apreciar a varios de los aspectos y el libro me emocionó en más de una escena.

Muy divertido, muy interesante y muy recomendado. Léanlo, les va a encantar 👍🏽

Yo leyendo Legión: 😱🤩😳🙂😎
Profile Image for Literary Redhead.
1,732 reviews515 followers
June 30, 2019
Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds - Preview Excerpt is a brilliant peek at the intriguing work of an author, Brandon Sanderson, I’ve not read before.

His fans are rabidly loyal and now I understand! Includes the not-to-be missed novellas Legion and Legion: Skin Deep, published together for the first time, as well as a brand new explosive finale to Stephen Leeds' story, Lies of the Beholder. 5/5

Pub Date 18 Sep 2018

Thanks to Brandon, Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are fully mine.

#Legion(previewExcerpt) #NetGalley
Profile Image for Ana M..
639 reviews119 followers
November 21, 2019
He disfrutado bastante de esta recopilación de novelas cortas sobre Legión. Quizá al haber leído hace mucho tiempo la primera historia tenía el recuerdo de que fue mucho más alucinante, pero me han gustado bastante. La tercera historia creo que ha sido mi favorita, pero si os gustó la primera historia estoy segura que os gustará el resto para conocer más a Stephen y sus aspectos.
Profile Image for Karishma.
73 reviews10 followers
September 27, 2018
This was my first Sanderson and will definitely not be my last.

This was a near perfect series for me in terms of characters, plot and pacing till the last chapter which flickered out towards a crushing disappointing and an ending which seemed just wrong.

I would highly recommend this series - it's great, short and complete - if you are into audiobooks it's great in that format as well.

Just imagine something else for the ending of the series, that's what I plan to do!
Profile Image for SMLauri.
426 reviews115 followers
June 1, 2020
Sanderson es un genio.
Esta es una de las historias más originales e interesantes que he leído en mi vida. La parte de los aspectos está tan bien hecha que parece algo real. Todos los detalles se conectan entre ellos, no sobra ni falta nada.
Stephen es un protagonista muy bueno, pero los aspectos son sin duda lo mejor de las historias. Es imposible no encariñarse con JC, Ivy, Tobias y Audrey; y los demás están también muy bien planteados. Alucinaciones que tienen sus propias alucinaciones, otras que tienen trastornos... Se podría hacer una serie de 47 episodios, que cada episodio tratase sobre un aspecto y los 47 episodios serían de 10.

Aunque yo soy más fan de la fantasía creo que Sanderson es también espectacular cuando escribe Ciencia-Ficción, o lo que quiera ser esta historia.
Profile Image for Iryna *Book and Sword*.
446 reviews641 followers
November 25, 2018

“That was a tall order for Ivy. Sarcasm was kind of her native tongue, though she was fluent in “stern disappointment” and “light condescension” as well. She was also a good friend. Well, imaginary friend.”

​In the past I've been saying in error that I do not like to read sci-fi books. I only recently found out that I was terribly wrong, and I also found out why I was wrong. When I think of sci-fi - books set in space come to mind immediately (for some reason) and I am not a big fan of those. Apparently my brain refused to acknowledge that there are tons of other science fiction books, that don't involve space and aliens and all of that - and they are so good!

Legion by Brandon Sanderson is a prime example of a sci-fi book that I enjoy. Well, technically it's 3 novellas re-realed as one book edition, and what an amazing edition it is! I honestly think that reading these 3 stories one after another is the true way to enjoy them - they are way too short to be spaced out. I know that the length of these novellas is often the thing that people complain about the most - they are really short, especially first novella (it's barely 80 pages), but I found them to be just the perfect size.

“I can’t let you make changes until I authenticate, sir,” the man said in the neutral, patient voice of one accustomed to talking on the phone all day to people who deserved to be strangled.”

It really takes a skill to craft a story in so few pages, and like the Arthur C. Doyle had that skill with his splendid Sherlock Holmes short stories, Brandon Sanderson too possesses and wields it quite effectively. I thought this when I read The Emperor's Soul for the first time, but Legion definitely solidified that opinion of mine.

