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Brilliance | [Marcus Sakey]

Brilliance

In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible. They’re called "brilliants," and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in.
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Publisher's Summary

In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called "brilliants," and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in - and betray his own kind.

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1626 )
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4.1 (1448 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Benjamin Silver Spring, MD, United States 03-26-14
    Benjamin Silver Spring, MD, United States 03-26-14 Member Since 2010

    Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Predictable Thriller"

    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.

    24 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew SEATTLE, WA, United States 11-15-13
    Matthew SEATTLE, WA, United States 11-15-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Don't outsmart yourself!"
    Where does Brilliance rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Brilliance to and why?

    Odds against tomorrow. Similar story of "different " people being trapped in society.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The resolution was fast moving and pretty action packed.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Being gifted isn't all good.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    29 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles TULSA, OK, United States 12-08-14
    Charles TULSA, OK, United States 12-08-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow to Start"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 07-22-13
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 07-22-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Glued from beginning to end"

    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.

    31 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 07-18-13
    Lisa 07-18-13

    I have always loved to read. Discovering audible has been great for a multitasker! Sorry for any misspells on reviews!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "excellent listen"

    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.

    26 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 08-02-13
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 08-02-13 Member Since 2011

    Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Wild Ride at Breakneck Speed"

    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!

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Clovis, CA, United States 09-18-13
    Douglas Clovis, CA, United States 09-18-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Excellent thriller"

    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.

    16 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Basehor, KS, United States 07-23-13
    Ron Basehor, KS, United States 07-23-13 Member Since 2009
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    "I am John Smith."

    When I first saw this book I thought the author's name looked familiar then it came to me he is the Host of Hidden City on the Travel Channel. I was also familiar with the narrator Luke Daniels for his work in The Iron Druid Chronicles so I figured I would give this book a try. This is the 1st book in a planed Trilogy with the next book planed to come out 6 months after Marcus Sakey finishes it... pretty vague I know. The film rights were bought by Legendary Pictures, you might recognize them for the Dark Knight series, Watchman and Inception movies. So we will soon see this book turned into a feature film, which explains a lot about the style of writing and the depth of characters. If you have ever read Michael Crichton books you will understand what I am talking about. The book was written to be a movie so the book to movie adaption would go smoothly.

    This story takes place in the same time period we currently live in but it follows an alternate time line. In this alternate time line there is an unexplainable increase in idiot savants, rather all the capabilities of savants without the downfalls. This group of people known as abnorms or twists are identified by the government and are forced to attend academy's as children where they are renamed and brainwashed. Any abnorms not controlled by the government are hunted down and killed by a government law enforcement agency that operates outside of the law, and with no regard to peoples civil liberty's under the pretense of protection. The main character Nick Cooper an agent tasked with hunting down abnorms begins to discover things aren't what they seem. We follow Cooper in his search for the truth.

    28 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian Frankston South, Australia 04-08-14
    Ian Frankston South, Australia 04-08-14 Member Since 2010

    Movie loving Brit living Down Under. Anything 'end of the world' themed usually gets my attention, but The Stand has yet to be beat.

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    "Just... Average"
    What would have made Brilliance better?

    An original idea.


    What was most disappointing about Marcus Sakey’s story?

    It was just so formulaic and predictable. Narration was a bit too 'trailer voice-over guy' to give the story any impact, which didn't help, but the characters are just paper-thin. There's treachery, but you see it coming. All is not what it seems, but you see it coming. It's a story that's been done many times and usually better than it's done here.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Luke Daniels’s performances?

    He's a good narrator in that he's clear and his voices are fairly distinct from one another, but he just can't wind in the 'square jawed hero' voice. Like I said, often his narration sounds like an audition for trailer voice-over work; it was a time of warrrrr.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Brilliance?

    Nothing, I just didn't click with the story. Some people probably will.


    Any additional comments?

    At least I listened to the entire story, so it couldn't have been that bad.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Plano, TX, United States 04-03-14
    Mary Plano, TX, United States 04-03-14 Member Since 2014

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Snoozer"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    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.


    What was most disappointing about Marcus Sakey’s story?

    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.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    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?


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Nope...shallow, immature writing style


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 70 results PREVIOUS127NEXT
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  • Matthew
    Dumbleton, United Kingdom
    12/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A really enjoyable read."
    If you could sum up Brilliance in three words, what would they be?

    Exciting, engrossing, enjoyable!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The plot and the characters. Pace.


    What about Luke Daniels’s performance did you like?

    Well read, good characterisation of the different characters.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend this book. Would love a sequel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nikola
    Slovenia
    9/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cathy
    Ilminster, United Kingdom
    8/3/13
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    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant Brilliance!"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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