Book Review – Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

Review of: Brilliance
Author:
Marcus Sakey
Price:
$4.99

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On 2013-11-09
Last modified:2013-11-09

Summary:

Given that the premise of the book wasn't anything terribly original, what I enjoyed about it was the main character's journey through trying to work out which side of the conflict he should be on.

Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

The blurb says:

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.

I usually have low expectations for books I get from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library but the last few have been very good, and this book is no exception.

I don’t usually comment on the covers of books, but the big quote on the  cover is kind of off-putting.

This book is another story like X-Men or Alphas that uses a sci-fi concept as a stand-in for prejudice against a people group (e.g. homosexuality) but it skips over the usual puberty aspect.  Since this has been done lots of times before, this aspect of the book isn’t groundbreaking.

There are pretty obvious references to 9/11 and the US’ corresponding civil liberty restricting reaction to it.  I was confused that nobody in the book made the connection, until I realized that in the book the “brilliants” appeared in the 80’s, so the book is actually an alternate history where 9/11 never happened.  In the book, prejudice against the brilliants replaced all other kinds of prejudice (and all other problems) so that there are no middle-eastern terrorists etc., which I found unlikely – adding another problem doesn’t solve existing problems.

The book is set in the US and there is no mention of the reaction to brilliants in other countries, which was a bit disappointing.  The appearance of brilliants would have a huge effect on international relations, but this isn’t addressed at all.

Given that the premise of the book wasn’t anything terribly original, what I enjoyed about it was the main character’s journey through trying to work out which side of the conflict he should be on.

Apparently this is the first book in a trilogy, but the plot arc is just about perfect for a stand-alone book so I only have positive feelings about there being more story in the same universe.