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The explosive conclusion to the bestselling Brilliance Trilogy For thirty years humanity struggled to cope with the brilliants, the one percent of people born with remarkable gifts. For thirty years we tried to avoid a devastating civil war. We failed. The White House is a smoking ruin. Madison Square Garden is an internment camp. In Wyoming, an armed militia of thousands mar The explosive conclusion to the bestselling Brilliance Trilogy For thirty years humanity struggled to cope with the brilliants, the one percent of people born with remarkable gifts. For thirty years we tried to avoid a devastating civil war. We failed. The White House is a smoking ruin. Madison Square Garden is an internment camp. In Wyoming, an armed militia of thousands marches toward a final, apocalyptic battle. Nick Cooper has spent his life fighting for his children and his country. Now, as the world staggers on the edge of ruin, he must risk everything he loves to face his oldest enemy—a brilliant terrorist so driven by his ideals that he will sacrifice humanity’s future to achieve them.


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The explosive conclusion to the bestselling Brilliance Trilogy For thirty years humanity struggled to cope with the brilliants, the one percent of people born with remarkable gifts. For thirty years we tried to avoid a devastating civil war. We failed. The White House is a smoking ruin. Madison Square Garden is an internment camp. In Wyoming, an armed militia of thousands mar The explosive conclusion to the bestselling Brilliance Trilogy For thirty years humanity struggled to cope with the brilliants, the one percent of people born with remarkable gifts. For thirty years we tried to avoid a devastating civil war. We failed. The White House is a smoking ruin. Madison Square Garden is an internment camp. In Wyoming, an armed militia of thousands marches toward a final, apocalyptic battle. Nick Cooper has spent his life fighting for his children and his country. Now, as the world staggers on the edge of ruin, he must risk everything he loves to face his oldest enemy—a brilliant terrorist so driven by his ideals that he will sacrifice humanity’s future to achieve them.

30 review for Written in Fire

  1. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This is the third book in the 'Brilliance' trilogy. As the story opens, the United States is on the brink of a civil war between average people and 'brilliants' or 'abnorms' (humans who have superior abilities). The war has been engineered in large part by a government official who wants a good future for his grandchildren....and he'll do almost anything to achieve this goal, including things that are WAY out of his area of responsibility. 😒 In fact almost all the main characters in this series a This is the third book in the 'Brilliance' trilogy. As the story opens, the United States is on the brink of a civil war between average people and 'brilliants' or 'abnorms' (humans who have superior abilities). The war has been engineered in large part by a government official who wants a good future for his grandchildren....and he'll do almost anything to achieve this goal, including things that are WAY out of his area of responsibility. 😒 In fact almost all the main characters in this series are MUCH MORE concerned with their families and/or significant others than the good of mankind in general. This trope is common in fiction, but it's selfish and short-sighted (IMO), and - in real life - would probably result in the extinction of the human race. But of course this is fiction. 🙂 The books in the series should be read in order (Brilliance, A Better World, Written in Fire) for maximum comprehension and enjoyment. ***** As the series unfolds, 'regular' humans in the U.S. have become increasingly hostile to abnorms because the government's attempts to control the brilliants have led to severe retribution....with massive death and destruction. Now a well-armed militia of vengeful people is descending on Wyoming's 'New Canaan Holdfast' where abnorms live in a technologically advanced settlement. Nick Cooper is a brilliant who has been trying to establish a rapprochement between regular people and abnorms, but things have gotten completely out of control and the situation looks hopeless. Still, Nick has some strategies to pursue, and one of them involves a very dangerous terrorist named John Smith - who has a diabolical plan that's been in the works for years. Nick's situation is complicated by the fact that he's involved with two women. One is Natalie - Nick's ex-wife and the mother of his two children. The other woman in Nick's life is Shannon, a fellow abnorm who partners with him on important missions. Both females are on Nick's mind as he tries to rescue mankind from its own worst instincts. Meanwhile, the militia and the New Canaan Holdfast are gearing up for an all out war, which could have severe consequences for both sides. This plotline revs up the suspense, but once the battles start the fighting scenes get repetitive.....and I could have done with a bit less of this. I don't want to give away spoilers so I'll just say - considering the huge build-up - the climax of the story is a yawner. The epilog plays out as I expected and leaves an opening for a new direction or a spinoff IF Sakey wants to keep going with this storyline. Thus, I'd say this 'trilogy' - which ends on a cliffhanger - may not be finished. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachel the Book Harlot

