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Book Review: I am Legend by Richard Matheson

Reviewed by Krista McKeeth

Recently I decided to pick up I am Legend by Richard Matheson, a book that I’ve come across often on lists of “should reads.” As a fan of vampires, I imagined that I would love the story and enjoy the process of reading through it. But I found a story that, for a while, really frustrated me.

The first half of the novel is heavy on the story setting and the inner monologue of Robert Neville – a man who spends his days making repairs on his sheltered house, finding supplies and killing sleeping vampires. His spends his nights, trying not to listen to the vampires outside his door calling his name and drinking to pass the time. I found the languid descriptions of this man’s every day life hard to get through even though the novel is a rather short read.

It was really the second half of the novel that  caught my attention. As the more active part began, the story truly unfolded about how this world has progressed, to the point where the reader is introduced to the possibilities of its future.

I was happily surprised that there was some great detail of the creatures and idea of what civilisation would be underpin their present state. It made perfect sense and I found it intriguing. I now know why this made it on so many lists and can see some connections between this book and others I have read that came after, and built upon similar ideas.

It turns out that I am happy to recommend this book as well; I am glad I pushed through the beginning to reach such an ingenious ending.