Book reviews / Science Fiction

Book review: I am legend

Well, this was a nice quick, disturbing horror romp.

So: I am Legend. Vampires take over the world. There’s one dude left. He kind of drifts in and out of going kind of crazy, back to sane, back to despairing, back to hopeful. Then he gets killed. The end.

It was tense. It wasn’t a long book, only 115 pages, but holy crap. I was tense almost the entire time I was reading. Either because he was completely losing his shit or because, you know, fucking vampires.

I don’t think it passed my test, mainly because there was only one real main character and that was Robert Neville. Also, it is fucking creepy in his reference to women and sex.

The realization made him sick. It was an insult to a man. All right, it was a natural drive, but there was no outlet for it anymore.

He took the woman from her bed, pretending not to notice the question posed in his mind: why do you always experiment on women? He didn’t care to admit that the inference had any validity. She just happened to be the first one he’d come across, that was all. What about the man in the living room, though? For God’s sake! he flared back. I’m not going to rape the woman!”

(The woman in this case, being a vampire.)

Neville stood there watching, semlling the acrid fumes of the pistol smoke. Then the woman blocked his view of Cortman and started jerking up her dress. Neville pulled back and slammed the tiny door over the peephole. He wasn’t going to let himself look at that. In the first second of it, he had felt that terrible heat dredging up from his loins like something ravenous.

You get the picture. Almost every time there’s a woman (read: half dead vampire) he thinks something super creepy/puritan.

He eventually gets to the point where it doesn’t bother him anymore. But it was super fucking creepy. I mean, dude, have a wank. I guess I can say that, not being surrounded by vampires making lewd gestures but he seemed remarkably fixated on it. He had been married and had a kid, why the puritanism? It just seemed odd.

Anyway. Other than that, it was really interesting. His mania manifesting going between manic energy to fix the house, do research and figure out what was going on versus him getting right pissed and hating everything was intense. It was stressful!

He finally settles down, I suppose, after he tries to save a dog and it dies.

Horror he had adjusted to. But monotony was the greater obstacle, and he realized it now, understood it at long last. And understanding it seemed to give him a sort of quiet peace, a sense of having spread all the cards on his mental table, examined them, and settled conclusively on the desired hand.

He was shocked out of this bleak existence near the end and it eventually leads to his death. He’s killed by what he considered the ‘mutated bacteria’ that drove vampirism. Essentially, vampires who weren’t actually dead yet. The vampire bacteria (yes, bacteria) mutated so it didn’t kill the people it hosted. So they were going to start their new society, killing all the ‘dead vampires’ and also anyone who was left alive. In this case, Robert.

The science of it seemed…not good (he literally goes to a ‘Science Room’ at the library which seemed a bit daft). But logically breaking down the vampire myths was very interesting. And to be honest, it’s a book about vampires taking over the world, science kind of goes at the window.

I found the ending the most disappointing. Perhaps because he didn’t leave, he could have escaped but just didn’t. I suppose it was the psychological breakdown. He didn’t have the energy anymore to carry on and just waited for the baddies to come. It was the relentless horror that even though he had survived, and that others were surviving (although still vampires), he just couldn’t deal with it.

I give it a 4/5 stars. Losing a star because Robert Neville was a bit too creepy to like as a character.

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