I Am Legend
25 September 2013 5 Comments
Author: Richard Matheson.
Summary: Robert Neville is the last living man on earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman, and child has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood. By day, he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive like this?
Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5
Review: Post-apocalyptic dystopian horror! How could i not like this book? (It could’ve been crap, is how, but thankfully it wasn’t.)
The book does not ease you into the main character, Robert’s, situation slowly or gently. The first few chapters are tense. Tense. They are not scary in a typical way; there are no quick shocks, suspense or gore. It’s more a constant sense of: How does he live like that? How can he survive that way? For the first third of the book just the fact of his survival amazed me; in his situation i’m sure i would have given up.
The tension eased a little through the middle of the book. And really, i found Robert’s logical thought process and application to the vampires interesting and refreshing. He refused to take the legends at face value. He assumed there had to be logical reasons for sunlight, garlic, crosses and stakes. As my favourite quote from the book puts it:
The cross. He held one in his hand, gold and shiny in the morning sun. This, too, drove the vampires away.
Why? Was there a logical answer, something he could accept without slipping on banana skins of mysticism?
Seeing him research, experiment and coming to rational scientific conclusions was really enjoyable for me. I love horror, but mix it with science fiction and make it sound like a realistically plausible thing and apparently i love it even more. This books makes vampires not a scary mythical beast, but a disease that, in theory, could exist… which in my opinion makes the idea of vampires even scarier.
The end of the book took a route i had not excepted. When Robert, after years of thinking himself alone in the world, comes across another seemingly uninfected human, things don’t go quite how he had envisioned. I was suspicious from the moment he met Ruth, but did not expect what actually happened at all. Matheson creates a darkly twisted, but ultimately hopeful ending… it’s just not the kind of hopeful you expect.
I think Matheson weaved an excellent tale of horror, science fiction, psychological terror and the brutality of the human race. I will definitely look for more books by him in the future.