The highly-anticipated sequel to the Edgar nominated Brilliance
The brilliants changed everything.
Since 1980, 1% of the world has been born with gifts we’d only dreamed of. The ability to sense a person’s most intimate secrets, or predict the stock market, or move virtually unseen. For thirty years the world has struggled with a growing divide between the exceptional…and the rest of us.
Now a terrorist network led by brilliants has crippled three cities. Supermarket shelves stand empty. 911 calls go unanswered. Fanatics are burning people alive.
Nick Cooper has always fought to make the world better for his children. As both a brilliant and an advisor to the president of the United States, he’s against everything the terrorists represent. But as America slides toward a devastating civil war, Cooper is forced to play a game he dares not lose—because his opponents have their own vision of a better world.
And to reach it, they’re willing to burn this one down.
From Marcus Sakey, “the master of the mindful page turner” (Gillian Flynn) and “one of our best storytellers” (Michael Connelly), Book Two of The Brilliance Trilogy is a relentless thrill ride that will change the way you look at your world—and the people around you.
About the Author
Marcus Sakey’s novels have been nominated for more than fifteen awards, including the Edgar and two ITW Thriller Awards. His book Good People was adapted as a feature film starring James Franco and Kate Hudson. Three of his other novels have been optioned for film, including Brilliance.
To research his work, Marcus has shadowed gang cops, trained with snipers, toured the morgue, flown planes, rappelled with SWAT teams, hung out with spies, and learned to pick a deadbolt. He is the host and writer of the acclaimed television show Hidden City on Travel Channel, for which he is routinely pepper-sprayed and attacked by dogs.
Marcus lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.
His website is MarcusSakey.com, or follow him on Facebook (Facebook.com/MarcusSakey) or Twitter, where he posts under the clever handle @MarcusSakey.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I would like to thank Thomas Mercer & NetGalley for an e-book of this story to review. Though I received this e-book for free, that has no impact upon the honesty of my review. Goodreads Teaser: The brilliants changed everything. Since 1980, 1% of the world has been born with gifts we’d only dreamed of. The ability to sense a person’s most intimate secrets, or predict the stock market, or move virtually unseen. For thirty years the world has struggled with a growing divide between the exceptional...and the rest of us. Now a terrorist network led by brilliants has crippled three cities. Supermarket shelves stand empty. 911 calls go unanswered. Fanatics are burning people alive. Nick Cooper has always fought to make the world better for his children. As both a brilliant and an advisor to the president of the United States, he’s against everything the terrorists represent. But as America slides toward a devastating civil war, Cooper is forced to play a game he dares not lose—because his opponents have their own vision of a better world. And to reach it, they’re willing to burn this one down. This stunning sequel manages to raise the already exceptionally high bar set by the first book in the series. We continue to follow Nick Cooper through this engaging story, learning the outcome of his choice to release the damning video that forever changed his point of view about his career, boss, and ultimately his own government. As Nick struggles to come to terms with the direction his world has taken, he is also trying to balance his family life and his growing feelings for The Girl Who Walks Through Walls. Bouncing between Cooper's saga and that of Ethan Park, it seems a sure bet that their two worlds will collide at some point. Ethan is a scientist, a geek who's been working on a project so hush-hush he can't even tell his own wife what he's doing. But when a homegrown terrorist group brings three major cities to their knees in a matter of hours Ethan's world radically changes. Suddenly his non-disclosure agreement doesn't seem so important. Maybe because he and his wife, together with their three month old daughter are running for their lives. The power plays and drama contained in this story are breathtaking. Formerly inscrutable players become clear as glass, while others remain murky at best. And of course at the heart of it all is John Smith. Just who is he? The activist wrongly accused of a crime he didn't commit? A criminal mastermind planning to revolutionize the world? A psychopath marching to his own beat? Or all of the above? It's up to Nick Cooper to figure him out, and Heaven help him if he gets it wrong. Very little of what takes place in this story is calm or mundane. Instead almost everything is supercharged with enough emotional intensity to level several football fields full of people. The ups and downs are part of what make this book so compelling, but again the characters are so well crafted that they are the real powerhouses of the book. Combine the two and you've a recipe for a smash hit!
The second book continues the story of a United States with normal and abnormal citizens. The regular characters are carried over and new characters are introduced. The tale is as exciting and engrossing as the first book, and ends in what can only be described as the world's greatest cliff-hanger. You cannot read this book without immediately demanding the next. The best and worst of human nature is on display as Cooper continues to deal with the consequences of trying to do the right thing. A growing triangle between Cooper, Savannah, and Natalie begins to create romantic tension on top of the violent interaction between the various factions.
