Title: Brilliance – A Better World – Written in Fire
Author: Marcus Sakey
Genre: Urban Fantasy? Sci Fi?
Length: 439 – 390 – 345 (1174 total, if you are going to read them back to back)
Where Stacie’s Copy Came From: Personal Collection
Plot Basics: Cooper spends his hours hunting Brilliants, a genetic mutation that impacts 1% of the population. They have powers that enhance their interaction with the world, and it terrifies the U.S. government. Cooper is one of them. He is hunting his own, until the world of Norms and Abnorms implodes and he is forced, again and again, to make decisions that will haunt him.
Banter Points: I’ve been a fan of Sakey’s writing since the other Word Nerd lived in WI (aka, a long time.) When I found myself standing in the right spot at the right time during Murder & Mayhem last November, I about swooned when an ARC was handed to me. The ARC eventually went to Bethany and I have my own e-copy in my library.
The world that Sakey builds is quite astonishing. There is enough scientific explanation to make the story telling plausible without sounding implausible or making the reader cross their eyes to understand what is going on. It helps, tremendously, that Nick Cooper is often a flawed character who recognizes a second too late what would have been a better solution or answer to the dilemma he faces; often, this recognition comes from new information revealed by events, characters, or a pause in the action.
Sakey is quite skilled at handling back story (a point that make others series suffer since, as a reader, you can see how well it can be done.) Any story can be picked up and read as a stand alone because Sakey gives you enough details to understand what is going on without slowing down the story’s momentum. I meant to re-read books 1 and 2 before reading three. However, I couldn’t resist peeking at book 3 and I was sunk. I didn’t feel as though I needed to re-read the others because Sakey pulled me right back into Cooper’s world with the details that jogged my memory and picked-up the relevant story lines.
Bummer Points: I did think that the series improved with Book 2. At the end of Book 1, I was left feeling like Sakey had taken a step backwards by switching genres, and that the learning curve was too steep. I wondered what he would add to this genre that would make him stand out from some other really good story tellers. I was left wondering if I would have to confess that I didn’t like Book 1, a crushing admission that I don’t remember making after the book first came out. I did re-read Book 1 when Book 2 came out and found that reading them back-to-back improved it as did the second reading. Perhaps it was me, dealing with some reader baggage. Or, perhaps it was a better understanding of where the series was headed.
Stacie’s Recommendation: Seriously, just get these. They are going to be on my Top Ten list this year. I hope the publisher offers a bundle of the three of them because this is a series to gift to people.