I am Legend – Richard Matheson

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At University I had a bit of a reputation for reading vampire novels, and I am not sure why. Potentially because of my love for ‘Interview with the Vampire’, and ‘The Vampire Lestat’. Books which I have not read for years, although, this year I am allowing myself to re-read books, so I may swing back around, but it was because of this nostalgia, that when I came across this book in the charity shop for 50p, published by my favourite publishers, I figured why not.

I am really glad I did, as although the book is an older novel, it is a refreshing look at the tradition of vampire novels and takes an interesting approach.

The premise is a man is trapped in his house, the lone survivor of humanity in a world full of vampires, and he is trying to survive. As I started reading it, I wondered how this book could remain interesting over 160 pages and so, but it really does. The book pulled me in and kept me engrossed through the constant difficulties the protagonist faces.

Sometimes I find with books, that the author takes the whole pushing the character to extremes through a series of gruelling set or circumstances too far. That it can feel forced, unnatural and makes for grim reading, but when it is done well, as it was here, it is fantastic to read. The character felt real (although a bit dated and sexist – both in terms of the masculine portrayal of the man, but also how the man reacted towards women), a person struggling with their own demons in a world filled with literal demons.

The approach taken to the vampire genre here is scientific (literally), which made it a far more interesting read than many other vampire novels and the ending was perfect. Would definitely recommend.