I am Legend by Richard Matheson

Title I am Legend
Author Richard Matheson
Genre Science Fiction, Classics, Vampires
Format Kindle
Page Length 175
Publication Date 01 Sep 2011 (originally 1954)
Publisher Gateway
Read Date 26 Sep 2017
Rating 3.426534363 stars – Recommended

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?


I read Jazz’s review of this yesterday and thought ’I’ve had this on my to read for a while. Come on Stark, just read the fucking thing already!’ So, because I don’t like it when my head voice tells me off, I packed a lunch and went for a long walk into the woods. I found a nice log in the sun, made myself at home and finally read this like a totally adorable little reading elf. OK, maybe not that little; I am 6’3” and 255lbs (of pure muscle, obvs.) LIES!

I had watched the Francis Lawrence movie when it first came out, and although I didn’t dislike it as much as some people, I didn’t really find it mind blowing. It was a solid meh – maybe a 2.8754623 stars out of five. I found the book to be better, but not the 5 star read that many others find it to be.

On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.

The story is set in a post apocalyptic world where an illness has turned the vast majority of all life into vampires, or… living deads and deads… or something… I got a little lost OK?! And not those crappy romantic vampires, but truly monstrous bite your fucking face off vampires. Robert Neville, a World War 3 veteran, is surviving in this world by mainly hiding in his barricaded home at night and by hunting and putting stakes through the heart of those he finds during the day. Robert van Helsing is, conveniently immune to the vampiric germ and the illness it causes. He’s still gotta be careful though, because it doesn’t mean these vampires won’t bite his face off given half a chance!

They were strange, the facts about them: their staying inside by day, their avoidance of garlic, their death by stake, their reputed fear of crosses, their supposed dread of mirrors.

It is difficult for me in my super modern age mind erm, have you met you? to gauge the impact it had on the genre and just how horror-esque it would have been when first released. I didn’t find it particularly horrifying at any point, but there were moments of discomfort. The whole ‘Oh my there is a female vampire outside acting in a promiscuous manner and I am a man and therefore cannot control myself and my junk is burning and twitching because I must go and fornicate with her despite knowing this is a trap that will lead to my death’ thing was just laughable. I know I’m probably not the best to judge such a thing, but come on – as if! What sort of person would have their head in the gutter when there is a vampire apocalypse happening right outside! I’d be more focused on not having my face bitten off, but maybe that’s just me?!

That aside, I still struggled a little to connect with the main character, but I find that a lot with SF from this era. Maybe it’s just not how they were written, or maybe it’s because I’m such a modern day guy. Again, no. The story and concept was good though. I found the science explanation very intriguing, I was hooked in those parts. Because I’m so busy being totally awesome at other things, I have no idea whether the science actually makes sense or not, but with a small amount of suspending disbelief it makes perfect sense in the context of the story. The ending is much, much, much, much… (we could be here a while, so I’ll skip ahead) much more satisfying than that of the movie.

Overall, this is a solid mid 1900s science fiction book and if those are your sort of thing, you will likely really enjoy this. I’m glad I finally got around to reading it, but I probably won’t read it again.

Anyway, I’m off to soundproof the house and whittle stakes for no apparent reason. (I’m not having my face bitten off.) Peace and Love!

LINKSGoodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US


    1. Yea I can see how people would like it. It isn’t a bad book by far. I think if I was reading it in 1954 then it would be rather weird because not only was I not born, neither was my mother or father and that would involve some sort of time machine and I don’t think they exist yet… wait, I got distracted with my thoughts. Yea, I think if I read it at the time, it would have had a bigger impact on me for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Haha I love how specific your ratings are with the decimal points and everything 😛
    Eugh, I know what you mean about feeling uncomfortable when he was lamenting the fact he hadn’t ‘had a woman’…it’s like, have a w*nk and get over yourself! There was a point when he was with Ruth, where he was thinking if he’d met her a year earlier he might have a “violated her”. It’s messed up that that was initially his priority when humanity had seemingly been wiped out!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. I think the only reason I tried to just overlook it is because of the time when it was written. I find it to be a common thing from this era of SF and I have to just try and gloss over it otherwise it would ruin the whole story for me. I wouldn’t be so kind if I read such a thing in a more recently written book.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I knew it! I just freaking knew you had to have a blog because most certainly I would have missed this (no joke) brilliant review on Goodreads because the feed there is busybusybusy. So what if I’m selfish, bleh.
    Anyway, I have not seen the movie- probably won’t watch it either as Jazz mentioned that the book and the movie are nothing alike… but I do want to read this! I think I may actually like it… like, a lot! 🙂 But I am also a bit afraid being let down by the fact that the ‘modern day brain’ will just shrug and go: “I’ve seen and done worse!”

    So, I buggered off, but I came here instead- glad I did- love this review, Stark! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, ta muchly!
      You’re really not going to miss out on much by not seeing the movie. I think it’s one of those ‘sitting at home with nothing to watch and flicking through netflix for anything oh my god I’ve already watched all of these’ movies.
      I think if you read the book going in knowing that it isn’t likely to hold up to modern day standards, you can still get a lot of enjoyment from it.
      Actually, get the audiobook, play it on 3x speed and pretend that you are moving really slowly and things are moving much quicker than you. That way, if you don’t enjoy the story, at least you’ve had 3 hours of fun! And if you do enjoy the story, well – mega times right?!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a good idea to go in with lowered expectations, I think… as for audiobook… no, I can’t do audiobooks at all… It’s funny, people always say they like to listen to audiobooks while doing this, that and the other and I just can’t because I still glaze over the book and miss most of what was said… attention issues I guess 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am glad I read your review. First off I thought this was published in the ’70s, so good to know, and it is a much shorter book than I had thought before and that might give me the push to finally read it so I can say I have read it. Ha ha. I enjoyed the movie and I always like seeing how film storylines are modernized from classic books. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review! It’s great to hear a balanced opinion for a book that has so much acclaim and so many people love. I do want to check it out, but have been a little put off by the ridiculous number of people praising this- so I’m glad I read this cos it might actually push me in the direction of the book. Unfortunately, I have heard loads of spoilers for this, cos I saw the film and someone told me in detail how it differs- *but* I still think it’ll be worth a go. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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