Brilliance is based on the premise that inexplicably, around 1980, 1% of newborns had above average talents. These gifts were evident from the mid-80s, and as the kids grew up and their above average intelligence became more apparent and began to have a larger effect on the world, tensions began to arise between Normals and the Gifted.
Cooper works for the department of Equitable Services, which is tasked in finding those who are gifted and using their talents to gain heavily from a deck already stacked in their favor. Cooper himself is gifted with the ability to read body language and uses that to tell when people are lying or to predict their actions.
The story takes place around press t day, so the oldest gifted are around 32 years old and many of them see the government as persecuting them and treating them as less than normal in order to quell their talents. Already there is mandatory testing for all children by 8 years of age and the gifted are separated from their family until 18 where they are manipulated to be against each other. The reasoning for this is that if the gifted do not trust each other, then they won't band together to make normal humanity their slaves.
Currently Cooper is on the hunt for a gifted named John Smith who is an activist for the gifted's civil rights. In John Smiths efforts to make political stances he has been labeled as a domestic terrorist.
After Cooper was unable to stop a bomb going off that killed over 1000 people, he volunteers to go deep undercover to try to get to John Smith himself and kill him. He is aware that there is a mole in the government so only his boss knows he is undercover, and as a result the bombing is blamed on Cooper and he is labeled a rogue agent so he can gain John Smith's attention and try to get his trust.
The story unfolds from there, and is really great to listen to. It is not too demanding on your attention, either. I normally listen to audiobooks when I'm playing a game on my iphone or exercising, so I need a book that is not hard to follow.
This books was fast-paced, exciting, suspenseful, and at times, funny. The performer did a great job in giving all the characters their own voice. I am continuously pleasantly surprised at the quality of the readers on many audible books.
I am finding more and more that while I am not much of a fan of action movies, I do like to read/listen to action/suspense books. This is because the author is forced to make all the actions believable in a way that doesn't distract you from the story the way a special effect in a movie can take you out of the moment.
The plot itself is new and interesting, so it is not a story that I feel like I've heard before. The themes are touching on civil rights and how those in power try to keep themselves in power, but there was one thing that I kept thinking that lingered in the back of my mind: don't we already have an elite 1% with advantages disproportionate with the rest of society?
I kept comparing The Gifted vs Normals struggle in the story with the top 1% income earners vs the occupy Wall Street/99%-ers that played out over the last couple of years. While in real life these 1%-ers don't have brilliant minds like in the story, they have access to power, privilege, and other advantages that put them well ahead of everyone else to be successful, rich, and powerful. I am not going to weigh in on the issue, but I feel like it would be an interesting English paper topic to discuss, and it was something that kept coming through my mind when listening.
Overall I recommend this if you like action or thriller books. Though its more action than thriller or suspense.
I really got into the characters of this story. I would like to see a sequel for this. It could really be enlarged upon.
The author and narrator did a great job of sucking me into the universe and I didn't want it to end.
I can't really think of one memorable moment, I loved the whole thing.
Luke Daniels is one of my favorite narrators.
If I could have I would have sat on the couch and listened to this book all at once.
Everyone should give this book a try.