    In Written in Fire, the conclusion to the Brilliance Saga trilogy, author Marcus Sakey once again ratchets up the tension and suspense. As was the case with Book 2, there were moments that the tension and suspense were so high that I had to stop myself from skipping ahead. The entire trilogy was such a great ride. I loved the characters, the world-building, the action goodness, and how all the pieces of the story finally came together in the end. The conclusion was done well, though I do think In Written in Fire, the conclusion to the Brilliance Saga trilogy, author Marcus Sakey once again ratchets up the tension and suspense. As was the case with Book 2, there were moments that the tension and suspense were so high that I had to stop myself from skipping ahead. The entire trilogy was such a great ride. I loved the characters, the world-building, the action goodness, and how all the pieces of the story finally came together in the end. The conclusion was done well, though I do think (view spoiler)[some readers who like a nice, tight ending may not be happy. There are enough dangling threads that the trilogy could be stretched into a fourth book. (hide spoiler)] All in all, Written in Fire is a satisfying and thrilling ending to a great story. Final rating: 4 stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tim The Enchanter

    Posted to The Literary Lawyer.ca A Decent Finish ? - 3.5 Written in Fire marks the conclusion of the Brilliance Trilogy. Overall, the series was creative and an excellent spin on the "superheroes among us" genre. When I read the concluding story to any series, I expect it to go out with a bang. It needs to wrap up the major issues with a great climax and either close off the universe or leave it open for more. Written in Fire has left room for more stories within this universe and has ple Posted to The Literary Lawyer.ca A Decent Finish ? - 3.5 Written in Fire marks the conclusion of the Brilliance Trilogy. Overall, the series was creative and an excellent spin on the "superheroes among us" genre. When I read the concluding story to any series, I expect it to go out with a bang. It needs to wrap up the major issues with a great climax and either close off the universe or leave it open for more. Written in Fire has left room for more stories within this universe and has plenty of big bangs but in the most important areas, the bangs were too often squeaks. Plot Summary The story continues in the world inhabited by "normals and brilliants" as conceived by Marcus Sakey originally of Flint, Michigan. If you have seen the news lately (lead laced water scandal) its nice to have something positive with a connection to this downtrodden city. Nick Cooper, former government agent and tier 1 brilliant, continues his quest for vengeance and for peace between normals and brilliants. At time where tension between the groups is at an all time high, the world is confronted with a serum that will turn a normal into a brilliant. All of the warring factions want it for their own reason. Unfortunately, the serum is not stable and neither is the serum's inventor. Nick must seek revenge while confronting the new dangers this serum presents to world. My Take Written in Fire is a mixed bag. On the positive side, the author has created a compelling world with a truly unique (at least to me) take on the "superpower". Each gift that a brilliant has seems entirely probable. Gifts occur as a result of advance pattern recognition which have developed as some type of evolutionary step. No one is flying, moving things with their mind or shapeshifting yet these changes in humanity have lead to major advancements in most all areas of study and science. This is the greatest strength of the book and the series. The ability of the author to take something as unbelievable as "superpowers" and to integrate into a reality that requires little suspension of disbelief, is itself superhuman. I enjoy science fiction that feels like it would be possible. If you feel the same, you are likely to enjoy this series. In addition to the great setup, the author did a great job of weaving the underlying, sinister plan from beginning to end. The reader is lead down the path of obfuscation and misdirection and is none the wiser. I thought the underlying plot was very well crafted and never left me feelings cheated or disappointed. On this front, the author receives high marks for wrapping up the various scheming and conniving. So why did I feel some disappointment with the concluding volume. Were this the second book in the series, I would have been more generous with my rating. While I was content in the completion of the storylines, there were several confrontations that were destined to occur. The first two books set a high expectation for these final collisions. Instead of a violent crash, we were given a fender bender. While much of the series has been quite inspired, the character resolutions were not. While the plot was strong, character and emotional resolutions need improvement. Leave me happy or angry with resolution but don't leave me feeling ripped off. Had these necessary collisions been more fulfilling, the