Customer Reviews


264 Reviews
5 star:
 (205)
4 star:
 (49)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original "Blade"?
I know it sounds like a bunch of cliches but this book gripped me so much I couldn't put it down and read it in just a few hours. A sometimes bleak study of the human condition it is also engrossing, thought-provoking and moving. It is also one of the few "horror" novels out of hundreds I have read that have genuinely scared me.
Basically it is the story of Robert...
Published on 5 Oct 2002 by David Caton

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Its okay
I had been looking to reading this for a long time and was a little disappointed- maybe because the twist is so well known
Published 12 months ago by chris grant


‹ Previous | 1 227 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original "Blade"?, 5 Oct 2002
By 
David Caton (Westcliff on Sea, Essex England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I know it sounds like a bunch of cliches but this book gripped me so much I couldn't put it down and read it in just a few hours. A sometimes bleak study of the human condition it is also engrossing, thought-provoking and moving. It is also one of the few "horror" novels out of hundreds I have read that have genuinely scared me.
Basically it is the story of Robert Neville, the lone survivor of a plague that sends its victims into a coma, followed eventually by death and vampirism. By day Neville hunts sleeping plague victims and vampires and disposes of them in the traditional manner. By night he locks himself away while hordes of vampires attack his well-defended house. Eventually he seeks scientific explanations for the causes of vampirism and tries to find a cure. In that respect I think the story must have been an influence on the Blade comics and movies (just don't expect hi-tech weapons, martial arts and cool shades!!).
As Neville becomes more resigned to his situation, and gradually gets used to the nightly attacks of vampires on his well-defended house, so does the reader. The vampires become almost incidental and the writing focusses more on Neville's thoughts and preoccupations. Until, that is, Neville loses track of time and gets caught outside, miles from home at nightfall. It is a testament to Matheson's writing that at this point the thought of being in Neville's position and having to run the gauntlet of vampires waiting for him outside his only safe haven is truly terrifying!
The pseudo-scientific explanations for the characteristics of vampirism seem a little silly, especially the "body glue", but these are really incidental to the story, as is the futuristic 1970's setting, and you shouldn't let these put you off.
I would recommend this book to anyone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warrior of the wasteland, 19 May 2009
I hadn't heard of Richard Matheson's post-apocalyptic novella until the film adaptation came out. After seeing that somewhat messy movie, I was inspired to seek out the source novel. Now, I think it's always better to watch a film version of a novel first, as it's usually less frustrating; the book is dark, eerie and ultimately harrowing, and I was gripped by Matheson's prose and couldn't put it down until I'd finished it. I would definitely recommend this novella to Sci-Fi/Fantasy fans and to those who simply like to read quality fiction. This edition is a reasonable price on here too.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark brooding paranoid classic, 30 July 2002
By 
Lendrick (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is hard to think or a darker book - Richard Neville is the last man alive the rest of the population turned into vampires by a mysterious bug. By day he scavanges the deserted city and seeks out sleeping vampires to kill, while at night he sits in his fortified house listening to the vampires howl for his blood.
But this isn't just a excuse for horror, it a novel about the nature of man which will make you think as well as scaring you.
Written in 1954 this is a timeless classic - I wonder if Matheson now regrets the then so futuristic 1970s setting - it is the only thing that dates the book. An influence on so many others, Steven King and George Romero for a start. This should be on any list of great novels of the 20th century.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Its all about the people, 22 Oct 2006
By 
C. Oflaherty "llywco" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I bought this because it was number two in the masterworks series, which has been a goldmine of excellent science fiction: Gateway, Forever War etc.

I was a little dubious about reading a vampire book. I went through a bit of a phase as a teenager, and it had all been a bit cheesy and romanticised, more about the costumes than horror. I also read Dracula many years ago and was decidedly underwhelmed. This, was however, unexpectedly excellent.

