Review: A Better World by Marcus Sakey

  • Series: The Brilliance Saga, Book Two (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (June 17, 2014)
  • ISBN: 9781477823941
  • Source: Publisher

The world first became aware of the brilliants in 1980. Approximately 1% of the world’s population were born with gifts that set them apart from everyone else. At a young age, children are tested for special abilities. If found to be gifted, they are sent off to an institution where their powers are fine-tuned. For the last three decades, tension has been growing between the brilliants and the “norms.”  A battle is raging. A terrorist led by the brilliants cripples shipments to three major cities. Without power and the most basic of supplies, citizens are scared and confused. Barricades prevent them from seeking refuge elsewhere.

Nick Cooper is a brilliant, his ability to read a person’s mannerisms to predict their actions has given him a high-level position with a secretive government agency that eradicates violent brilliants.  In a new role as advisor to the President of the United States. Cooper has a difficult time gauging which side he should belong to. Individuals he was once fighting against have proven themselves to be adversaries. Unfortunately, there is little time to devote to proving one’s allegiance; a group of radical brilliants known as the Children of Darwin are attempting to take down the US government.  Nick Cooper is one of the select few who can put a stop to the chaos and prevent the third World War from commencing.

Let me start off by saying that I don’t review titles published by Amazon. I just don’t. It’s a personal preference that I really don’t sway from. Except in the case of Marcus Sakey. Known by many as a truly talented crime fiction author, Sakey shocked hundreds of readers by leaping into the world of science fiction. Admittedly, I was quite wary of this decision. Yet when Brilliance was released, I was knocked into stunned silence.

Sakey has managed to create a truly brilliant (no pun intended), wholly unique series. Other reviewers have likened the world that Sakey has created to that of X-men, yet I tend to believe it is far more terrorizing. The brilliants Sakey has created are far more plausible and believable than any comic book creation.

In A Better World, the story picks up right at the end of the previous novel. A battle is raging between the brilliants and the norms. It’s hard not to pick up on the social commentary Sakey has weaved into this series. Individuals, born different than others, torn away from their parents’ arms at a young age to be raised in an institution? It isn’t difficult to find parallels in the history of our country.

The intensity of this novel hits you from the start, unrelenting through nearly 400 pages. Like the characters, readers will question whose side they should take, questioning everything they’ve learned so far. Ending with a powerful cliffhanger, Sakey leaves readers with a quick tease as to what is yet to come.

As this is the second book in a series, I do recommend that you start at the beginning with Brilliance. While Sakey does provide a bit of backstory, new readers will have a difficult time catching up with all that transpires. Trust me, it’s well worth the read!

Bottom line: the Brilliance series is a must read for readers of all varieties, from science fiction to thriller to dystopian. You’ll devour the books in no time, counting down the days until the next book is released. Highly, highly recommended.

Review: The Trinity Game by Sean Chercover

  • Hardcover: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer; First Edition edition (July 31, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1612183506
  • Source: Publisher

In all his years as an investigator for the Vatican’s Office of the Devil’s Advocate, over 700 cases, Daniel Byrne has yet to come across a legitimate miracle. His most recent assignment is to investigate a tent-show televangelist who seems to be able to foresee the future, predicting weather and other events with remarkable accuracy.  This televangelist, Tim Trinity, also happens to be Daniel’s estranged uncle. Tim has a history of cons, one of the many reasons Daniel ceased communication with him. Intent on debunking his uncle, Daniel reluctantly accepts the case.

One of the trademarks of Trinity’s abilities include speaking in tongues. It isn’t long before Daniel discovers a meaning behind this speech and the improbability that it is an act that is impossible to perform. Is it a coincidence that Trinity’s abilities were granted after he survived (albeit in a cowardly fashion) the devastating Hurricane Katrina? Daniel, questioning his own devotion to his faith, begins believing his uncle’s talents are genuine, risking his life to protect a man he always assumed was a fake. Several individuals are out to put an end to Trinity’s sermons, including government agencies, religious leaders, and finally sports bookies, out of business due to Trinity’s ability to predict the outcome of sports events before they occur. Daniel relies on a connection he has with his former girlfriend, Julia Rothman, a journalist, to give Trinity the screen time to speak a message only he can relay.

For all those wary of the religious aspect of The Trinity Game , you need not worry. Chercover presents a truly thrilling storyline without being preachy or overwhelming the reader with religion. On the reverse side, he doesn’t bring disrespect to religion, either. Instead, gives readers a truly remarkable novel, finely balancing the battle between good versus evil, filled with truly engaging characters and a well thought out plot.

Daniel’s character is an incredibly remarkable one. A man of faith, he’s forced to come to terms with a failed relationship with his uncle, his own positions on faith, and a relationship with his ex-girlfriend within days. By far, his character is the one who undergoes the largest transformation in this novel. His uncle, Tim Trinity, on the surface lives up to all preconceived notions of those eccentric televangelists: loud, bright “costumes,” boisterous voices, etc. And, like many of these individuals who have fallen from fame, Tim uses this “character” he has created as a mask to hide his true identity, shielding himself from judgement.

This novel has frequently been compared to Dan Brown’s work. In my opinion, I don’t see that as a compliment at all, a comparison that clearly shouldn’t be made. Chercover’s novel is incredibly well-written, devoid from unrealistic and unbelievable probabilities and shuns on faith. It is a novel that stands on its own, not requiring a comparison to any other novel, because frankly, it is so unique that it is incomparable.

The Trinity Game is truly a well-plotted, incredibly engaging thriller. I cannot wait to read more of Chercover’s work! Highly recommended.

 

I just happen to have an extra copy of THE TRINITY GAME for giveaway. To enter, please fill out the form below. Open to US & Canadian residents only.  Winner will be contacted on Saturday, August 18th.  Good luck to all who enter!