novel may have been the best of the bunch. Can this Novel Stand Alone Not a chance. While the novel does an admirable job of bringing you back up to speed, there is a sea of history you will need to appreciate the finale. Final Thoughts Overall, this series is well worth your time. If you have read the first two, you will not want to miss the conclusion. The strength of the Brilliance universe and strength of plot redeems the novel's missteps. While I am disappointed for what was not, I enjoyed what was. As an added bonus, the ending leaves open the possibility that we may see future novels within this world. I for one, would welcome more. Content Advisories It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations. Scale 1 - Lowest 5 - Highest Sex - 2 There were a couple of sexual encounters but they were quite tame. They were of the variety that cut away from scene before the real action begins. Language - F-words - 5 instances Mild Profanity - 41 instances Religious exclamations - 11 instances Violence - 3.5 There is violence throughout the story. The story is essentially that of a war. There is lots of shoot and lots of dead bodies. While this accounts for much of the violence, it tends to avoid graphic descriptions. There are some scenes of torture which are moderate graphic but short.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for making it available. Boy, do I hate it when a book series ends... I devoured the first two books in Marcus Sakey's fantastic Brilliance trilogy, so I both eagerly anticipated and dreaded the arrival of the last book in the series, Written in Fire . I've finally caught my breath, as the action and the tension intensified as the book drew to Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for making it available. Boy, do I hate it when a book series ends... I devoured the first two books in Marcus Sakey's fantastic Brilliance trilogy, so I both eagerly anticipated and dreaded the arrival of the last book in the series, Written in Fire . I've finally caught my breath, as the action and the tension intensified as the book drew to a close! One percent of the country's population is composed of brilliants, those with extraordinary physical, cognitive, emotional, and/or perceptive gifts. But despite these talents and abilities, these so-called "abnorms" have been feared, reviled, mistreated, and targeted for all kinds of abuse in the 30 years since their discovery became public knowledge. This mistreatment has brought the country to the brink of civil war, norm vs. abnorm, in a battle for the very heart and soul of society. Written in Fire begins with the country reeling from a devastating attack by the abnorm community. This has led to laws which require that all abnorms be microchipped for easy tracking, but even worse, lynch mobs across the country are targeting and killing them simply for being different. But the country still wants more, still wants retribution. While secret plans are being hatched within the U.S. government, a citizen-led militia of thousands of people is planning to attack the settlement where many of the abnorms live. And in the settlement itself, the most notable abnorm—a brilliant terrorist unwilling to stop until the world realizes the absolute power of brilliants—plots ultimate chaos and destruction. Nick Cooper, a former detective who used to hide his own abilities as a brilliant to help the government track others like him who wished to do evil, understands why his fellow brilliants are angry. But at the same time, he cannot allow the world he knows, the world in which his family lives, to be destroyed by civil war. He'll do everything he can to fight his old nemeses to bring an end to the forces which want to harm the country—no matter what the cost. While this book is tremendously imaginative, much of its plot rings eerily familiar to current circumstances, with so many people fearful of all Muslims, demanding they be tracked, barred from entering the country, even killed. But this book explores both sides of the argument: Should years of mistreatment and abuse justify violence and destruction? Is it right to categorically fear what we don't know or understand? Is self-defense really a valid argument for attack? What I've loved so much about these books is that Sakey balances thought-provoking plot, pulse-pounding action, and truly complex, memorable characters, even the villains. By the third book I found myself truly attached to these characters I feel I've gotten to "know." Much like some other series, this book is definitely a bit darker than its predecessors, but that didn't dull my enjoyment in any way. And while I often feel books in a series can be read out of sequence, I'd definitely recommend picking up Brilliance , the first book, first, and then reading them in order to feel the full power of Sakey's storytelling. I won't soon forget this series, and I'll be interested to see what Sakey comes up with next. But in the meantime, I'll miss Nick, Natalie, Shannon, Bobby, Ethan, John Smith, the Epsteins, and so much more. Don't pass these books up. See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....