The pacing is great - I was glued to the pages and did not want to leave Steven even for few minutes. Steven is the main character, and a pretty great one at that. The interactions between the characters are priceless, the humor is great and as usual Sanderson has hidden many great life lessons in there as well. It's really astonishing how these small stories can pack such a great punch.

And a punch it is - at the end of the journey I was sobbing, so if that isn't a sign of a great book I don't know what is. It's really hard to review this without spoiling anything, because of how short stories are, so I will just say this. Read the book - get the 3 in 1 edition one. enjoy the Rorschach test images of the pages that add to the story. Read the author's note. Cry.

“Who cares?” I said. “Yes, it’s all in my head. But pain is ‘all in my head’ too. Love is ‘all in my head.’ All the things that matter in life are the things you can’t measure! The things our brains make up! Being made-up doesn’t make them unimportant.”

Profile Image for Emily.
214 reviews8 followers
October 1, 2018
Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds by Brandon Sanderson

Legion is both a beautiful and haunting tale of the inner workings of one man's psychology and his search to understand it.
Profile Image for ChopinFC.
273 reviews79 followers
January 2, 2019
Sanderson continues to mesmerize his fans by creating a story that is unlike anything he's ever written, but just as brilliant and entertaining!

To characterize Sanderson's group of novellas about a schizophrenic, brilliant man named 'Legion' as fantasy is a little bit of an overreach. Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds, I believe falls more under the category of psychological thriller, with elements of Sci-fi. Sanderson goes in a tangent from this customary 'Cosmere universe', and trust he puts in quite a show!

'Legion' is a brilliant man who has hallucinatory visions (over 50 different personalities), which are essentially the fabric of his DNA. Some would call Legion 'schizo', but Sanderson narrative absolves him from any crazies. Interacting with and summoning these hallucinations makes Stephen an expert on just about any subject. It also makes him a great detective and a little bit insane. In fact 'Legion' is a highly sought after due to his brilliant mind, as he is able to solve 'mysteries' including murder, missing persons case, etc.


-"Stephen Leeds is perfectly sane. It’s his hallucinations who are mad."

The book is structured into a compendium of 3 novellas, each becoming more engaging and entertaining, specially as the reader is so well versed into his main 'hallucinations'. Sanderson does a killer job at creating diverse and complex characters to help 'Legion' in his adventures. There is 'JC', a gun-loving military like character that helps protect Legion from the bad guys. Another 'aspect' or hallucination, is 'Tobias', an older and wiser man who is history buff and has great knowledge about much everything. Finally, 'Ivy', is a hallucination with a background on psychology! These 3 hallucinations ( and many others), are the nucleus of Legion's wiry brain, and help him navigate some choppy waters.

Is the book worth the money and the effort? Absolutely! Specially as all 3 novellas, read in sequence appear have an organic 'feel' of continuity. Sanderson again impresses with his wide range of comedic timing, and now we can add 'mystery/psychology' to his great many talents.

4 1/2 Stars
Profile Image for Nadine.
1,184 reviews223 followers
October 4, 2018
What’s great about Legion is that there is more than one interpretation to be taken: a metaphor for writers and their process, a personal look at Sanderson’s process/mind, a look at mental illness, or just a really interesting and fun story.

Legion is a compilation of three novellas. When this compilation novel was first announced last year, I decided to hold off on read the novellas so I could just binge them all at once and I’m glad I did. Sanderson is doing his Sanderson thing here in creating complex and compelling characters, even if most of them aren’t real. Legion doesn’t stand up to his other novels in terms of world building or crazy complex magic systems, instead Legion presents readers with fascinating science fiction plots and characters you won’t be able to get out of your head.

The first two novellas are fun and light hearted despite the few lines of foreshadowing. Readers are brought on exciting adventures that have some of the coolest plots I’ve ever read. I wish the first novella were a full-length novel because it’s such an interesting concept that I’d love to see expanded upon.

