posted at Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 at 8:00 AM | Adult, Audiobook Reviews, Reviews
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson
Narrator: Oliver Wyman
Series: Legion #2
Published by Audible on November 30, 2014
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 4 hrs 23 mins
Amazon • The Book Depository • Audible
Stephen Leeds, AKA “Legion,” is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the new story begins, Leeds and his “aspects” are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. But there’s a catch. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body. And that something might be dangerous…
What follows is a visionary thriller about the potential uses of technology, the mysteries of the human personality, and the ancient human need to believe that death is not the end. Legion: Skin Deep is speculative fiction at it most highly developed. It reaffirms Sanderson’s place as one of contemporary fiction’s most intelligent—and unpredictable—voices.
Though I wasn’t a huge fan of Legion, I do not have it in me to pass up Brandon Sanderson writing. At the huge cost of free, Skin Deep was definitely worth a try. I’m glad to report that I liked the follow up better than the first story in the series, though I’m not sure if that’s because it’s better or because I was more prepared for what the Legion series is about. I think a lot of my struggle with Legion is that I wanted more of Sanderson’s amazingly creative fantasy worlds, not a slightly futuristic mystery. Skin Deep comes in at four and a half hours and it’s free on Audible, so it’s well worth a listen if you’re a Sanderson or mystery fan.
Stephen Leeds is still a really interesting character. The main appeal of the series for me isn’t the mysteries but his aspects. Stephen has generated different aspects, which he sees as individuals, who speak and have their own unique personalities. They are, however, part of him and not visible to others. He can touch them, however, and some of them are even dating one another. He needs a large house and to let them in through doors. It’s fascinating, really.
One of the weird things that I love is when it’s hard to tell if someone’s insane or…something else. For example, I love the television shows Wonderfalls and Eli Stone, where it’s unclear if the main characters are going crazy or if a god or something like one is speaking to them. In Skin Deep, Stephen notices that every single one of his aspects has a mental disorder of some sort or another. Sanderson’s diving even more into how odd the aspects are and I think even Stephen’s starting to wonder about his own nature. It’s pretty cool.
The mystery itself is pretty good, so far as mysteries go. The concept again is neat. A company, I3, has been working on using human bodies for storage of data. For example, making a thumb drive an actual thumb. One of the developers working on this apparently managed to create a virus that would create cancer and coded it into his own body. Then he dies and his body is stolen. What a mess. Stephen’s tasked with looking for it by his friend Yol Chay who owns I3. I didn’t really see the resolution coming and I think things played out well.
The main factor that really impacted my enjoyment was Yol Chay. The mystery of the day is set in motion when Yol Chay asks Stephen for help locating a stolen body. That’s all fine, except that Yol Chay is Korean. But, Christina, I thought you loved diversity in novels? Yeah, I do. Only Yol Chay? Not a Korean name. I even double-checked my skepticism on this with my Korean boyfriend and he laughed for like five minutes. He did think that the accent Oliver Wyman does for Yol was pretty good for a white guy impersonating a Korean, so there’s that at least. It just seems to me that if you’re going to give a Korean character a non-Korean name and a non-country-of-residence name, you have to explain why, because otherwise it looks like no research has been done.
Oliver Wyman’s a talented narrator. He does a great job with various accents and it’s no trouble keeping all the different characters apart. Audiobook is the right format on these stories for me. For one thing, free, and, for another, with them not being my genre of choice, they’re much more fun to listen to.
Sanderson fans, if you didn’t know this series was free on Audible, what are you doing? Ditto audiobook fans and mystery fans.
Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy: