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.
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.
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.
I am an artist, living in Cairns, Queensland, Australia right next to the Great Barrier Reef. I listen to audiobooks everyday while making art and on into the night. I really like mysteries with a good serving of suspense on the side that keep you wondering right to the end. However, I won't say no to any entertaining and well written book which has been read by an excellent narrator.
Well it was OK and I sort of enjoyed it, but in the end I guess the story did not just come together enough for me and there was not enough detailing of situations and characters to make the implausible, plausible. For me, I give a book a 3 star rating when it's good, 4 stars for very good, and 5 stars for really excellent.
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.
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.
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.
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!
A lot of my audio rating depends on language- I prefer it clean- and this one does NOT measure the test. If you are on a trip with kids, this one is not for their ears.
I found the concept of the story very interesting, I enjoyed the characters and thought the plot moved at a pretty good pace for a thriller novel. The story could have benefited, I felt from a little more background into what was the cause of the 'brilliant' phenomenon.
The reader was good, but I did not care for his performance, chalk it up to personal preference.
This is not an audio I would listen to again.
The sci-fi premise of the book seemed promising: suddenly and with no apparent cause, people start being born who are off-the-charts brilliant at an astonishing rate. Think of it like the "autism epidemic" only with geniuses. At a very young age, the geniuses are taken away from their parents and put in boarding schools where they are placed in competition with one another (reminiscent of Ender's Game). They are taught not to trust other brilliants and to bond only to their teachers, who are not brilliants. These are really interesting ideas.
Unfortunately, the story is encumbered with a one-dimensional protagonist. The main character--a "Brilliant" who has chosen to use his special talents as a sort of special ops guy who tracks down other brilliants for the government--has just one reaction to everything. His special talent is to be able to read people's body language and know just what they are going to do next. This gives him a great advantage in a fight. His backstory adds in the tidbit that he was bullied on the playground when he was a kid. And there you have this "fascinating" (NOT) character whose only reaction to any given situation is to want to fight, hit, push, crush, and otherwise physically assault people. He has this reaction constantly, whether the person he is talking to is a threat or not. If your only tool is a hammer . . .
Other characters seem like they were cut-and-pasted from a bad detective noir novel. The protagonist's side-kick detective is also heavy with the street fighter mentality. Even the women in the book have an aggressive, male vibe--one of them says something like "Whose ball sack do I have to hold in order to get a drink around here?" No one talks like that. The constant aggressive nature of the protagonist and the terrible dialog was so off-putting that I only listened to about 1-1/2 hours of this novel.
That's too bad, because I liked the narrator. Luke Daniels did an amazing job switching voices for each character. He was equally good at doing the male and the female characters.
"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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