The final novella has a much darker and bleaker tone as Stephen deals with his deteriorating mental state. After the light hearted tones of the first two novellas, I thoroughly enjoyed the more serious bleaker tone of the final novella. Stephen’s introspection is the focal point of the novella, which makes his arc feel complete. I’ve read a few reviews that complain about the ending being rush or not what they expected/wanted, but I think this ending was inevitable though I think it depends on how you’re viewing the story as whole.

Overall, Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds is another work of Sanderson’s you can point to to showcase his incredible writing ability. With characters that jump off the pages and plots to rival some of the best science fiction writers, Legion with leave you clamouring for more.


Who would have guessed I’d rate his 5 stars? Though this isn’t huge in terms of Sanderson’s typical world building, it’s still amazing and worth the read.
Profile Image for André Oliveira.
169 reviews57 followers
October 24, 2018
Brandon Sanderson is my favourite author but this book didn't blow me away.

It felt more like an "experiment". It was fun to read and it was interesting in some points but that's it.
Profile Image for Alba Turunen.
678 reviews209 followers
January 5, 2020
4 Estrellas para este libro de Sanderson, que en realidad es una antología de tres relatos cortos, donde el autor nos presenta a un personaje muy particular, Stephen Leeds, o Legión, y él será el protagonista de todas las historias.
Este primer relato, donde conocemos a Stephen Leeds, lo leí hace unos años en una pequeña antología, junto con el relato “El alma del emperador”. Los recuerdos que me dejó el relato “Legión” fueron muy buenos, y tenía muchas ganas de continuar con los siguientes que había escrito Sanderson.

Ahora que ha llegado a nuestras manos esta antología que reúne los tres relatos, tuve que releer de nuevo este primero. ¿Qué es lo que nos cuenta? A pesar de lo acostumbrados que nos tiene Sanderson a sus mundos de fantasía y su magia, en “Legión” no encontramos esto, si no que estamos en nuestro propio mundo, con una pizca de fantasía. Stephen Leeds es alguien un tanto especial, trabaja como detective privado, y tiene un gran hándicap que le permite hacer lo que hace; es esquizofrénico, y tras muchos años de terapia y tratamientos psiquiátricos, Stephen no ha dejado de ver a sus visiones, sus aspectos como él los llama, son personas que sólo existen en su mente, pero los ve con tanta claridad e interactúa con ellos como si fuesen reales, y estos aspectos le ayudan con sus casos.

¿Os suena la serie de TV “Perception”? Pues lo que sufre Stephen Leeds es algo parecido a lo que le ocurre al protagonista de ésta serie.

En éste primer relato conocemos al protagonista, a sus aspectos, y a uno de sus primeros casos, que lo llevará de viaje a Jerusalem para buscar un dispositivo que podría cambiar la historia de la religión cristiana como la conocemos hoy día.
Legión. A flor de piel:
Este segundo relato nos cuenta un nuevo caso de Stephen Leeds, poco tiempo después de lo que ocurrió en el primer relato.

A pesar de la extraña vida que lleva Stephen, no deja de ser una persona que ha normalizado su situación todo lo que puede, y a sus aspectos. Todo empieza cuando a Stephen le organizan una cita a ciegas, que acaba convirtiéndose en un nuevo caso.

¿Qué es lo que tenemos? Ha desaparecido el cadáver de un microbiólogo que ha creado un dispositivo para acabar con las enfermedades del mundo, y toda la información se encuentra en su ADN. La empresa para la que trabajaba esta persona, le ha pedido a Stephen ayuda para localizar el cadáver, pero Stephen se verá envuelto en una amalgama de intrigas al descubrir que una empresa rival también está buscando el cadáver.
Legión. Las mentiras del contemplador:
Este último relato nos trae la historia, quizás más fuerte de las tres, y digo la más fuerte porque lo es. A Stephen se le presentará un gran problema, sus aspectos no actúan como debieran, están más locos de lo normal, dentro de la locura que es su propia vida. Algunos están desapareciendo, otros muriendo. Normalmente los aspectos de Stephen vienen a él porque él los invoca, y necesita a un “experto” en algún tema para su investigación, pero aquí van apareciendo sin control.

