• Brilliance

  • By: Marcus Sakey
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (6,640 ratings)

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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 listeners say about Brilliance

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

60 people found this helpful

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I am John Smith.

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.

45 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Don't outsmart yourself!

Where does Brilliance rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

What other book might you compare Brilliance to and why?

Odds against tomorrow. Similar story of "different " people being trapped in society.

Which scene was your favorite?

The resolution was fast moving and pretty action packed.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Being gifted isn't all good.

Any additional comments?

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.

36 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

31 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

30 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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    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 people found this 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...

27 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JChatwin
  • 10-06-15

Surprising

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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr. JP
  • 07-29-15

Very thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi

I can put this book down so to speak I do listening to it in the car at the office before bedtime is outstanding very futuristic very creative!

1 person found this 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 person found this 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 person found this 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 person found this 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 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • ericasharlette
  • 03-20-21

Great Listen

If you can get past the oddity of Luke Daniels' many vocal characters, then you're on your way to hearing a really engrossing storyline that is actually really interesting. Can't wait to start Book 2!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-27-19

Different people different voices!

Loved this so much, very in-depth ! Can’t wait for the next book to start!

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  • Fo6man
  • 03-22-19

A great page turner by a very good storyteller

What a great book. I actually her first because it was a free download offer. I think it was exceptionally well read and very engaging. I listen to it over several days sometimes many chaps of the time and then just another brief snippet. Very engaging.

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  • Oduda
  • 09-20-18

Brilliance is brilliant

I loved the story and got very involved with all the characters. The reader is excellent and I felt drawn in from the beginning.

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  • Adam
  • 02-14-18

Amazing reading for an amazing book.

Read perfectly to the tone of the Book, a book that carries impeccable timing and a journey worth taking.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Fady
  • 01-21-21

Good story and narration. Bad recording

Good story and excellent narration but the recording skipped a number of times, which was annoying

.