Sunday, September 14, 2014

G398 Book Review of Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

Name of Book: Brilliance

Author: Marcus Sakey

ISBN: 9781611099690

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Part of a Series: A Better World is the sequel

Type of book: Speculative fiction, gifted vs average, hiding out, government, 2000s, alternative reality, academies, protection, friendship, action, thievery, motives, game of chess

Year it was published: 2013


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.


The main character is Nick Cooper, an agent that hunts out his own kind and often exterminates them. He is fair, obeys the rules and orders and is very dedicated to family and career. Despite the background, I didn't really feel as if I got into his thoughts and what he thought. The story is more of a movie in my view. There is also Shannon, a talented and gifted woman who has some questionable motives towards Cooper and also willing to do whatever she can. The antagonist, John Smith is also fascinating in his own way and I do wish that I'd see more of Cooper and John Smith matching wits. The part about Epstein, I couldn't help but wonder if he is based on facebook creator? At this point I wonder who is based on those who have Asperger's in real world?


Things are not what they seem


The story is written in third person narrative from Nick Cooper's point of view and its a very action oriented point of view. The story also seems believable, and I like that the gifts the people have don't border on the super-hero mode but instead they are more extended than those of normals. (For example, Nick has an amazing ability to read body language in tiniest muscles, and Shannon has an amazing ability to blend in with shadows.) Also dialogue and action are very strong strengths in the story and kept my attention on what should happen next.

Author Information:
(From the email)

Marcus Sakey's thrillers have been nominated for more than fifteen awards, named New York Times Editor's Picks, and selected among Esquire's Top 5 Books of The Year. His novels Good People and Brilliance are both in development as feature films. Marcus is also the host of the acclaimed television show "Hidden City" on Travel Channel, for which he is routinely pepper-sprayed and attacked by dogs. Prior to writing, he worked as a landscaper, a theatrical carpenter, a 3D animator, a woefully unprepared movie reviewer, a tutor, and a graphic designer who couldn't draw. Marcus lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.


What an amazing and addictive read. The pages literally flew out of my hands as I wanted to know what happens next and yeah, I barely noticed how many chapters I've passed through as I kept on reading and reading it. I kind of thought that the characters would be autistic like, and that they would come with the weaknesses, but they had the strengths and no weaknesses, or so it seemed. Something else that is a bit unique about the book is introduction to some ideas, technology and people that are in the world, which means the reader isn't in the dark. I do admit that towards the end it becomes a bit predictable, but prior to that, non-stop roller coaster ride. I also think that there is some depth in the story, but its not as much as I would have liked.

Thanks to! 

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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