17 May 2012

Review: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Originally published: 1954

Pages: 160 (hardback)


Genre/s: Post-Apocalyptic

Source: Own library

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

Synopsis

Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth...but he is not alone. Every other man, woman, and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville's blood.

By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn.

How long can one man survive in a world of vampires? 


My Thoughts

I've seen the movie version of I Am Legend at least twice, probably three times. And up until maybe a year ago, I didn't realise that it was actually a book, and a sci-fi classic to boot. Which also made me think - how many movies are based on, or inspired by a book we don't even know about?

I'm also not a fan of reading a book after seeing the movie - I always find movie versions are either a) completely different or b) a big fat let-down, so I was a little wary when I started reading. I really thought I wouldn't be able to get Will Smith's face out of my mind.....

However, right from the beginning I realised that the book version of I Am Legend is different in several ways to the movie, and not once did I imagine Neville as Will Smith. The book is more personal and intimate than the movie, and the hopelessness and isolation Neville experiences comes through strongly. There is less action and less vampire spookiness, but their presence was always in the back of my mind the whole way through.

I'm really glad I put my habits aside and decided to read I Am Legend - and I will definitely be recommending it to anyone that interested in reading a sci-fi classic. There's not a lot I can say that hasn't been said a thousand times and a hundred different ways before, but I found I Am Legend to be far more character-focused and emotionally intense than I imagined it would be.



9 comments:

  1. Hi!

    I watched the movie but I read the book before. One thing is sure, I enjoyed ten times more the book. Like you point out in your review, this book is more centered on the main character and it's really strong. I remember that I was breathless when I closed the book.
    In fact, this book is more about the psychology of this character rather than the "fantastic" aspect which stays quite much in the background.

    Great review! :)

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    1. The book was so gripping and sad, I certainly couldn't put it down!

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  2. I remember this book being excellent and the movie doesn't hold a candle to it! A strong contender in the genre.

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    1. Definitely - if anyone asked I would recommend the book over the movie any day.

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  3. I saw the film a while ago, and I swear I never, EVER want to watch that film again. It was good, don't get me wrong, but there's a scene where... uh, something happens that had just happened to me and I swear I felt like I was breaking in two :/ It hurts just thinking about it!

    I did a similar thing with Minority Report - I loved the film, but didn't even realise it was a book until a few months ago :)

    New follower - found you because of the giveaway hop, but I'll be back.

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    1. There are so many films that were books originally that I didn't realise. Now whenever I see a movie that sounds like it COULD be a book I always give it a quick Google to see.

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  4. I HATED the movie adaptation of this book as Matheson's original is just such an astoundingly brilliant work. I'm glad you read and enjoyed this!

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    1. I don't think I would have enjoyed the movie as much if I had read the book first. I think the only book vs movie combination where I perhaps liked the movie version better was Children of Men by P.D. James

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  5. This is one of my all-time favorites. Absolutely loved it, and you're right about the 2007 film resembling very little to the source material. I liked the movie, but LOVED the book.

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