From Marcus Sakey, "a modern master of suspense" (Chicago Sun-Times) and "one of our best storytellers" (Michael Connelly), comes an adventure that’s at once breakneck thriller and shrewd social commentary; a gripping tale of a world fundamentally different and yet horrifyingly similar to our own, where being born gifted can be a terrible curse.
©2013 Marcus Sakey (P)2013 Brilliance Audio
I had to give this book the full "listen for 2 hours, then decide" treatment. I'm very glad I did. What started out as a really predictable and, if I'm being honest, boring intro filled with forced scenes turned into an extremely engaging listen. As the story progressed, it didn't become less predictable, but the writing and storyline significantly improved. Fast paced and entertaining.
As most good sic-fi/alternate reality books go, this is easily read as an allegory. I am quite sure that is intentional.
Worth a listen, without question.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
I generally liked this book. It was well characterized and read by Daniels. It has good pacing, some pretty exciting events, and a good premise. It is easy to follow. The dialogue is not bad and the characters are interesting. The plot twists are a bit weak and predictable, but forgivable. Readers of Larry Correia's Grimnoir Chronicles will recognize the superhumans-among-us, alternate history, premise.
The major problem, and it is a big one, is the inconsistency of the fictional science. Sakey gives some of his characters superhuman powers of perception. For example, the main character can tell what people are thinking, whether they are lying, and predict what people will do next because of his incredible ability to perceive patterns in their behavior. This is what makes him such a good cop. Sakey makes special mention, numerous times, that he cannot turn his abilities off. That is all well and good until you learn that many characters in the book are lying to him at will.
I won't spoil the book. It's a thriller, readers should expect plot twists. The problem is the main character's powers. He basically loses his ability when it is convenient to setting up a plot twist. It's just shoddy writing. The main character can tell where you're going to retire by the way you hold your salad fork, but he can't perceive a conspiracy that has been sitting in front of his face for years. A guy who can tell what people are thinking and what they are going to do should not be surprised as often as this guy is. Fix that and the book would be a lot better.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
but then Brilliance becomes interesting. Overall the book is quite good. This is not your usual thriller; indeed, it is different concept from any other book I have read.
The narration is excellent.
Recommended with reservations due to the slow start and the excessive wordiness of the author in the first half of the book. I came very close to giving up, but am happy I did not.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
Marcus Slakey knew he was entering a crowded field with Brilliance. Asked about the obvious parallel to X-Men, he said he wanted to write about real people with special abilities. Never mind Heroes, The 4400, The Magicians, Harry Potter, I Am Number Four etc. etc. etc. (look up superpowers on Goodreads, the lists are hundreds of titles long). So you can't fault him for trying something that's been done umpteen times before -- he's hardly the only one.
Lack of originality is the least of Slakey's problems. Familiar constructs can still be fresh in characterization, dialogue, humor, world building, symbolism, subtext, and other literary devices. For Slakey, none of those elements ever rises above cliche. The plot is familiar and predictable, the dialogue laughably trite, the characters straight from central casting -- the two main characters even discuss getting to know more about each other beyond the one-dimensional reputations that preceded them. Humorless agent? I also love hot sauce, dance badly, can quote Hemingway. Fanatical terrorist? I now know a few things about you too (unspecified). Nothing like demonstrating to your readers via dialogue how badly constructed your characters are.
Then there are the superhuman abilities some people have, including our protagonist. Too bad his ability fails him so often, for no reason other than, well, the ability failing him for no reason. Not much of an ability after all. How are we tp believe these people are dangerous when their batting averages are below the Mendoza line?
Making matters worse: Luke Daniels. I've listened to him a half dozen times or so. His over the top voices can't totally ruin a good book. But they can make an average book not worth the listen. And they can only make a mediocre paint-by-numbers book like this worse. My wife likes to say you can deep-fry cardboard and it would taste good -- not even the best narrator could make these cardboard characters palatable, and Luke Daniels is not even close. Needless to say, the remainder of this trilogy will remain unread by me.
Top 15 easily. ( I listen to a book every couple of weeks, and have done so for years, so getting a top 10 slot is difficult.)
This is a powerful book and is well worth the credits ( and the stellar reviews ).
Be warned however, that this book clearly is the beginning of a series ( not surprisingly I suppose ) bu that was not evident until far into it.
Odds against tomorrow. Similar story of "different " people being trapped in society.
The resolution was fast moving and pretty action packed.
Being gifted isn't all good.
The consensus reviews on this book are compelling,and it does live up to those high standards. I recommend this book highly, with the provisio that the resolution is not neat or pretty, but it's still worth the credit.
A fun listen.
Great main character is a sort of mutant (a "brilliant") in an alternate reality to ours (where gifted mutants have been showing up for a few decades and scaring the "normal" population with feelings of irrelevance and, well, overtake). Our hero works for the "norms," hunting the "terrorist" elements among his own kind....UNTIL. And that's where the story begins. Who's telling the truth? Who's lying. Our guy (whose "gift" allows him to "read" others like a book) is all of a sudden doubting things he's been taking for granted. Lots of twists and turns (a few, well, not totally explained). Great characters.
