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Publisher's Summary

In I Am Legend, a plague has decimated the world, and those unfortunate enough to survive are transformed into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. Robert Neville is the last living man on earth. Every other man, woman, and child has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville's blood. By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive in a world of vampires?
©1954, 1982 by Richard Matheson (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the critics say

"One of the ten all-time best novels of vampirism." ( Fangoria)
"The most clever and riveting vampire novel since Dracula." (Dean Koontz)
"I think the author who influenced me most as a writer was Richard Matheson. Books like I Am Legend were an inspiration to me." (Stephen King)

What listeners say about I Am Legend

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent

If you saw the movie based (loosely) on this story, cool. Now forget that, because the story is way better. And way more sobering.

Robert Neville's journey is a long, lonely one, and also not a very hopeful one. The ending is unexpected, at least for me, but not unpleasant. It suits the feel of the story. I felt reminded of Stephen King as I listened.

The narration is excellent as well, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Robertson Dean's performance. There isn't a lot of conversational dialogue, so it stands out when there is, and is performed superbly.

Highly recommended for a quicker listen, and I will look for other titles by this narrator as well!

9 people found this helpful

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Wanted to like it more!

I was disappointed with this story. The performance was great and I am a fan of the genre. Yes I made the mistake of watching the movie years ago but only vaguely remembered how it ended. I enjoyed the journey of the story and the performance but when I reached the end it was so unsatisfying. It is a dark and lonely story, You have to take a lot for granted; his ability to fix the cars, maintain a generator to run a freezer etc. Anyone who has run a generator during a long power outage would recognize that as a monumental feat., Why had stuff not expired?, How was he able to consistently find and access stabilized gas. I did not understand his limited stockpile and use of available firearms. His choice to stay where he was for so long. Despite all that, I was drawn into Neville's world and felt for his loss. He should have been dead many times over but he was a survivor deliberately or not. The ending was (for me anyway) not consistent with the story. Perhaps it was inevitable but so unsatisfying. That said I want to go through it again to see what I may have missed and perhaps that will change how I feel about the story. Great performance.

1 person found this helpful

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Not as good as the movie

Admittedly it's not the same story as the movie. Other reviews had argued its better than the movie, so I gave it a shot. The story just wasn't that great. It's based when it was written, around the 50s, so there's some obvious differences but the ending just wasn't that interesting. Decent way to burn 5 hours, but still nothing to write home about.

1 person found this helpful

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great story

I never tire of reading or listening to this story. One of my favorite authors.

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Oh Boi, good stuff.

It's great. The narration is top notch. the pacings good, although the first half is mostly about recontextualizing the vampire myth, which has been done to death by now, so it's a bit boring.

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great listen

A perfect blend of old and new, it's a mash up of the horrors of myths and the struggles of science. well done

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😵

This book is definitely not like the movie and yet it was just as good. Great read for any post-apocalyptic reader! Why haven't I read this sooner?

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Not at all what I expected!

Neither in a good or bad way. I was expecting more "action", and so I was surprised the direction the story took. Some parts dragged on a bit.

I have never seen the movie with Will Smith but as I understand, the movie was very loosely based on the book. So I am interested to see where the movie takes this story line and will have to make the effort to try and watch it.

The narration was brilliant! He really brought the story to life! I will check out his other books he has narrated.

The biggest surprise for me was the ending!! I was like "That's the end!?!?!? It was such a short book, I thought the book was just getting into the guts of the story when it ended. I didn't realize it was under 6 hours. I liked it wasn't a typical happy happy joy joy ending. Some comments the author makes really made me think and allowed me to see a different point of view. I particularly liked the comment on normalcy! (About 3 minutes remaining on chapter 21, the final chapter)

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Really good - way different than the movie

It was great and I enjoyed how different it was from the movie. Honestly I wouldn’t k ow the two were related if it wasn’t for the name.

