I Am Legend – Richard Matheson

Original book title: I Am Legend
Author: Richard Matheson
Publisher: Styxx Fantasy, 211 pages
Language: Swedish
Original languageEnglish
Year of publication: 2010 (first published 1954)

It’s been several years since I watched the movie I Am Legend with Will Smith and I remember I liked it. Of course I became curious about the book on which the film is based. I was pleasantly surprised at how different the movie was from the book. It made the whole reading experience much better and above all exciting.

In I Am Legend, we get to know Robert Neville, who is the last man on earth – but he’s not alone. A horrendous fate has drawn and made that the rest of humanity – men, women and children – has mutated and turned into terrible, nightlife creatures dying for Roberts blood.

This is kind of a peaceful book to read, not a lot of action, where we follow Robert when he walks around in the daytime, kills vampires and researches what might have caused the apocalypse. Initially, nothing really happens more than that we get to know Roberts thoughts and research. He is a very interesting character, I think. Despite his hopeless existence, he doesn’t give up, on the contrary. He is trying to find a solution for the plague, learn more about the vampires and set up plans to survive for as long as possible. Robert runs between being desperate to hopeful and Richard Matheson is good at writing about the small details that make it easy for me as the reader to understand what Robert is going through.

This is more a philosophical story of human nature than a book about bloodthirsty vampires. Even though I did not expect it, I was not disappointed. Matheson explores the human psyche in a way that made me think about how I had reacted if I was in that situation.
Sometimes I felt that the book was a bit too slow. The chapters where Robert discusses the science surrounding what could have caused the epidemic became boring and I felt I lost interest. The end was good, but unsatisfactory. I understand what Matheson wanted with the finish, but I as a reader felt that I needed more.

I understand that this book is not for everyone; especially if it’s action and bloodthirsty vampires you’re looking for. However, it’s worth reading.


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