Book Review

Let’s Get Strange

“Stranger Sins,” by Michaelbrent Collings (I Am Legion #4)

I was super excited for this book. Not only because Legion’s my favorite character of Mr. Collings’ (granted, I haven’t read ALL of his books–yet), but after the epilogue of Stranger Danger, I knew Legion was in serious trouble.

Series or Stand-Alone?

Do you need to read Strangers (#1), Stranger Still (#2), and Stranger Danger (#3)? (Amazon links)
The character backgrounds are explained enough that you can jump straight to this one. However, I’d highly recommend reading Stranger Still (#2 – which can stand alone) before jumping into Stranger Sins (#4), since the characters and events of book 2 are heavy players/influences of book 4.
Also, Stranger Still is such a fun horror, I recommend it anyway.
Here are my reviews for Stranger Still (#2) and Stranger Danger (#3).

What’s Happening?

To quickly summarize Legion’s character and what he’s done, here’s one of my favorite quotes:

Legion wears pain and terror like a well-worn coat, easily donned and doffed, useful and familiar, to the point that he has already relegated his wounds to the category of “discomforts to be ignored” in his mind, and will ignore them henceforth. He has battled entire gangs of white supremacists, Russian mafia kingpins, and corrupt cops. He has faced death countless times, and caused it even more often.
And yet never in his adult life does he remember feeling so ill-prepared or uncomfortable as he is in this moment, with this little girl staring at him with eyes full of hope and admiration.

Stranger Sins, by Michaelbrent Collings

So, there’s Legion who’s chaotic good (like Batman…if Batman hallucinated of his dead twin brothers), and he’s been caught unawares/abducted by Mother, who’s basically the queen of the criminal world with teams of people wrapped around her fingers. Legion makes a quick escape, but is severely injured and finds himself on the outskirts of Las Vegas (AKA: Sin City – hence the title, Stranger Sins).
Looking for a place to bandage himself (and maybe “teach” someone), he runs into a Pokémon-loving 9 year-old girl (currently named Lyra) and her mother (currently named Aubrey). “Aubrey” and “Lyra” have changed their names frequently while running from someone they call “the Wicked Witch” and “her flying monkeys.”
With Legion constantly on the verge of losing consciousness from blood-loss, he needs their help as much as they need his – especially when his insane father joins his crew of hallucinations.

Now that I reflect on it, one reason I enjoy this book and root for “Aubrey” is probably because she reminds me a lot of Pansy Finster (my main character of Don’t Date the Haunted). Like Pansy, “Aubrey” is a survivor who knows how to kick butt and is paranoid for good reasons. She’s also fiercely loyal, but has never been in love.

This book was particularly interesting to read directly after finishing King’s Dark Tidings: Dragons and Demons, by Kel Kade since Legion and Rezkin are comparable characters (chaotic good and raised without family love). In Stranger Sins and Dragons and Demons, these two insane fighters struggle to understand what it means to care about someone.
Legion’s story is less romantic than Rezkin’s, but more focused on familial love as the concept of “true family” is themed.


This book begins with a warning, saying “it’s not for the faint of heart.” If you’ve read the other Legion books, then you know to expect gory violence/torture and creepy sexual innuendoes.
In Stranger Sins, however, the innuendoes are partnered with straight up grotesque sex scenes. They aren’t as step-by-step graphic as Danielewski’s House of Leaves, but on the level with Michaelbrent’s Malignant (where the book is focused on the horrors of sexual abuse).
If you’re sensitive to on-screen sex scenes, then SKIP the chapters from Betty and Everly-Jensen’s perspectives. You won’t miss much. Everything important discussed by them is later revealed (and intensified) during the perspectives of the other characters.

About the Ending (Spoiler Free!)

Because this book is meant to stand mostly on its own (like the previous books of the series), it wraps up almost all of its conflicts. I say “almost” because (similar to Stranger Danger, #3) the epilogue of Stranger Sins (#4) includes a scene of “Uh oh–what about THIS?”

So, yes, it settles most of its issues, but this isn’t a series finale. We haven’t seen the last of Legion. (Yes!)

Final Rating

really enjoyed the turn around of Legion being on the run and facing his father while learning the love of a family. Really. Considering every book in this series, Legion’s character seemed to grow the most in this one.

But (and this is a big grotesque BUTT) Everly-Jensen’s and Betty’s perspectives were a bit too much for me. Unlike Malignant (which I loved), I didn’t see the purpose of Betty and Everly-Jensen’s graphic scenes. They didn’t necessarily detract from the story, but I didn’t think they added anything either.
I will happily re-read Stranger Sins over and over for all of the other elements of story and characters worthy of 5-stars, but because of the unnecessary scenes, it comes down to ****4.2 stars****.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

UPDATE: Yep, I read through it again without Betty’s and Everly-Jensen’s perspectives and enjoyed all of it. Sure, you might be a tiny-bit confused on some small parts, but skipping their scenes brings the vulgarity down to par with the other I Am Legion books (including detailed violence/torture and creepy innuendoes, but within PG-13 range).

Also, for the first time ever, I wrote fan fiction. I like to imagine what happens next in stories, and these characters made it way too fun. Since it occurs after Stranger Sins, I’ll post my Legion fan fic separately to avoid any spoilers here.

One reply on “Let’s Get Strange”

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