Book Review: I am Legend by Richard Matheson

A short yet harrowing tale of (probably) the only human left on the planet after everybody else has turned into vampires. Night after night, Robert Neville is hounded by the blood-sucking population to come out of the house that he has made his fortress. It is one man’s tale of survival, his attempts to out-think the vampires and prevent his descent into madness all the while attempting to find a cure for the vampirism from which he is immune.

Some reviewers have criticised it as slow-paced. For me, the intense focus on the monotony of his daily routine really adds a sense of despair to Neville’s situation. It creates a sense of loneliness as harrowing as Robinson Crusoe’s, arguably worse because of the danger beyond his door.

What isn’t made clear is that there are two ‘factions’ of vampire, those that contracted the virus while alive (and therefore didn’t die) and those that were killed by the plague and came back as vampires. This point is crucial to the end of the story and the only weakness in the novel is that this particular plot element is confusing at first.

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