Todo esto le viene encima a Stephen, con la llegada de la persona que él menos esperaba: Sandra. La chica que fue lo más importante de su vida. De Sandra sólo sabemos los pequeños detalles que nos ha querido soltar Sanderson. Sandra fue mucho más que la novia o la compañera de Stephen, fue quien le salvó la vida, y quien le enseñó a controlar a sus aspectos, pero años atrás, Sandra desapareció, y ahora ha vuelto con un simple mensaje: “Socorro”.

El mensaje de Sandra, y la actitud errática de sus aspectos, será lo que mantendrá en vilo al lector en todo este relato, pues en cierto modo está conectado, y la aparición de Sandra tiene que ver con los aspectos de Stephen.


Aunque adoro todo lo que escribe Sanderson, reconozco que los relatos de Legión son muy buenos, pero también podrían estar aprovechados como una novela entera. Es bonito que las editoriales lo hayan presentado como una antología, el problema es que al ser relatos, me saben a poco, pero no desmerecen, entretendrán y gustarán a cualquier fan del autor. Mientras, seguiré como una boba esperando a que nos traigan el segundo libro de “Escuadrón”.
Profile Image for Bookwraiths.
698 reviews1,066 followers
September 24, 2018
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds is a collection of three companion novellas focused on schizophrenic genius Stephen Leeds, whose unbelievable detective skills have sprung forth from his legion of hallucinatory “aspects”. While the first two novellas have been previously published (I’m referring to “Legion” and “Legion: Skin Deep”.), this time out fans of the series can re-experience those old Leeds adventures before devouring the wrap-up novella, “Lies of the Beholder,” which ties up more than a few dangling plot lines before ending the tale in satisfying fashion. But will it satisfy everyone? Probably not. But, like all Brandon Sanderson stories, Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds is inventive, entertaining and does an amazing job bringing such a unique concept to life.

As the title declares, Stephen Leeds lives a multi-faceted life. Basically, this is due to him having forty “aspects” or different personalities, if you will. Each one of these other individuals are hallucinations within his mind; distinct beings who have their own unique personalities and fields of expertise. Stephen hears them, talks to them, sees them, and even has different rooms in his home set up for each one to live in. Naturally, no one else sees any of these aspects though, which shrieks of a really bad case of untreated schizophrenia, but Stephen seems to have a handle on the whole thing, so no harm done, I guess.

What is distinctly interesting about this whole aspect system is that Stephen unconsciously creates each of these beings. Each time he uses his genius abilities to master an area of knowledge he then brings into existence an aspect to embody that knowledge, store it, and then promptly forgets everything he has learned about it. So when our genius detective needs to recall something about a subject he has previously mastered out comes one (or more) of his aspects to act as an imaginary partner(s) whom Stephen has imagined discussions with, bickers with and swaps banter with.

Needless to say, Stephen’s amazing abilities have allowed him to be super successful at solving crimes and complex problems by tapping into his imaginary army of gurus. This success has led to large amounts of money, which has resulted in Stephen building a mansion large enough for him and his aspects to all live together out of sight of ordinary people who might find Stephen’s habit of dining with invisible people disconcerting. This success has also allowed him to be very, very picky about what cases he accepts, resulting in Stephen only dealing with highly unusual situations.

It all begins in “Legion,” the first novella, which is about the search for a stolen camera which allegedly can take pictures of people and events at any time in the past. Definitely a nice science fiction vibe in this story, and while Sanderson’s narrative doesn’t add anything new to the well mined time travel mythos, it was still a fun, fast read with some interesting psychological and philosophical questions.

“Skin Deep” keeps the many aspects of Stephen coming at you with a mystery centering on a dead body which everyone is searching for. Supposedly, this dead guy was a pioneer in biotechnology who developed a super secret, super advanced method for storing massive amounts of information in the cells of the human body. Naturally, everyone believes the dead guy stored some of his most amazing, ground-breaking scientific discoveries in his own body before he died, so everyone is in a deadly race to find it.