Reading this novel is a little like being locked inside the main characters small shuttered house, with occasional forays into the sunlit world outside. This is because at first the only knowledge of the world you have is through his fear, and his hatred of the vampires; but gradually this is added to by his recollections of the past, of his realisations about the world he is now living in. This mirroring between the reader's knowledge and the main character's world is an excellent method of creating empathy with a character with whom you are not always meant to agree, but are at least expected to comprehend his choices.

The vampires of this world are not a mythical, and mysterious creation, but a scientific fact and undeniable truth in John Neville's world. This makes them both more frightening and more sympathetic, because regardless of their present situation and their needs they were once people. The question the book ultimately poses is what is it that makes us human?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something to Sink Your teeth Into, 27 Sep 2006
By 
Steven Moses - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Millenennium SF series is a bit of mixed bag of so called 'classic' and seminal sci-fi of the 20th century. 'I Am Legend' rightly deserves it's place in that list but not necessarily as a sci-fi novel. But it's a bit of a curate's egg. In fact it's not even a horror novel per se. There's a blend of sci-fi, post-apocalyptical musings ( more so in the movie based loosely on the book), some horror of course. But this novella is more a psychological examination of what it's like to be the last man alive. Matheson is an expert at leading us into the mind of a man without the companionship of his fellows. I won't spoil the plot as there are some brilliant and unexpected twists but the chapters concerned with Neville's discovery of a dog, company he has craved for for three years, is stunning and I defy anyone not to be moved to tears. I love the film, which is why I bought the book initially, but after reading it I'm afraid Heston et al missed out on a better adaptation. Near perfect.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully crafted sci fi/horror with psychological depth, 30 Mar 2001
I enjoyed this book so much that I read it in three nights. I came to it via the early 70s film 'The Omega Man', which I also enjoyed but the book is far more cohesive and less dated than the film (ironic considering it was written twenty years earlier). I particularly like Matheson's psychological exploration of narrator Robert Neville, whose emotional struggles with profound loneliness give this novel a human depth which is sometimes lacking in the genre. The prose is economical and briskly paced and chapters tend to end on cliffhangers making the novel difficult to put down. Neville's attempts to provide scientific explanations for the vampire plague drag the old bloodsucker myth into a convincing 20th Century context. I was so impressed by this novel that I quickly acquired other novels by Matheson, but so far this one is my favourite.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I AM IMPRESSED, 9 Oct 2013
This review is from: I Am Legend (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
For me, the most engaging aspect of Matheson's 1954 I AM LEGEND is it's merging of ancient vampire folklore with a modern setting. Matheson here, was perhaps one of the first writers to pluck these creatures from their traditional castles or Transylvanian mountains and drop them into present day towns and cities.

We still have garlic and stakes through the heart and we still have bloodthirsty ghouls - back from the grave - who dare only come out at night.......but here in modern times they are given a scientific evaluation as Earth's sole survivor of a plague attempts to study and examine the vampirism as a disease in the hope of developing an remedy for the condition.

Our hero is Robert Neville, a scientist whose team co-develop a serum to combat a mysterious and deadly plague that quickly engulfs society. Neville has self-tested the serum but before it has been mass-produced, both the serum and it's formula are lost in an air crash and the plague quickly spreads the land, with those infected appearing to experience a return from the dead and a craving for blood. The creatures are vulnerable to daylight and shuffle around in hordes, occasionally feeding on each other if fresh blood cannot be found. A large group of these ghouls know where Neville lives and on a nightly basis descend upon his barricaded home in an attempt to sieze him for their bloodlust.

By day, Neville roams the empty streets and neighbourhoods armed with stakes and garlic in an attempt to seek out the hiding places of these creatures and destroy them while they are docile. Matheson places us in the thoughts of his protagonist almost throughout his entire story and we become very acquainted with Neville through his hopes, fears, frustration and anger. The empty neighbourhoods and city, the desolated streets, shops and homes are described in a fashion that brings a stark melancholy and sense of global tragedy to the entire affair.

