I'm between giving this 4 and 5 stars so truly, this is more of a 4.5 stars.
I am Legend is - I can't believe it! I can't remember even why I got it in the first place. I rarely browse the adult fantasy section any more, I usually whip past it I admit. If I do go there it is a planned purchase.
I bought it during pre-deadline depression at my final year of university. I was intrigued because it is a classic - written in the 1950's and I guess when I think of fantasy or sci-fi I think of witches, wizards, dark fantasy lands with funny names, or space ships. I do want to read more fantasy - I guess though I should first find my feet so why not start towards the beginning?
Anyway, it's been floating about for a couple of years now not being read maybe because after I finished uni and had to take my masses of books back home I looked at it and thought "what the hell kinda mood was I in when I bought this?" and it got chucked to the back of my bookcase.
I guess I've shied away from this kinda fiction and so it takes usually a funny mood or some persuasion to jump into it. Sometimes I think that as time goes by it's always good perhaps to recheck genres you were perhaps never sure of, see if your tastes have changed or just give something a go.
Last year at roughly the same time I got it into my head that after years of thinking "Gak, Stephen King, I'd rather die" I should read The Stand. So maybe it is a September thing? Maybe every September I will want to read a strange out-of-my-genre-zone book about society being over taken by a virus or whatever kind of apocalypse book.
This year though my choice was more influenced by people I have met on GR who have made me feel more confident about certain books and more able to give them a go. I decided to give this a go because I knew it was one of my GR friend's favourites and so in a way - you get to know people by exploring their books.
So I bit the bullet and read I am Legend. Now I'm thinking I gotta go out there and read more books a) by this guy and b) by other people on this friend's bookshelf because this, this was brilliant.
Matheson is an awesome author - his ability to write, to create a scene, an atmosphere, a character - a scene - is beyond my descriptive abilities. He is a natural I think, one of those people with an in-born talent and you can't quite lay your finger on how he does it. Every air, every breath, every particle in this book feels so real and connected.
It is sharp. Clean. Clear. Almost perfect.
The book is mostly internal dialogue. Robert Neville wanders alone in a mad world where all civilisation has died and he is the only man living amongst the masses of vampires who come after him at night.
To hold a story together where there is barely any dialogue, where it is one man against the world - is pure genius. The loneliness of a man alone in the world is so intense and sharp that you can automatically feel it.
I think what makes a really good author is their ability to make the reader use their own imagination and trust them to have their own intelligence and ability to think. I think the true power of this book is that it gets you really thinking yourself, that you aren't really just a passive reader. You can't read this book without somehow becoming a part of it.
I think what I found really thought provoking was the fact it was set at a point where most stories would end. I like this - as I said it makes you imagine what it must have been like before, what Neville must have been through.
In a way - it feels as if there is a whole story before and a whole story afterwards - that has been purposefully left untold. And I think it is this which makes I am Legend so beautiful. It is like taking a microscope to a small speck and giving it life.
The ending packs a real punch too. I wasn't wholly sure what to expect - but it doesn't leave you disappointed. I can't say any more.
I'm really, really impressed by this book and I found it to be one of the most inspiring I have read in a long time. Obviously my panic-infected brain had some thought left in it to have seen the potential in this book when buying it. I just wish I'd read it sooner... but then perhaps I would not have enjoyed it so much had I not been able to share it with the people of Goodreads?
Now my only problem is the question - what do I read next?