Finally, there is the new novella, “Skin Deep”, which is quite different in tone and feel from the others. Here Sanderson attempts to deal with many of the questions regarding Stephen, his aspects, and his previous relationship with a psychologist named Sandra. Overall, the answers provided are satisfying, include some shocking moments, and definitely give a possible theory, of sorts, to Stephen’s condition and his aspects, but there are definitely a few plot holes, some missteps with the established lore, and a conclusion which felt a bit too nice and tidy. What really stuck out to me, though, was the much darker, less light-hearted vibe of this story; a circumstance which left me feeling a bit jarred out of my nice comfort zone.

Like many other readers, I have to say the most satisfying aspect of this collection is experiencing Stephen’s unique world filled with his imaginary alter egos. The constant banter, detailed discussions, and colorful personalities of all the different “aspects” keeping the detective stories filled with fun. But what makes Legion a more nuanced and addictive read is how Sanderson deftly adds many serious questions just under the surface though. Things like how and why Stephen creates and pretends that his different alter egos are real. These ongoing mysteries about Stephen and what is actually real in his world a nice brain puzzle for readers to enjoy in addition to the detective tale they are already reading.

My only complaint about the collection would be “Lies of the Beholder” attempting to do too much, answer too many questions, and wrap up Stephen’s tale in too few pages. No Sanderson story ever is unfinished or unpolished, but this novella just felt like it was missing too many pieces, skipping too many steps, making too many changes in an effort to arrive at a preordained place in a single leap. It wasn’t bad as much as it was incomplete, in my opinion.

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds was an entertaining read any way you look at it. The concept of Stephen and his aspects is a unique, fun idea, which Brandon Sanderson capably handles. The mysteries Stephen finds himself embroiled in are entertaining and intriguing stories. And while I have issues with the third novella, it did not stumble to the point where I hold the book in less esteem, so I highly recommend this one to everyone out there.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.
Profile Image for Dave.
3,106 reviews353 followers
September 11, 2018
Blurring the lines between reality and imagination and between sanity and its opposite, Sanderson offers us three interlinked novellas, two of which were previously published. Stephen Leeds is a genius, but he is crawling along a tightrope perched precariously over a steep drop. In order to solve cases such as missing corpses, he calls upon his aspects or hallucinations, forty varied and extraordinary beings who no one can see but him. Although he sets chairs out for them. Offers them drinks. Hears about their awkward social lives. It’s like schizophrenia on steroids and then some. Lots of voices. Like Alia Atriedes calling on her past genetic ancestors. Sort of. But, anytime Leeds needs help he can plug into their vast knowledge like Neo plugging into computer files in Matrix. It’s an exciting concept and the raw banter between Leeds and his aspects is the best part of these stories.
Profile Image for Mari Carmen.
490 reviews75 followers
May 28, 2020
Aún no había leído nada de Sanderson, pero estoy totalmente de acuerdo con la opinión de que escribe muy bien.
La trama que plantea me ha gustado mucho, no así su desarrollo. Quizá el hecho de ser tres historias cortas no me ha convencido.
Los aspectos son tod@s geniales, pero sin duda me quedo con J.C.
Profile Image for Mangrii.
898 reviews264 followers
March 17, 2022
3,75 / 5

Stephen Leeds es un tipo perfectamente sano, pero un poco extraño para el resto del mundo. Le rodean una especie de aspectos imaginarios, concretamente unos 47, que le ayudan tanto en su vida diaria como a resolver complejos casos y misterios. Sin embargo, para él, no son imaginarios. Cada uno de estos aspectos representa una parte de sus habilidades muy concreta, como un grupo de expertos imaginarios que le aconsejan y ayudan en todo momento. No todo es tan sencillo. Stephen, para conservar su cordura, debe interactuar con ellos en tiempo real, como si existieran de verdad en su realidad.

El subconsciente de Stephen se transforma en un variopinto, diverso y curioso mundo propio, repleto de personajes que tienen sus propias personalidades y peculiaridades. Cada vez que Stephen necesita aprender una nueva habilidad o dominar un nuevo tema, surge uno de estos nuevos aspectos para aprovechar esa información para él. Sin embargo, hay algunos de ellos que son sus habituales. El relajado historiador Tobías, la psicóloga Ivy y el mercenario JC. Durante las tres historias cortas, que se mantienen fuertemente cohesionadas y enlazadas por una trama de intriga, con altas dosis de suspense y humor, iremos descubriendo cómo funciona todo en la mente de Stephen.

