Book Review: Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson
Rarely do I enjoy a sequel as much or more than the original tale, but Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson is an even deeper study of Stephen Leeds and his legion of "aspects" as they investigate the whereabouts of a stolen body that may have secrets encoded into the body's DNA.
When I downloaded this e-book, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this story is longer than Legion, which I chose to listen to as an audiobook. It's actually twice as long!
And then the novel opened with Leeds on a date.
Could a reader ask for any better circumstances?
The banter amongst his aspects as he tries to carry on a conversation with a woman is hilarious! But the date lasts for a mere chapter before she hightails it away.
With the slightly longer format, Sanderson explores more of Leeds' own insecurities about manifesting and controlling his aspects. One scene involving a character who did extensive background research on Leeds left me stunned. Without being spoilery, I'll merely state that this person manipulates circumstances to their advantage and truly challenges Leeds' intellect.
There is one scene I found upsetting where Leeds barters a favor. In exchange for information, he offers interview time for a doctor "friend" to learn more about his particular brand of insanity. While so much of this book is humorous, a scene like this makes Leeds quite real for me.
In other scenes Leeds perseverates on how many aspects he can reasonably control. The aspects have some fun with this concept as well. Ex-Navy Seal J.C. has some great lines as his ponders his own existence, including the possibility that he is an Interdimensional Time Ranger. Again, the humor with the aspects is quite entertaining.
While the plot of this novel is solid, what I really enjoy are the scenes where Leeds has to figure out his own mind. Sure, he's a genius, but even he struggles with maintaining some semblance of control over his life. Ho many aspects can he handle? And for how long? Are they actually handling him?
Since I listened to the first audiobook in one sitting, I think I would like to listen to this sequel as well. Both are narrated by Oliver Wyman, and I loved his style with the first novella. At just over four hours in length, I think this audiobook may be a good one to save for a weekend road trip.
I look forward to future installments in this particular Sanderson series.