I have to admit I could not stop listening. Finished it in two days.
My first novel from this author and it won't be the last. Happy to see there are previous novels at my disposal.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
I just could not get into this. I have read it is a slow start and gets better and of course the usual suspects love it. For my credit I want a book that is good from start to finish. The concept is fairly cool, although it has been done before. You would think that having an increase in brilliant people would be good for us, but suppose you had just an above average intelligence, worked your way through college and grad school, got good grades, but could not get a job in your field, because of these people who were born brilliant. You can see how these people would be hated.
I have always liked Luke Daniels work.
ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance
This 'makes ya think' novel is not really in the dystopian future genre but rather in a different future - a future wherein a very small percentage of babies are born with "Brilliance" of some sort. Different abilities of all types bring conflict with the "normals" who are feeling like they haven't a chance to compete. After all if a B-Ball player can make a 3 point shot every time he gets the ball how does a regular tall guy with normal skills-or even Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson or Larry Bird skills compete?
According to the story, they can't..and thats just the start. Starting in 1980, 1% of all children are born this way..from musical to mathematical to data analysis or the ability to sense what people see and just not be there-to be invisible.
could be threatening?
The first of a trilogy, the main protagonist is part of an organization that was developed to control and guide the "abnormals" but things go awry.
Narrated by one of the best readers around, Luke Daniels and written by Marcus Sakey who is a new author to me I basically got this book because I enjoy hearing Daniels voice when I'm going to sleep..yep..Luke Daniels voice lulls me to sleep. However I found myself pulled into the plot and staying awake to listen.
Well worth the credit, the 2nd volume is available now and the ending book will be out January 2016..I've already ordered it!
Highly recommended for the person who enjoys a bit of a difference in sci/fi..future stories.
Science writer in America's heartland
It's my understanding that this book may be made into a movie. If so, it won't require much editing to turn it from a book into a script. The plot is predictable, as some other reviewers have said, but if it came out as an action movie, I would definitely go see it.
Not really a science fiction story as much as a thriller set in 2013 in a slightly altered world where 10 percent of the children are born with "abnormal" gifts. Great story with interesting characters, unexpected plot twists, and good plot movement. Well-read by Luke Daniels. I enjoyed this book and hope Sakey and Daniels team up for some more.
It was difficult to get into but then it held my attention, I love it.
"Great book that draws you in"
I would recommend this audiobook, it's a well constructed world that gives a new take on ordinary superpowers, it builds a vivid picture of society slowly collapsing in on itself. With twists and turns abound I was hooked and had to stay in the car just to listen a little longer!
Roll on book 2!
"A really enjoyable read."
Exciting, engrossing, enjoyable!
The plot and the characters. Pace.
Well read, good characterisation of the different characters.
It was a really exciting book, great plot, good idea, and read and written at a good pace. The concept is believable, and is presented in a good manner.
I would recommend this book. Would love a sequel.
"Interesting premise, could be developed further"
Action sci-fi thriller which wants to be a Hollywood movie. Interesting premise - from 1981 on, 1% of children are born with special powers. Not really super-powers like flying, bending spoons, but with extreme pattern recognitions and similar. They are known as "Brilliants" and as they grow up, they start changing the world. American society is polarised and split into normals and "abnorms".
Story will probably evolve into followups - in this one, we follow Agent Cooper fighting against "abnorm terrorists" (being abnorm himself). Story is interesting and tense, with some unexpected but also some very expected twists. However, I think author did not manage to use idea's full potential. Action sequences are interesting and characters well built, but as I see it, story is basically taken from Al-Qaida attack on WTC and then continued on basis of many conspiracy theories evolving after.
Besides that, I would have liked to hear more about the impact on the world - authors focuses on America, and rarely spreads focus out of his main characters.
This book dives headlong into a very fast paced story with lots of suspense, thrills and action. I like Nick Cooper's character and the way he develops throughout the story, the conflict he feels because he himself is a brilliant yet his job is to pursue them. And then everything is turned completely upside down and Nick doesn't know truth from lies or who he can trust. A gripping plot, which is also very thought provoking, and a nail biting conclusion, along with a first rate narrator. Really glad there will be more!
"Good story, great narrator"
Some great ideas in the story, which was recommended to me. the best performance of any narrator I've heard to date
Ok story , happy with the narrator. Because of the special powers people had I felt that they were adapted to the story as it went along. Predictable because using his children's safety against him, falling for the girl, his boss.not being the person he thought he was.... not much originality.
"The X-Man in the High Castle"
Much better than a comic book, here we have a parallel world – set in present day but where history took a different turn back in the 1980’s. The different turn was the result of “Brilliants” starting to be born. These are children with exceptional abilities, such as a massively enhanced ability to read people’s body language. I found this level of talent weirdly credible, unlike the silliness of X-Men or superheroes. The book is written and read with pace, reminiscent of books by Matthew Reilly. All in all, I was very happy to swept along by an excellent audio-equivalent of a great page-turner. Great fun and I look forward to listening to the others in the series.
"Very thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi"
I can put this book down so to speak I do listening to it in the car at the office before bedtime is outstanding very futuristic very creative!
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