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
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 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.
I realize that this is not my kind of book - much action, not much character development, not much dialog. I like action and swift moving stories, but have to have a bit more than sequential acts to captivate my imagination.
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.
I love mysteries. I've read all Agatha Christie's and Mary Higgins Clark's books. I'm on the hunt for more great books with female heroines.
I would change all the immature references to female body parts. It sounds like it was written by a frustrated sex-a-holic who never got the girls. The author womanizes in his writing to take his frustrations out on physically beautiful and confident women. It's a subliminal theme throughout his writing. And, I personally don't care for the narrator's "Keanu Reeves-like" voice. But, I've never liked KR or his voice in films. That type of voice sounds like someone who is trying too hard to sound "tough." Not working.
Womanizing, "poor me" victim-like whining of the lead character who, naturally, would only have an EX-wife. I'm sure that this story does have an audience...maybe people who've been only labeled as "smart" all their lives. They'll connect with the idea of gifted people being victimized by all those big bad mean (popular) bullies.
I've trailed away through most of it. I love mystery and suspense but the main topic's of no interest to me. I foolishly thought other listeners' reviews were on target. My "least" favorite sentence in the book is when the lead character is just sure of the physical description of a female receptionist on the other end of the phone. Wa?
Nope...shallow, immature writing style
You get what you pay for, listeners...fair warning. On the other hand, all you "brilliants" who disagree with everything I've said above will dig the book. Go for it!
I have always loved to read. Discovering audible has been great for a multitasker! Sorry for any misspells on reviews!
This book is fiction but could be pulled from todays headlines or events from the past. Just substitute ab-normals for ? and normals for the general public. It shows how people can be lead to fear and hatred by a few who crave power. The use and success of the media to shape peoples views was a bit too realistic. It is a story of a man who believes he is fighting for whats right but then an event that strikes him close to his heart ( daughter) leads him down a path to discover and learn that everything he believed to be true was lies. I had thought the book would be a super hero type but the Brilliants (abnormals, twist) are just regular humans with an extraordinary ability of the mind that sets them apart. The story is full of action and never has a dull moment, I listened to it almost straight through. The narrator was great.
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.
Great story and really entertaining
Very cool take on humans gaining powers
The end was very satisfying
Yes Wish it was longer.
Hope there are more books coming in the series
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
I seem to be developing a taste for alternate reality books. First it was "The Handmaid's Tale, " which portrayed the area which had formerly been the USA after the overthrow of the government by members of an extreme right wing religious group and the subsequent oppression of women and all others except the male members of the group. Then it was the "Small Change " trilogy, which takes place in a 1940's England after a truce with Hitler leaves Hitler completely in control of continental Europe and England under similar control by the English aristocrats who engineered the truce, with similar oppression of Jews and gays.
Now, I have fallen under the spell of "Brilliance, " showing a United States in contemporary time with a whole new group being oppressed. This is a world in which, since 1980, 1% of the babies born in the world have exceptional, almost superhuman skills in limited fields. Other reviewers have discussed the plot ; I will just say that the principal character is one of those exceptional people -- a "Brilliant, " a "Twist," an "Abnormal." After spending his entire working life defending the country and the government that he believes in as an agent hunting Abnorm terrorists, certain events cause him to question the system and to see things that don't fit with what he has always believed.
This story is truly a thriller, which grabs you in the first five minutes and doesn't let go until the end, 12 hours later. The plot twists and turns, keeping you guessing clear up to the end. The only reason I didn't listen to the entire book in one sitting was that I had to get some sleep!
In addition to the excellent writing of Marcus Sakey, the narration by Luke Daniels was superb. Characters were easily distinguished from each other, and female voices were very believable.
This was one of my best reading experiences in some time. It's good to know that this is the first book of a trilogy. Can't wait to read the next one!
"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!
"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!
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