‘I Am Legend’ Richard Matheson


An acclaimed SF novel about vampires. The last man on earth is not alone …

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 civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

How long can one man survive like this?


Okay, before I begin the actual review, let me just say this one, crucial thing; if you haven’t read I Am Legend because you watched I Am Legend the movie with Will Smith and a stupid, confusing ending…well, banish whatever notions you had about the book right now. They are two completely different entities. The book and the movie share a title, the protagonist of each share a name and there’s vampires…the similarities end there (although admittedly, on paper (or on screen, wah brackets within brackets…braception?) it does sound like they’re very similar).

I Am Legend is an interesting book. Clocking in at a mere 160 pages, it’s a book that’s a unique blend of sci-fi and horror and is a book that has inspired contemporary well-known horror authors such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Hell, if that isn’t an endorsement then I don’t know what is!

Now, this might be controversial to say, but the book didn’t blow me away (hey, that rhymed!). I Am Legend was first published in 1954 and since then, a lot of horror novels have been published. It’s not so much that I Am Legend is bad or boring, it’s more I’ve become desensitized to horror because it’s such a prevalent genre in the 21st century. Had I read this book upon its initial publication, sure, then I might have found it truly terrifying. The notion of a mysterious illness that turns people into the literal walking dead, an illness with seemingly no preventative measures or cure…it does sound like a scary premise for a book and it was…back in 1954. This isn’t so much a flaw of the book, this is more a flaw with me, its reader.

One thing I did really like about I Am Legend, though, is Robert Neville’s flashbacks. Seeing the life he’d had juxtaposed against his current situation served as a way of demonstrating to the reader just how much he’s lost. I think for me, some of the real horror lay in the fact that he’s completely and utterly alone with only his painful memories to keep him company. I may be generalizing here, but the idea of being alone is a frightening prospect for many people.

In terms of the narration, I initially found Neville’s thoughts quite difficult to follow, but upon reflection, I think the way in which his thoughts seem jumbled and nonsensical is a way of demonstrating how his loneliness is affecting him. The narration is a mirror image of Neville’s thoughts and, as a result, a reader really gets a sense of his confusion, fear and sheer frustration. It’s a form of narration that really gets a reader empathizing with him and books that allow a reader to walk in the shoes of another are books that are well written.

Overall, a cleverly, well-written book but not one I found overly scary.

Now, before I sign off this review, I propose a fun drinking game! It’s called Neck-a-shot-everytime-Robert Neville-spills-his-whisky-or-throws-or-breaks-his-whisky-glass. Let’s see how many of us can get past the third chapter!

Rating: 3 out of 5

Song: Iron Maiden’s Fear of the dark


This book is available on Amazon in both e-reader and paperback format.


16 thoughts on “‘I Am Legend’ Richard Matheson

  1. A fair treatment. I think it’s a book worth reading–especially since it’s rather short. However, you’re right that it probably won’t be horrifying anyone.
    The movie’s ending isn’t its strong point, that much is certain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like I said, I can totally see how it would have been scary back in 1954, especially in an era where experiments with biological warfare were being conducted. The fear of an unknown illness would have been completely understandable, but I just found it had less of an impact on me now, here in 2017.
      No, the movie’s ending is so weird! One left open to interpretation, I think!


  2. Great review! I have had this on my to read pile for such a long time and never got around to it. I really didn’t like the movie, but have heard that the book is much better. I may have to shove it up the the pile and read it soon.
    Also, braception sounds like a bra that you wear to keep your bra supported. Dragon’s Den that idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was a good read, don’t get me wrong, but I just didn’t find it to be quite the ‘horror’ everyone had claimed it to be, but, like I said, I think that’s more an issue with me.
      The movie wasn’t great, was it? What was with that ending!?
      Haha it does! I like that idea! To hell with buying a new bra, just get a bra for your bra when it get old and tatty 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea, I think with it being a classic book, I just want to read it to tick it off my list really. I’m not expecting great things going in, and if I like it, then yay, and if not, then boo. With it being a short read I feel I won’t have wasted too much time with it. I may even just get it on audiobook and listen to it during the walk to work.
        I felt rather ‘meh’ with the movie. I’ve heard it originally had a good ending, but then studio execs got involved and screwed it up – as is often the case.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very fair review Soggy Sproggy Woggy!😂

    This book is ancient! It’s like a dusty old fossil and relic from a time long ago! It was released the same year that my mother was born!😂

    I like the film, I don’t think it’s great but it’s decent and doesn’t deserve the hate that it often gets.

    It is very different to the book though and the book to me, is awesome so the film pales in comparison to it. It’s definitely a classic.

    I think it’s just how it is now days with old books, what was horrific back then is just normal and common place now, it’s how the world has changed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Jesus, ‘soggy’!? Eugh, I’m always foolish enough to think it can’t get any worse then boom! You go ahead and prove me wrong!
      Aww I’m sure your mum would be really pleased to hear you refer to something from the year she was born as a ‘dusty old fossil’ 😛
      Truth be told, I haven’t seen the movie in years. I just remember the ending and being really, really confused by it. Perhaps a rewatch is on the cards!
      I respect the fact that you love this book and I also respect the fact that you respect (jeez, that’s a lot of respect) the fact (and a lot of facts too) that I wasn’t blown away by it. I know some people get real up in arms when they see their fave book getting a not-so-good review. I tried my best to give a balanced and fair review 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It can always get worse Sproggy, ALWAYS!😂😂😂

        It’s not my favourite book but I do really like it. It’s each to their own with books though, not everyone can like every book they read and I don’t expect everyone to like a book just because I do. Gotta respect others views and opinions. Only time I’d kick off is if someone hated a book that I liked and just wrote something like ‘this book is sh#t don’t buy it’ as it is an unfair review and they aren’t backing up why they feel that way. But for a fair review that explains good and bad points then no one should chime off about it.

        That was a lot of respect Sproggy, I guess you are growing up and learning to respect your elders!😂😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, you got me interested… I haven’t seen the movie and I don’t intend to either… for some reason… but I do want to read this book!
    Like ‘braception’ 😀 i always wonder what to od if I end up putting brackets within brackets… I usually just edit the sentence so I don’t have to to braception but … is it like an OK thing to do? braception? Cause I have no idea… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think braception isn’t grammatically correct, but hey, maybe it’s something I can ask my uni tutors ;P I tend to find one side note leads to another and then another…I need all the brackets I can get! 😛
      It’s definitely a book worth reading I’d say, if only for the mixed responses it seems to receive! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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