I Am Legend

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9,723 Ratings

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4 out of 5 stars
By Steven Casper on 01-24-08


Like a lot of reviewers, I saw the movie before I ever heard of the book. In fact, I decided to read the book because I was hoping for some clarification about some concepts and ideas that the movie hinted at but didn't explain.

Rather than reading it, I bought it on Audible and let somebody else read it to me. From the start I knew this book was not going to be the movie. Neville was definitely not the same man in the book that Will Smith portrayed in the movie. A lot of the questions raised by the movie were not answered, though many others were.

I liked that Neville wasn't some super-hero action star in the book. He was a normal guy just trying to survive in a world that didn't want or need him anymore. He was intelligent and given to learning, but he was also very dark, depressed and lonely. I pictured a Steve Buscemi in the book far more than a Will Smith.

Rather than saying if you liked the movie you won't like the book, I'd rather say that if you liked the movie, you may also like the book, just don't expect it to be the same story. The movie is only very loosely based on the book.

One more thing, when I saw the movie I thought "wow, the infected people are kind of vampiric", but they never used the word vampire, rather calling them "dark-seekers". The book was very prolific in the use of the word vampire, and I loved the history of vampirism as explained in the book much much more than the reasons given (well, sort of given) in the movie.

Summary: Great fiction, great character development. Sometimes melodramatic narration (to be expected in an audio-only reading). Got a little long-winded and obscure during some of the exposition around the disease, and yet still intriguing to the curious mind. Over all, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anybody who can handle the darkness of a post-apocalyptic world where the protagonist is not an action-hero superstar!

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152 of 163 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Jim "The Impatient" on 04-25-16


Written in 1954, this book stands the test of time. Course if written today, the vampires would be Zombies. At least two movies have been made of this, but neither followed the book totally. The movies are good and the book is good. While this is a Horror, it is also Science Fiction. The book is entertaining and thought provoking. I highly recommend it. The narrator is excellent.

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104 of 119 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By finhead on 10-15-07

five star book!

This is really a fantastic book. None of the movies based on it really do it justice. This is a very intimate telling of one man's experience with the end of civilization as he knows it. Movie adaptations always have to add more action or add new elements. What makes this novel so remarkable and memorable, however, is just how intimate the story telling is and how much I find myself caring about Robert Neville's character.

It's particularly remarkable to me how well this story holds up considering it was written in 1954. It is written in such a way as to have very, very few aspects that date the story. It is just as easy to visualize the story as happening today as I believe it would have been 50 or 60 years ago.

It is, in my opinion, a very intelligent and smartly written book and I'd recommend it wholeheartedly. The narrator is a perfect match for the material as well! I'd give it more stars if I could!

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73 of 91 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Michael G Kurilla on 12-21-17

Sci-fi horror classic

Richard Matherson's I Am Legend is a classic from the 1950's that reads almost as well today as it did when originally released. Only one man appears to have survived a plague that turns humans into vampire-like creatures, only coming out at night, seeking him out. Without any superhuman abilities, he manages to organize himself for survival as well as some rudimentary investigation into the cause.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the sci-fi elements is that in the 1950's, the widespread introduction of antibiotics into medical practice hinted at the possibility of conquering all bacterial infections. And so Materson postulated a bacterial infection that was incurable with a spore phase for efficient spread. His suggestion of Darwinian evolution driving humanity's extinction, only to be replaced by something else is somewhat unique for the time. Although contemporary writings would insert zombies instead of vampires, the various scientific explanations for vampiric behaviors is noteworthy.

The narration is quite well done and expertly shifts in sync with the nearly bipolar attitude displayed throughout. Pacing is on target, making for a quick listen.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Calliope on 03-11-18

Better than I expected, but dated.

Very different and much better than the movie, in that there are actual ideas and philosophical thinking in this story of a plague survivor in a world of vampires. Also, now the title makes sense - something that wasn't really clear in the movie. Actually, even though it's quite dated, especially with gender roles and expectations, it makes a lot more sense and is more interesting.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Paul on 11-07-17


An intense, thought-provoking look at one man's struggle to survive in a world where all the rules have been irrevocably changed.

Like Gulliver's Travels, this story can be read on more than one level. As Robert Neville plans his existence around the physical requirements of his new reality, we are absorbed by the bleakness of his outlook, caught up in his carefully planned accommodations of a new world order.

On another level, we feel the loneliness of Everyman as he makes his way through life, surrounded by people, buffeted by circumstance, struggling always to be true to his core principles, whatever they might be.

Robertson Dean's narration is superb,

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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