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72 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent if flawed action/conspiracy thriller
This is a decent action-thriller in many ways. It is well written and based on an interesting premise which the author uses reasonably well but I do have some quite strong reservations.

Brilliance is set in a parallel version of the present day in which a group of people born with exceptional abilities ("Brilliants") are making "normals" feel threatened and...
Published 16 months ago by Sid Nuncius

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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't know what it is
This book starts with an interesting premise about the birth of gifted, or 'abnorm' children. What differentiates this from X Men is that they have extreme human, but not superhuman, powers; to read body language, understand patterns, etc. The main protagonist is charged with tracking down those who go astray.

So far, so Blade Runner, but then the book suddenly...
Published 11 months ago by M. A. Truman


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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't know what it is, 2 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Brilliance (The Brilliance Saga Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This book starts with an interesting premise about the birth of gifted, or 'abnorm' children. What differentiates this from X Men is that they have extreme human, but not superhuman, powers; to read body language, understand patterns, etc. The main protagonist is charged with tracking down those who go astray.

So far, so Blade Runner, but then the book suddenly morphs into a post 9/11 allegory, and then just as suddenly channels the last half of any early John Grisham novel, where the goodies are trying to keep one step ahead of the baddies by moving from hotel to hotel. Then Sakey seems to tire of writing that, so we get three days travel dismissed in a sentence, and we're plunged into another Philip K Dick plot line, from The Man In the High Castle.

And so it goes on. Like other reviewers, very few of the plot twists surprised me, and by two thirds of the way through I just wanted it to end.
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72 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent if flawed action/conspiracy thriller, 14 July 2013
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
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This is a decent action-thriller in many ways. It is well written and based on an interesting premise which the author uses reasonably well but I do have some quite strong reservations.

Brilliance is set in a parallel version of the present day in which a group of people born with exceptional abilities ("Brilliants") are making "normals" feel threatened and have also created some remarkable advances in technology, among other things. It's a good, if not terribly original, idea which Marcus Sakey uses pretty well. It develops into a long, convoluted conspiracy thriller with plenty of action as the protagonist, Nick Cooper, pursues his quest as a Government agent in hunting down Brilliant terrorists. Needless to say, there are major plot twists, plenty of Not Knowing Whom To Trust and so on. For about half the book's 500 pages I found this an easy and exciting read, but it did begin to pall. The book is far too long and although I finished it, I did so in the spirit of wanting to know what happens now I've got this far, rather than being gripped by the plot which, by the last quarter of the book had got to the point where I met each supposedly gut-wrenching twist with "yep, I was waiting for that one."

Call me Mr Cynical, but I strongly suspect Marcus Sakey wrote this hoping for a big film deal. It has all the action set pieces expected of a Die Hard film, an oh-so-admirable central character who is amicably (and quite inexplicably) divorced so that he can be both a strong Family Man but also available for romantic attachments elsewhere, and the book's fundamental message is pretty much Motherhood, Apple Pie and God Bless America - all just perfect for a blockbuster actor who wants to be liked.

I perhaps shouldn't be quite so grumpy about this book. Marcus Sakey can certainly write and I enjoyed enough of it to (just) round 3.5 stars up to four. It's a decent beach read, but I doubt whether I'll be bothering with the next in the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not so brilliant, 9 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Brilliance (The Brilliance Saga Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Well, it seemed an interesting premise, if you'd missed the entire superhero genre, which evidently from the cover quote, Lee Child has. The protagonist is a 'brilliant' whose special power is, erm, 'pattern recognition,' which is possibly one of the duller superpowers, like being able to dry paint merely by looking at it for several hours. But hey, let's run with the idea, it could be useful. If he were any good at it, but since he seems unable to use his special power to foresee any of the blazingly obvious twists, you have to wonder if he's been misled. Plot developments pretty much have to typed up and handed to him in triplicate and then explained slowly and carefully.

The entire 'brilliants' premise is dropped quietly and quickly and the book turns into formulaic chase-thriller-with-terrorists which has been done often and better. The lead gets so smug you start to hope an asteroid lands on him, certainly his ego has enough gravity to attract one, and – of course – the lead female character just swoons over him, despite the fact that not so many pages ago he was sworn to kill her. She could have been delivered in a box and inflated with a foot pump. The wooden dialogue reflects this. Men and women don't interact that, not in real life. People don't. Character motivations are also very odd and contrived. Many of the decisions are 'really?' There's no sense that people would really make those choices and there's only so much disbelief you can suspend before you qualify as a trapeze act.

