Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Book Review: Legion by William Peter Blatty

A young boy is found murdered and crucified on a pair of rowing oars, a priest is decapitated in his confessional box... Mutilations performed at these crime scenes suggest a serial killer from years before, who had been previously shot and presumed dead (although the body had never been recovered). A police detective, Lieutenant Kinderman, investigates these crimes and ends up visiting a mental asylum, where there are a couple of possible suspects and some connections to the exorcism of a certain Regan MacNeil began to form...

"Every man that ever lived craved perfect happiness, the detective poignantly reflected. But how can we have it when we know we're going to die? Each joy was clouded by the knowledge it would end. And so nature had implanted in us a desire for something unattainable? No. It couldn't be. It makes no sense. Why this exception? the detective reasoned. It was nature making hunger when there wasn't any food. We continue. We go on. Thus death proved life."

First of all, William Peter Blatty is now one of my favourite authors. The Exorcist is probably my favourite horror movie of all time (alongside The Evil Dead and Sinister) and is also one of my top books. So when my buddy Cam (Instagram handle is @skipbassman - you should follow him, cos he's awesome) told me that I should read these other Blatty books, I was on board! I've noticed that an underlying theme of all these Blatty books has been good vs evil, the presence (or absence) of God, and what this means for humanity. This is a topic that I've always found very intriguing and one that I probably think a lot about myself. I guess such a topic isn't for everyone, but you can enjoy both The Exorcist and Legion even if that's not your style.

Having previously watched The Exorcist 3 and having LOVED it, I went into this book with a general idea of what I was getting into (The Exorcist 3 is, of course, based on Legion), but that in no way dampened my reading experience. Blatty's writing style is effortless, easy to read, but it packs a punch. He likes to make you think. As someone who loves serial killers and murder mysteries, the storyline of Legion was a page-turner for me. He writes with such wit and humour, Blatty has such an intelligent and unique voice. And Kinderman himself... *slow claps* great character. Just generally likeable and he's really cute with his wife, which warms this girl's black heart.

The links and tie-ins to The Exorcist were pretty great, it makes me want to reread that one again. But on its own, as a standalone novel, Legion is brilliant. I'm struggling to think of a negative about this novel... the only thing that comes to mind is a couple of dream sequences involving Kinderman, but as a general rule of thumb, dream sequences annoy me. I get what they're trying to convey but often it feels like wasted pages to me. I looked at other reviews on Goodreads, which I always do when I finish a book, and one of the major complaints was that it wasn't scary. WELL, sorry that Blatty can deliver something other than horror!!! *severe eye roll* I hate when people go into a book by an author they've read before, expecting more of the same... NO, that's not how it works. That's like listening to a band and expecting the same song over and over again... DUMB DUMB.

Anyway, this girl is now a big fan of William Peter Blatty, and I'm now on the lookout for some more of his books. Legion gets 5 stars out of 5 from me! July was an epic reading month!


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