In offering but one character to follow, Matheson expertly plunges us into the lost and lonely universe that has become Robert Neville's world. He must survive......he must overcome.........and he must destroy as many of his tormentors as daylight will allow him. These extremes are counterbalanced by the mundane day to day things that Neville must also continue to do: the cooking, the cleaning, the trips out for supplies and provisions. Simple things like avoiding toothache and injury in the absence of medical assistance are also brought up and made as vital as the need to hunt the enemy.
In doing this, Matheson drags an extraordinary scenario into an identifiably ordinary and everyday realm and gives the story a realistic vitality that it's theme by all accounts has little right to enjoy. Though the book works well as a Vampire story, I personally like to view I AM LEGEND not literally as a tale of such creatures but that of a world catastrophe, where an unknown virus has reduced it's infected to a death-like state and left them with terrible cravings beyond their control. In this format, it is a tale far more credible than yet another of the legendary and much-popularized creatures of the night.

It is credit to Matheson however, that his story allows one to subscribe to either approach.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless masterpiece, 20 Sep 2012
This review is from: I Am Legend (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I Am Legend is my first venture into the SF Masterworks series, and is amongst my first foray into sci-fi. I felt compelled to read this as I love the movie, but I'd heard that the book is very different to the (underrated) Will Smith vehicle. I admit I wasn't really expecting much, I mean come on...this was written in 1954 right?

Wow, how wrong was I! I found the strangest thing reading I am Legend. Aside from some clearly dated references and "old fashioned" internal dialogue, this really could have been written last week. The writing has a quality that seems to transcend time, and within a few pages I'd forgotten that this is over 60 years old. Matheson's narrative is ruthlessly efficient and taut, and it feels as if not a single word is wasted. And even after all these years I got a sense of the hopelessness, the struggle of the main character and the absolute solitude that he has to deal with day after day after day.

It's this element, and the internal thought processes which are so effectively conveyed, that makes I Am Legend so absolutely compelling. By turns desperate, depressing, clever and uplifting, it's the definition of a writing masterclass. Even more of a revelation for me, though, was the story. It's completely different to the movie (regardless of which cut you watch), and I'm sitting here baffled as to why they changed it so completely for the screen. Whilst both good in their own right, the book is, in my opinion, far superior. And that ending! Wow.

I Am Legend isn't really sci-fi in the traditional sense but more of a thriller/horror. And even in 2012, it remains a relevant and superb piece of literature. If you've not read it, I urge you to do so. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The last man on Earth is not alone", 2 Jun 2012
By 
Tim (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I Am Legend (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
After reading the great reviews about this and being told time and again that it is nothing like the film, I was pleased to see that they are accurate. This is a tremendous book! a perfect blend of psychological horror and sci-fi and even after nearly 60 years it does not feel aged at all. It throws you completely into the mind and life of Robert Neville and provides genuine scares and delightful twists.

I found it very refreshing reading an old fashioned vampire novel, unlike the vampires depicted today that are near invincible, Matheson takes it back to their roots of garlic and cross-fearing. They still provide a very real threat and this is excellently portrayed through Neville's fear of them and being out after dark. I also appreciated the science that Matheson goes into to explain the vampires existence and weaknesses. It is all too easy to in sci-fi to leave out explanations of the supernatural, the science explored here grounds the novel in reality.

So much is explored in the relative short novel, Neville's coping of his day-to-day monotony and isolation, the loss of his friends and family, a brief glimpse at the beginning of the plague and the chaos that followed and much more.

A fantastic classic of the genre.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Am Legend - Kindle Edition, 26 April 2012
I am Legend the novel is far better than the film. It really was an absorbing, page-turning read with a much better ending. With respect to the Kindle edition I did not notice any typos, etc.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 227 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

I Am Legend (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
I Am Legend (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Richard Matheson (Paperback - 29 Mar 2010)
7.19
Usually dispatched within 6 to 10 days
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews