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I Am Legend Paperback – Unabridged, September 15, 1997
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One of the most influential vampire novels of the 20th century, I Am Legend regularly appears on the "10 Best" lists of numerous critical studies of the horror genre. As Richard Matheson's third novel, it was first marketed as science fiction (for although written in 1954, the story takes place in a future 1976). A terrible plague has decimated the world, and those who were unfortunate enough to survive have been transformed into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. Except, that is, for Robert Neville. He alone appears to be immune to this disease, but the grim irony is that now he is the outsider. He is the legendary monster who must be destroyed because he is different from everyone else. Employing a stark, almost documentary style, Richard Matheson was one of the first writers to convince us that the undead can lurk in a local supermarket freezer as well as a remote Gothic castle. His influence on a generation of bestselling authors--including Stephen King and Dean Koontz--who first read him in their youth is, well, legendary. --Stanley Wiater
“The most clever and riveting vampire novel since Dracula.” ―Dean Koontz
“I think the author who influence me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson. Books like I Am Legend were an inspiration to me.” ―Stephen King
“One of the Ten All-Time Best Novels of Vampirism.” ―Fangoria
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This book is fantastic. The way that Matheson builds Robert Neville, from the angry drunk to the somber yet thoughtful man, resigned to his fate. It's an emotional ride as we visit, through his memories, the brutal way in which his daughter was taken and burned with the other infected. The way his wife slowly succumbed to the plague and the way he had to deal with her, the dog, and finally Ruth and his breakdown.
The way Matheson treats the vampires is so clever and refreshing and something I didn't expect. I chose this book because I'm making my way through the Sci-Fi Masterworks list and thought, well it's about vampires, why is it on this list? Well now I know and I'm glad it deserves to be.
Finally, unlike the movie, when you read the very last sentence to fully understand why it's titled, I Am Legend.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was that I have seen two film versions of I Am Legend and this still felt original. I think it's because the main character is a truly human character. We get a front row seat to those flaws in the book and we get to do it as he battles vampires from a last man on earth perspective. It was a fun read. I will try more of Matheson's written work. (He also wrote many screenplays.)
Wow, just wow. I don't know what else to say. It's an incredible book, dealing with a very dark but thought provoking subject. I've always hated book like these, the whole post apocalyptic zombie land always seemed so childish and cliche to me, but I genuinely enjoyed this. The entire story just makes you think over and over, what would I do if I were him? Bare with me those readers that are like me that absolutely hate it when people (*cough cough* English teachers and librarians *cough*) say stuff like that but for once it's actually true. The author makes Neville seem so real and so painfully human that it's almost impossible not to relate him to yourself. That being said I did have a few problems with the book. For one thing the beginning was kind of a drag but it got better as it went on. For another, two words: The. Dog. That scene was the worst and was only put in to further inflict pain onto its readers. If I had been forced to read this in school I would have hated it but since I read it of my own volition, it actually was really interesting and I really liked the ending.
I throughly enjoyed this book and the story was well written. It kept me focused to read it and I could hardly put it down. It is an excellent vampire story and one that you have to read.
Now the actual story itself is great, but man it really would've been a whole lot better had it been fleshed out to a longer book. Just when you are getting attached to the character, setting, and his cause, it's all over :(
Probably would've rated it higher had I known it included the short stories along with IAL