Stephen Leeds, AKA “Legion,” is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the new story begins, Leeds and his “aspects” are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. But there’s a catch. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body. And that something might be dangerous…
Skin Deep is the sequel to Brandon Sanderson’s novella, Legion. While the original felt groundbreaking and refreshing, the sequel feels… sequelly.
Let me elaborate. I actually did enjoy the book – because this Sanderson, after all, but it just didn’t feel as cool and nice as Legion. But it really doesn’t do anything new. In fact, it feels at most like an expanded version of the original. Once again, there’s a mystery to be solved, surrounding which is a groundbreaking new technology. Last time it was a camera that could photograph the past, this time it’s a method to store information in live cells. And again, Stephen Leeds uses his unique psychological condition to crack the case.
But I don’t want Leeds taking on techno-chases. I already read that book. I wanted to find out more about his often alluded past, or more about his psychosis/superpower. And that meant I just didn’t enjoy this book as much I might have, if I hadn’t read Legion first.
Though to give credit where credit is due, the mystery story is rather well done. Unlike Legion, Skin Deep’s tech feels like it could be a real thing. And as a programmer myself, i totally loved Legion’s graphology/cryptology persona, Audrey. I was totally prepared to cringe when Leeds started talking about “hacking”, but what followed had me chuckling – it was actually remarkably accurate and believable.
tl;dr : Not as cool as the original and feels like it treads somewhat the same ground, this is nonetheless a fun and enjoyable little book.