Book Review: “I am Legend” by Richard Matheson

Details from Amazon:

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (Oct 30 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765318741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765318749
  • This novel was published back in 1954 and I’m a little ashamed to say I only just read it. It comes with other short stories so “I am Legend” itself just qualities as a novel at 160 pages. I loved this story, the Will Smith movie is OK but really doesn’t do the book justice.

    What I liked:

    Everything! This book just pulls you in and never lets you go. I can honestly say it’s the first book I’ve read in maybe 6+ years that I couldn’t put down. It’s a quick read (it only took me about 3.5 hours) but superbly written. The one main character is well developed and his journey physically, mentally and spiritually is profound. This was the first time that a vampire was approached from a scientific point of view (that I know of) and it is fascinating. If someone knows of another vampire book published in the same vein, please let me know.

    I was lucky enough that the movie does not follow the book exactly and there were still a couple of surprises for me. For example the most recent movie makes the monsters into zombie when really they are supposed to be two kinds of vampires (3 if you count the dogs as different Smile).

    SPOILER ALERT!

    When Rose shows up near the end you hope along with Robert that she is human but when the reality of the situation literally hits him on the end you have to agree with the character for being suspicious and accept that he was indeed the last non-vampire.

    I loved the ending, while it is depressing and you knows it’s coming Robert Neville remains defiant until the end. The death of the last real human would be the stuff of legends and is a fitting ending.

    My only tiny complaint would be I wanted more, Neville’s journey through a plague ravaged world is riveting and his nightly struggles more often with himself rather than the vampires. I’ll soon do a review of my all time favourite book (which is not a vampire one) so I have to give this one 9/10, it’s almost perfect and required reading for any horror/vampire fan.

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