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Book Review| I Am Legend – Richard Matheson

61aUlQj4PSL• Published: January 21, 1999
• Genres: Horror, SciFi
• 160 pages
• Goodreads Rating: 
4.06
My Rating: 4.00

Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are 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?

I first picked up I Am Legend when I was about 14 years old. I wanted to read a vampire book where the vampire were actually monsters instead of love interests, and had heard good things about Legend. Unfortunately, it was a bit too “old” for me at that age, so I put it on the back burner. I’ve owned the book for a good bit now, and just recently decided I really needed to just read it. It isn’t very long, and I needed a good Halloween book.

what i liked

The Book is 1000x Better Than the Movie

This is not an exaggeration. I wasn’t a big fan of the movie to begin with since I knew the antagonists were originally vampires. I had read the first few pages before the movie came out, so I was expecting vampires the whole time. When I saw that it was badly-done CGI zombies, I became completely uninterested. I honestly can’t see how they could say the movie was based on the book at all because 90% of it is different. In the book, Neville is an alcoholic who doesn’t take care of his body. He is completely alone. He is a war veteran, not a doctor. His family dies after being infected by the disease. The vampires can talk to him and try to coax him out of the house. The book is so much more intense than the movie and I loved it.

Alternative Future (SPOILERS BELOW)
The book was published in ’99 but takes place in the mid-70’s. The emergence of a new society – this one ruled by vampires – gives us a completely new idea of the future. We know they view their rising as a revolution, so it makes me wonder whether or not they’ll find peace soon or later in their evolution. We’re never introduced to their leader, so we have to rely on our own thinking to imagine what happens after Neville’s death.

words learned

• Prostration (noun)
1. extreme mental or emotional depression or dejection
2. extreme physical weakness or exhaustion: heat prostration.

• Desultory (adjective)
1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.

• Maudlin (adjective)
1. tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental: a maudlin story of a little orphan and her lost dog.
2. foolishly or mawkishly sentimental because of drunkenness.

Reveries (noun)
1. a state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing: lost in reverie.
2. a daydream

final thoughts

If you’re looking for a short, creepy book, I am Legend is for you. Definitely try to pick up a copy that has some of Matheson’s short stories too – they’re worth it. He Who Kills and Dance of the Dead were my two favorites. I’m so spoiled by epilogues that I wish Legend had one, but that’s really just nit-picking.

Have you read I am Legend or any other books by Richard Matheson? Do you have any favorite Halloween books, or books to read around Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!

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3 thoughts on “Book Review| I Am Legend – Richard Matheson

  1. I just found you on the NaNo forums, we are both a part of CT East! I loved this book! And the movie! I probably liked them both the same, if not the book a bit more, because obviously they were completely different. Both of them stood on their own as solid stories, I think. I just think that the book had a much more sinister feel to it.

    Also, I scrolled down and read a few of your other posts – have you read The Fold yet? I checked that out of the library a few months ago and loved it!

    Glad there is another WordPresser doing NaNoWriMo, let’s keep in touch!

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