Half way through I started to stare avidly at the time-left-in-book. It become the most fascinating thing about this book. There's probably a long compound word in German for the feeling that comes from having to finish a dull book, but this summed it up. The writing could have done with a good edit, not just to pull out the slack, but to shape up the dialogue. There might have been a decent idea hiding in this, but it was lost without trace after the first chapter, as the only thing that distinguished it from a 1001 other thrillers was the premise. As others have pointed out, it reads more like that film treatment it obviously is. I can't say I'll be itching to buy a ticket.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Competent but uninspired reheating of some familiar themes, 15 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Brilliance (The Brilliance Saga Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I've read a few of Sakey's books and have almost always come away slightly disappointed. He promises a lot with often intriguing set ups and interesting characters but doesn't deliver plot wise with plotting that is often formulaic in the extreme.

This was no exception to the pattern not helped by a central idea that while hailed in the all the blurbs as being "unique", "visionary" etc etc will be of absolutely no surprise to anyone who has seen "Blade Runner" or more prosaically "Heroes". This is an idea that has been done to death in my view. Lee Child's over the top gushing praise in particular would make me suspicious of any of his future recommendations.

There is plenty to like in the book. Some of the set pieces are very well done especially the initial terror bombing. The "academy" for the gifted children is chillingly realized and some of the background of how society would react to the scenario posited of a gifted minority appearing from almost nowhere is believable but the good work is spoiled by a conspiracy that is obvious from early on and a chase across country that never achieves anything like real tension. Even the final clash between Cooper and the baddies feels strained. With Cooper's gifts its hard to see him in any real sort of danger against an ordinary foe. It would have been better to see him square of against a similar brilliant. As it is he starts with such an advantage over his leaden footed opposition that real peril seems miles away.

Competent as usual but nothing special.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a page turner!, 1 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Brilliance (The Brilliance Saga Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Action packed to keep the reader engaged. Un-put-down-able. Well drawn characters and complex relationships. Can't wait for the next episode. Bring on the sequel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Brilliant!, 30 July 2014
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This review is from: Brilliance (The Brilliance Saga Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Excellent read, had to get up early this morning to finish it and am ordering the second instalment this evening. Well written. Gripping story line. And whereas I do agree with other reviewers that it is at times a bit derivative, it is none the worse for that. So if at times it is a cross between Die hard and X-Men with a touch of JD Robb's In Death novels thrown in for good measure - that's ok and please, keep doing it!!
Great Read!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read, 19 Aug 2014
By 
Pete F. (Ayrshire, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brilliance (The Brilliance Saga Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed reading this book as although it is set in a fictional era where some humans have evolved 'super' powers, neither the world which they inhabit nor the powers that they possess are beyond the bounds of believability.

The story is basically about an undercover government agent trying to bring down a terrorist organisation led by a highly intelligent individual who few have ever seen and even fewer have come into contact with. His name is feared by the 'normal' humans who believe that he and his 'Brilliants' are seeking to take over the world. As always there is a twist in the tale which, although not totally unexpected, is enough to keep you reading right up until the last page. This is not one of those books which tries to be too clever with convoluted plots etc. and as such it makes for an easy bed-time read which does not tax your brain too much : ).

Definitely worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DAMN FINE READ!, 5 Sep 2013
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Brian Jacobs - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brilliance (The Brilliance Saga Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I found this a compelling mix of sci-fi, thriller and conspiracy. Well written and nicely paced, with characters who aren't just black and white. There seems to be a modern trend of demonising the American law enforcement agencies, and this book is no exception, all the more unsettling because their actions seem so credible. I gather a film could be in the offing, as well as a sequel - I can't wait!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read, 28 Aug 2013
This review is from: Brilliance (The Brilliance Saga Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Fast pace ,strong plot , not a boring bit in it ,can not wait for the next one , hope it fills gap at the end
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fast paced and exciting, 10 Jun 2013
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I. B. Pitbladdo "jacandian" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
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Initially I had trouble believing in the premise of this story that a government would persecute a small section of its community because they were different. However, it is also hard to believe a government could force a minority of its people to wear yellow stars on their clothing, but that is an uncomfortable fact of history. So, maybe this idea is not so farfetched.
Once I accepted the idea that these things could happen I really enjoyed the swift action and twisting plot of this fairly large novel. The writing and characterisation are good and the action is well paced and exciting. The final line indicates that this is the first book in a continuing theme...recommended.
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