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  • Jeffrey veals
  • 2018-08-06

Richard Matheson is Ahead of his Time

HEADER: It seems that when I like a book, I get "helpful" votes and when I don't like a book, I get "not helpful" votes. I don't understand this and I never will, but just know that I'm not going to like every book you're going to like. Also, if you happen to love the book and I dislike it, that doesn't mean my review didn't help you. Did it not give you an alternate perspective? Thanks---J. Veals

Unfortunately, I saw the Will Smith version of this movie before I was able to listen to and read this book; however, I was able to separate the two and make it so this book was something completely different, despite enjoying the Will Smith version.

The story follows Richard Neville who barricades himself in his house each night when the blood-thirst, plagued group around his house, taunting Richard to let his guard down. During the day, he makes his way to infecteds' lairs and kills them in order to lower the population of the sick.

I'm not going to compare the movie to the book, but I am going to say that the title of the book and movie makes A LOT more sense in the novel. When I was watching the film, the 'I Am Legend' thing just was like an... "eh..." thing for me, but when I heard the last bit of the book, it was like "OHHHHH!!!!" Mr. Matheson is seriously one of my favorite sci-fi/horror authors of the time and currently, because his novels can stand up with today's scary books in so many ways. 'Hell House' is the other book by Mr. Matheson that makes me think of him as one of the GREATS!

So, I give the book a B+ in my grading scale and Robertson Dean, the narrator, was pretty good so I'll give him a solid B. It's definitely NOT THE MOVIE! So, even if you've watched 'I am Legend' with Will Smith, I'd suggest you listen or read this book. You can totally see how different the two really are!

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Steven Casper
  • 2008-01-24

Superb!

Like a lot of reviewers, I saw the movie before I ever heard of the book. In fact, I decided to read the book because I was hoping for some clarification about some concepts and ideas that the movie hinted at but didn't explain.

Rather than reading it, I bought it on Audible and let somebody else read it to me. From the start I knew this book was not going to be the movie. Neville was definitely not the same man in the book that Will Smith portrayed in the movie. A lot of the questions raised by the movie were not answered, though many others were.

I liked that Neville wasn't some super-hero action star in the book. He was a normal guy just trying to survive in a world that didn't want or need him anymore. He was intelligent and given to learning, but he was also very dark, depressed and lonely. I pictured a Steve Buscemi in the book far more than a Will Smith.

Rather than saying if you liked the movie you won't like the book, I'd rather say that if you liked the movie, you may also like the book, just don't expect it to be the same story. The movie is only very loosely based on the book.

One more thing, when I saw the movie I thought "wow, the infected people are kind of vampiric", but they never used the word vampire, rather calling them "dark-seekers". The book was very prolific in the use of the word vampire, and I loved the history of vampirism as explained in the book much much more than the reasons given (well, sort of given) in the movie.

Summary: Great fiction, great character development. Sometimes melodramatic narration (to be expected in an audio-only reading). Got a little long-winded and obscure during some of the exposition around the disease, and yet still intriguing to the curious mind. Over all, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anybody who can handle the darkness of a post-apocalyptic world where the protagonist is not an action-hero superstar!

211 people found this helpful

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  • Lore
  • 2020-01-01

Does this classic from 1954 still hold up?

I am Legend was published way back in 1954 and it has been brought to film twice, both times starring big name actors. The first time was in the 1971 film, The Omega Man, starring Charlton Heston, and then again in 2007 with the film, I am Legend, starring Will Smith. That is quite an interesting pedigree, but does the original story from over 60 years ago still hold up? It's is a horror story about the last man on Earth struggling to survive in an apocalyptic world set in the late 1970s. A plague has wiped out most people, except for Robert Neville, and the crazed infected lunatics that rule the streets after the sun goes down. Neville must take full advantage of the daylight to make sure he accomplishes all required survival tasks in order for him to get through the night. Day by day this is a never ending struggle for survival and Robert is no longer sure he can continue to win it...

