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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 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,570
  • 4 Stars
    2,124
  • 3 Stars
    722
  • 2 Stars
    139
  • 1 Stars
    97

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    2,885
  • 4 Stars
    1,513
  • 3 Stars
    497
  • 2 Stars
    96
  • 1 Stars
    70

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,309
  • 4 Stars
    1,807
  • 3 Stars
    710
  • 2 Stars
    157
  • 1 Stars
    88
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Tania
  • Papamoa, New Zealand
  • 10-20-13

Overly simplistic characters

What did you like best about Brilliance? What did you like least?

Slow starting but started to enjoy it after a while. Didn't like the main character much - why would he think his child should escape testing when no one else's does? Once I got past the pretty stereotypical characters, I enjoyed it more.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Reginald Hill

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance was good. I don't think I would have finished it without the narrator

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

I would get it out on DVD not pay to see it in a movie theatre

Any additional comments?

Social media and the internet aren't mentioned so probably don't exist but I couldn't see how the official versions of events weren't counter-acted anywhere. Surely any brilliant strategiest would use media outlets (even international ones) to release different versions of events and perhaps those media would interview witnesses whose stories conflict with official versions? Pretty big weakness in the story I reckon.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • cristina
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 07-22-13

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.

37 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

WHOSE NUT SACK DOES SHE NEED TO GARGLE

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.

40 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Janie
  • CAIRNS, Australia
  • 10-12-13

Brilliance not brilliant!

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.

19 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

19 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Entertaining

What did you love best about Brilliance?

Great story and really entertaining

What did you like best about this story?

Very cool take on humans gaining powers

Which scene was your favorite?

The end was very satisfying

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes Wish it was longer.

Any additional comments?

Hope there are more books coming in the series

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nancy J
  • Tornado Alley OK
  • 08-02-13

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!

15 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

28 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Could not get into it.

What would have made Brilliance better?

Sounded like just the thing I like, but irritating instead.

Would you ever listen to anything by Marcus Sakey again?

No

Have you listened to any of Luke Daniels’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Narrator was fine

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

Mental child abuse

Any additional comments?

a real disappointment

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Excellent book, worth a read with one exception...

The reason i gave the story 3 stars...there is an academy for children in the book, the treatment of the children is evil and made me want to vomit, i was beyond disturbed to red hot anger.
On balance the book is good, other than the obvious i enjoyed it. Perhaps i'm a little over sensitive where child abuse is concerned and if you are like me in that prepare yourself or skip the book.
The book was great and didn't need the added drama of abuse to entertain or add to the drama. It was simply gratuitous, in my opinion.

28 of 41 people found this review helpful