Las múltiples vidas de Stephen Leeds es un fácil y accesible acercamiento a la obra de Brandon Sanderson. Debido al formato de novela corta, hay menos espacio para todo lo superfluo. Cada novela corta es un entretenido caso que seguir y con él, vamos rellenando los huecos de la historia personal de Stephen que necesitamos. Todas las líneas y misterios que se trazan desde la primera entrega van tomando forma en la segunda y culminan en la tercera. Somos testigos de como Stephen se va dando cuenta que sus aspectos están lejos de ser perfectos, evolucionan con el tiempo y como el propio Stephen, se ve amenazado con perder el control en más de una ocasión.

Sanderson involucra al lector en un pequeño estudio sobre la mente humana, pero siguiendo las reglas de su mundo imaginario. Las limitaciones de hacer y planificar su vida como si sus aspectos fueran reales, son los que nos dan esos matices de verosimilitud para humanizar a Stephen Leeds en cada momento. Un desafío que Sanderson va sorteando en cada uno de los casos, agregando nuevos e interesantes aspectos a la mezcla, así como sugiriendo hechos acaecidos en el pasado. Tres misterios ligeros, que exploran la salud mental, la ética en la ciencia o la religión, mirados de reojo en el contexto de cada aventura, ofreciendo más un curioso entretenimiento que otra cosa.

Reseña en el blog: https://boywithletters.blogspot.com/2...
Profile Image for Sophie.
467 reviews189 followers
May 14, 2020
3.5 stars!

This was an enjoyable, imaginative, and fast paced read that got surprisingly darker at the end. I'd be interested to see if he ever developed this into a full length book, especially as I'd love to see more world building etc.

I went back and forth between 3 stars and 4 stars because there are things that I enjoyed and things that could have been better. But reading about his aspects were interesting!

Profile Image for Diana.
1,766 reviews231 followers
May 5, 2020
It has its moments but overall it wasn't a book I enjoyed. It lacked profundity, both in Stephen and his aspects; and the stories plots weren't particularly strong.
Profile Image for ทixi৳ท.
197 reviews13 followers
September 18, 2021
This is my fifth Brandon Sanderson book this year. He's one of my favorite authors. Now I read a rather unusual book from him, the story of this book is outside my comfort zone. Did I like this? Yes, definitely!

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

But why did you like it?
1) Stephen is a unique main character, he isn't average his aspects make him special.
2) each aspect has some unique property, they have an individuality that makes them look human.
3) the investigations are exciting and action-packed.
4) the humor is also very good, this doesn't go to the detriment of the story.
5) many topics arise that are thought-provoking.
+) just because it was written by Brandon Sanderson.

“Do not become so preoccupied with saving the world, Master Leeds, that you forget to take care of yourself.”

I just missed one thing; I would have known more about Stephen’s past and family background. Of course that didn’t go to the detriment of the story because I enjoyed it the same way.

I was afraid it would go very deep into the subject of psychology, maybe present the main character as a lunatic. But that surprised me because I easily perceived Stephen’s hallucinations as a super ability. The aspects help him a lot. They are like a family to him. I sincerely liked J.C., Ivy, Tobias of them. The story touches on many topics that apply to today’s world (religion, modern medicine, etc...). What if any of these came to fruition, how it would affect people. So there are many more important topics out there in the book.

“I smiled. It wasn’t about containing them. It was about letting them free. I hurriedly continued typing. My adventures are done. Finally, thankfully. But my hallucinations … well, they’re always getting into trouble.”

My absolute favorite is the third of three short stories. Why is that? Because the story was much more immersed in Stephen's hallucinations. There were a lot of emotional scenes in the third novella, it was more felt here how important his aspects were to Stephen. Honestly the end of the book was perfectly finished.
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