If you have seen the 2007 movie of the same name then you should know that this book shares little in common with that film, so that means you can still experience this book without the plot being spoiled. Although it was written more than half a century ago I would say that it has held up pretty well and it is clear to see how this book inspired many other authors to write their own apocalyptic tales. Is it the best end of the world story ever written? Far from it, but it is still worth experiencing just for the influence it has had on the genre that it helped create. Robertson Dean does the narration and just like the story, his performance is adequate, but not great.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2016-04-25

ROBERT NEVILLE, THE LAST OF THE OLD RACE

THE HABIT OF LIVING
Written in 1954, this book stands the test of time. Course if written today, the vampires would be Zombies. At least two movies have been made of this, but neither followed the book totally. The movies are good and the book is good. While this is a Horror, it is also Science Fiction. The book is entertaining and thought provoking. I highly recommend it. The narrator is excellent.

119 people found this helpful

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  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 2017-12-21

Sci-fi horror classic

Richard Matherson's I Am Legend is a classic from the 1950's that reads almost as well today as it did when originally released. Only one man appears to have survived a plague that turns humans into vampire-like creatures, only coming out at night, seeking him out. Without any superhuman abilities, he manages to organize himself for survival as well as some rudimentary investigation into the cause.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the sci-fi elements is that in the 1950's, the widespread introduction of antibiotics into medical practice hinted at the possibility of conquering all bacterial infections. And so Materson postulated a bacterial infection that was incurable with a spore phase for efficient spread. His suggestion of Darwinian evolution driving humanity's extinction, only to be replaced by something else is somewhat unique for the time. Although contemporary writings would insert zombies instead of vampires, the various scientific explanations for vampiric behaviors is noteworthy.

The narration is quite well done and expertly shifts in sync with the nearly bipolar attitude displayed throughout. Pacing is on target, making for a quick listen.

12 people found this helpful

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  • finhead
  • 2007-10-15

five star book!

This is really a fantastic book. None of the movies based on it really do it justice. This is a very intimate telling of one man's experience with the end of civilization as he knows it. Movie adaptations always have to add more action or add new elements. What makes this novel so remarkable and memorable, however, is just how intimate the story telling is and how much I find myself caring about Robert Neville's character.

It's particularly remarkable to me how well this story holds up considering it was written in 1954. It is written in such a way as to have very, very few aspects that date the story. It is just as easy to visualize the story as happening today as I believe it would have been 50 or 60 years ago.

It is, in my opinion, a very intelligent and smartly written book and I'd recommend it wholeheartedly. The narrator is a perfect match for the material as well! I'd give it more stars if I could!

76 people found this helpful

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  • Avery
  • 2020-07-31

"Did not age well, very much a product of its time"

Narrator was great, though the book is definitely discriminatory and sexist; it is VERY cringey.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Reno
  • 2017-12-09

u r kiddding me!!! way better than the film...lol

Cliche' I know but its just an COMPLETELY DIFFERENT story all together so wen i say, "the book was better" Im referring to the actual story(plot, characters, ending etc) being a better one. Recommendation affirmative!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Calliope
  • 2018-03-11

Better than I expected, but dated.

Very different and much better than the movie, in that there are actual ideas and philosophical thinking in this story of a plague survivor in a world of vampires. Also, now the title makes sense - something that wasn't really clear in the movie. Actually, even though it's quite dated, especially with gender roles and expectations, it makes a lot more sense and is more interesting.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Judy
  • 2017-11-07

Classic

An intense, thought-provoking look at one man's struggle to survive in a world where all the rules have been irrevocably changed.

Like Gulliver's Travels, this story can be read on more than one level. As Robert Neville plans his existence around the physical requirements of his new reality, we are absorbed by the bleakness of his outlook, caught up in his carefully planned accommodations of a new world order.

On another level, we feel the loneliness of Everyman as he makes his way through life, surrounded by people, buffeted by circumstance, struggling always to be true to his core principles, whatever they might be.

Robertson Dean's narration is superb,

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-07-30

Matheson masterpiece

A great story about the last man alive. You can feel the loneliness of the character. Moments in this book will make you cry while others will scare you to death.
Highly recommend