A Better World by Marcus Sakey is the 2nd book in his Brilliance series. Brilliance, the first book in this series was one of the best thrillers of the year. It had us on the edge of our seat in a complex and futuristic world. I am happy to say that the 2nd book, A Better World continues this trend. We learned in Brilliance about the “abnorms”, children born with special intelligent abilities that made them smarter then the “normals”. In 1980 there was 1% of the population that were “abnorms”. The government in fear that f these “brilliants” would become too powerful, even if they are partially responsible for the advanced technology in the world. They took the “abnorm” children away from their families, especially those considered tier one (highly intelligent), and put them into an academy, which would either make them work for the government or lock them up to hide or weaken their abilities. Nick Cooper, our hero in this series, is also an ‘abnorm’, but he is a government agent that helped stop a terrible plot in the last book. Nick is forced back into working for the government (The new President), to help as an advisor in the escalating war between abnorms” and “normal”, with the new terrorist group, Children of Darwin killing innocent people. Nick once again is in the middle, with most of the President’s cabinet wanting to destroy the “abnorms”, or force them to have microchips put into them. A war has begun, tensions are on the rise, as some cities have totally closed down, and only Nick can keep the President from following the lead of the Secretary of Defense, and other bad government members, who want to destroy them. John Smith, one of the villians in the first book, who turned out to be a national hero is back, though not as much as the first book, but he continues to be an integral part of this series. Will the real truth about John Smith be discovered? Shannon, who is one of the brilliants assassins, and Nick’s lover, is also back. She is as awesome as she was in the first book. Shannon does a fantastic rescue mission in this story. Besides Nick and Shannon’s, there is another POV, that of Ethan Park, a scientist who is on the run with his family. Everyone wants Ethan, as he knows something that is very powerful, which would change everything. Anything more would be spoilers. Once again, Marcus Sakey gives us another exciting thriller, with non-stop action, so many twists and turns that you cannot blink or you will miss some important information. This is a complex world, but done so well by Sakey. If you like suspense thrillers, action, excitement, great characters, in a futuristic but somewhat modern world.
A Better World picks up shortly after the conclusion of Brilliance. Nick Cooper, a brilliant himself, worked for Equitable Services (under DAR) hunting down rouge or terrorist or unwanted abnorms. After taking down his boss and the President of the Untied States, after one of his charges, John Smith, enlightens Nick as to what is really going on. Now he has been asked by the new President, form Vice-President, to hunt down a new group of terrorists, The Children of Darwin. With no option to refuse. Simultaneously Shannon, Cooper's cohort from the last story is embarking on her own missions. Both stories converge eventually. Contrasting to the last audiobook, which had only one point of view to follow, here we have to follow three. Nick Cooper, Shannon and Ethan (normal person) a scientist who's story doesn't make sense until later on. This jumping back and forth kept me for being fully immersed like I was last time. The uniqueness that made Brilliance such an awesome story, and surrounded it with hype somewhere disappeared in A Better World. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this sequel, it just seemed more mainstream thriller with much of the action in the second half of the story. No real surprises or major plot twists. What kept me interested was the complexity of Cooper, he is the kind of guy that would be wearing a white hat in an old western. Good guy through and through, yet awesomely imperfect. Simply a solid continuation of a great idea, I cannot wait for the next one. Audiobook purchased by reviewer. Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com
I have a habit of not realizing books are part of a series until after I get them from NetGalley; however, A Better World provided enough backstory scattered throughout the book that I didn't feel as if I'd missed anything. Although it's second in a series, it could really be a standalone. A fellow blogger said they thought I'd enjoy this book and I absolutely did. Well-developed characters, a highly imaginative, suspenseful plot, concise writing, and superb pacing - I was hooked from the first page. The list of characters ranged from a flawed, charismatic protagonist to loathsome politicians, to detestable villains, none of them one-dimensional and all essential to the plot. The brilliants' gifts were creative and unusual - not your average Marvel or DC types of abilities. I've read many books where I felt as if the writing could have been tightened, but I found no fillers in this novel. Every page advanced the story. As I neared the end, I felt conflicted - I wanted to see resolution to all that was going on, but I also wanted to spend more time with these characters. In a way, I guess I got both - a little wrap-up in some storylines, but also a third book in the series. If you're a fan of fast-paced thrillers that will keep you up reading for hours, this is your book. I'll be anxiously waiting for book 3 of this series. This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.