A Review of Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

Anyone who has seen at least one X Men movie has already seen this circus. Since 1980, one percent of the population has been born “brilliant,” gifted, possessing more advantages than others- not just in real life but also in Marcus Sakey’s novel, Brilliance (is it? You decide). One such dude is supercool government agent Nick Cooper, who has an amazing talent- for pattern-recognition (he can kinda-sorta guess what everyone else is about to do next)! Wow. Nick works for the DAR (no, not the Daughters of the American Revolution, silly- the Department of Analysis and Response) and gets pretty Jason Bourney on some terrorists from time to time. 

But when the brand new stock market building gets blown up (allegedly by “abnormal” terrorists working for evil genius John Smith), Nick’s world gets disrupted. He and his boss concoct a crazy scheme to make it look like our man Nick has gone rogue so he can infiltrate John Smith’s gang of super-brilliant terrorists. Nick leaves his job, his kids, and his hot ex-wife behind and hits the road. Many surprises ensue, including the discovery that the terrorists aren’t the only terrorists. Everybody’s doing it! In fact, even the President of the United States is involved somehow (where does Sakey come up with this stuff?) and Nick starts worrying that he isn’t such a good guy as he once suspected he was. It doesn’t help that his new girlfriend Shannon (aka “the girl who walks through walls”- with the superpower of sneakiness) keeps threatening him in various ways. 

Is this book the most brilliant piece of work ever? Probs not, guys. But it is excellent good fun for people who want to read about mutants, or about government agents tracking people down, or about the government behaving badly. Sakey himself seems like a pretty fun guy- according to the notes for the sequel, A Better World, he can pick locks and has “trained with snipers” and “rappelled with SWAT teams.” Who better to lead us on such a magical mystery tour? So open up a new pack of bubble gum and have fun with it, everybody. Happy hunting.


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