In the interest of reading something a little different, I recently picked up Brilliance by Marcus Sakey. It didn’t fit squarely into my recent themes of science fiction and dystopian future visions, but it showed up in the Amazon recommendation engine with strong reviews. I figured it was worth a shot, and it certainly didn’t hurt that it was available through the Amazon Prime lending library.
The premise of the book revolves around a minority of people born since the mid-80’s who are gifted with special skills. They’ve been given the name Brilliants. Some are good at seeing data patterns, other people’s movements, while others can read people’s thoughts. Instead of embracing the Brilliants, society fears them and has segregated them in order to control them. When a gifted terrorist by the name of John Smith emerges to fight for Brilliants’ rights, the government decides to pursue him and his network in an attempt to eradicate them. A brilliant by the name of Nick Cooper, who is a government agent, is given the task of tracking Smith and members of his network which ultimately causes him to question which side he is on in the fight of right versus wrong. Telling any more would give away too much of the story, so I’ll leave it at that.
Brilliance is very well written. They story is full of action and moves along quickly. I found it hard to put down at times. I also liked Sakey’s writing and story-telling style. He also did a good job interjecting some obvious and some subtle humorous bits into the story. I may have even laughed out loud a couple of times.
While the story line is good, I did find it a touch predictable. It follows a similar arc to other books I’ve read recently such as Nexus and Daemon. Perhaps if I hadn’t read those books, I would have found the plot more inventive. As it was, I was able to more or less predict how the story would unfold, although it was still fun reading how it turned out given Sakey’s strong story-telling and writing style.
Overall, I liked the book, but not quite enough to push it into my Must Read category. I would consider it a strong recreational read. It reads quickly, is entertaining, and will keep you engaged. In other words, I’d highly recommend it for a long weekend or while on vacation.
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