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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Pam
  • United States
  • 04-23-15

Written like a movie script

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.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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disliked

the concept could have been alright but the narration ruined it. its like a preteen comic book. on second thought the concept wasnt that great either...

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • BJ
  • Emerald Isle, NC, United States
  • 01-31-16

All Action, no character developement.

When a story is all action with no character development, who cares who wins or looses?
The idea is original and could have been very interesting and fun, but the author went straight to dire and death before we got to know anyone. Maybe he backflashes later. I don't know. I quit reading/listening after 2 hours.
I'm sad because I was hoping to discover a new series.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Not Very...Brilliant

This book is about genetically mutated people who have particular individual skills far and above the normal humans. Our hero has just a little bit better intuition. I liked the setup and the ideas of what might happen in an alternate universe with just a few "brilliant" individuals. After reading/listening for five hours, I gave it up--cut my losses...just not very interesting and did not make me want to avoid other things to keep reading. The "brilliants" did not display their super powers very much and it became just like another shoot-em-up cop saves the world. The plot is evident and the ending predisposed about a third or the way through it. Much potential, not demonstrated. I'll take the Brilliance series off my list.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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X-Men Diet

It's like an X-Men history where the powers people have are very less impressive than the ones in the comics and movies.

One thing that bothered me is that is not clear what separates the "brilliants" (people with talents in the book universe) from normal but intelligent people or intuitive people. Since the superpowers in question are very underwhelming, it is not clear to me how the brilliants are spotted. The only explanation given is that there is a test. People that score too high are mutants, sorry brilliants, and committed to government institutions until adulthood.

The other point that bothered me in the book is that the reaction from USA government from the terrorist that marks the rupture between normal humans and brilliants is way over the top.

Imagine that on the follow-up of 11/9 the government sent all Islamic Children to be educated as Christians and receive Western names. Is more or less what happened in the book in response to a much less dramatic terrorist strike.

Besides that, the book is not as surprising as the cover suggests. If you have some knowledge of the X-Men or similar stories, it is very predictable.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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ponderously slow and dull,

the premise was good, characters flat, more than 6 hours into it, I gave up, doubtful finishing it would have improved my review.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • T. Lott
  • Greenville, NC United States
  • 12-20-14

Slogged through....

I struggled with this one. Interesting concept, but this book could have been edited down to half the time and it would have been tighter. Sometimes it seemed that not much was happening and I was waiting to get to the next "good part". Well, the dirty deed is done. I finished it.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Dubi
  • New York, NY
  • 02-02-16

Limited Abilities

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.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Can't anyone write without cursing?

Don't bother to listen to this book if you don't want to hear cursing. The story was interesting, but it lost my desire after hearing so much profanity.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Benjamin
  • Silver Spring, MD, United States
  • 03-26-14

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.

56 of 61 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-06-15

Surprising

It was difficult to get into but then it held my attention, I love it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rupert
  • 07-22-15

Great book that draws you in

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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!

Any additional comments?

Roll on book 2!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 12-12-13

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nikola
  • 09-12-13

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • CathyR
  • 08-03-13

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Pamela
  • 10-18-17

Good easy read

Narration was very good and the story was interesting. I’m looking forward to the next book!

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  • jo o.
  • 07-12-17

Entertaining but predictable

I'm in now way saying this is a bad book but there really isn't anything new in it. There are so many films like Scanners or X-men that have coverd this concept.

it's fun and entertaining enough but it lacks originality.

I enjoyed the writing style and the narration was great. if you like conspiracy and intrigue you will enjoy this book

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  • krazyllama
  • 01-23-17

Really good listen! Good story excellent narration

Really good listen! Good story excellent narration. High recommend. . . . . . . .





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  • Sam
  • 07-18-16

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

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  • Julie
  • 06-11-16

pedictable

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.

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  • Pamala Barnett
  • 09-10-17

loved every minute

Excellent read. Narrator's voice shows the right emotion and allows you to hear and see each inflection and action. Great storyline.

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  • Tamara
  • 06-22-17

Concept akin to TV series Heros but no superpowers

Apart from the similarity, the story stood alone and I'm looking forward to the next book. Fast paced with great character development.