  5. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    I thought that this final book of the trilogy was a little better than the second book (which I thought was mainly a placeholder) but not as good as the first book. I don't think that there was enough plot for three books, but trilogies seem to be the norm these days. I was particularly troubled by a few things in this book. Among other things, the annoying love triangle was, unfortunately, still ongoing. The characters spent a lot of time explaining their positions to each other. The author reso I thought that this final book of the trilogy was a little better than the second book (which I thought was mainly a placeholder) but not as good as the first book. I don't think that there was enough plot for three books, but trilogies seem to be the norm these days. I was particularly troubled by a few things in this book. Among other things, the annoying love triangle was, unfortunately, still ongoing. The characters spent a lot of time explaining their positions to each other. The author resorted to the awful cliche of having a character, when confronting his target, pause to chat with him rather than just shooting him. Cooper, while conducting a commando raid, actually forgets he has a gun and just watches as one of the abnormals pulls one of his stunts to thwart the attack. The explanation of John Smith's actions made no sense at all. The chaos he caused over the course of several years (and three books) was completely unnecessary for him to achieve his ultimate goal. Maybe they will fix some of these weaknesses in the inevitable movie, but I doubt it. Ultimately, I thought these books took a good, but not terribly original, idea and dragged it out too long. There were too many lapses of logic along the way. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Blake Crouch

    Beginning with Brilliance and A Better World, and culminating in the pitch-perfect trilogy-finisher, Written in Fire, Marcus Sakey has created an astonishing achievement—a portrait of our world five minutes into the future. It’s a world exploding with technology and innovation, but imploding with the same fear and paranoia that threatens to destroy our world: fear of those who are different. What message could be more profound? These books are all thriller, with a perfect dusting of science fict Beginning with Brilliance and A Better World, and culminating in the pitch-perfect trilogy-finisher, Written in Fire, Marcus Sakey has created an astonishing achievement—a portrait of our world five minutes into the future. It’s a world exploding with technology and innovation, but imploding with the same fear and paranoia that threatens to destroy our world: fear of those who are different. What message could be more profound? These books are all thriller, with a perfect dusting of science fiction and social commentary, all underpinned with Sakey’s trademark gorgeous prose. For my money, this trilogy is one of the great works of commercial fiction ever put to page. Epic, compulsively readable, and thought-provoking to the very last sentence.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Adah Udechukwu

    Written in Fire is a 5 star novel.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    Copy provided by NetGalley. Wow, what a finish. (Or is it?) Readers should begin with the first book. Though Sakey does some recap at the beginning, to feel the emotional impact on the characters, and follow their development, the series needs to be read from the first. (Which starts off with a bang!) This wrap-up finishes in maximum overdrive, as one would expect from a science fictional thriller. The body count is right up there with video games, but unlike video games, there is an emotional and Copy provided by NetGalley. Wow, what a finish. (Or is it?) Readers should begin with the first book. Though Sakey does some recap at the beginning, to feel the emotional impact on the characters, and follow their development, the series needs to be read from the first. (Which starts off with a bang!) This wrap-up finishes in maximum overdrive, as one would expect from a science fictional thriller. The body count is right up there with video games, but unlike video games, there is an emotional and moral cost that the author doesn't flinch from examining. Further, he pays attention to how people get that way, and as always, it's the families who get the spotlight, which I find a refreshing change from the generic lone wolf hero whose family exists only to be fridged in order to inspire the trail of blood to follow. Most of those front and center are fighting to save their kids, and their world, which is fast going up in smoke. The storyline separates out into several strands, which Sakey does an excellent job of balancing. I never wanted to skip over one to pick up another. My only disappointment was the resolution of one thread (view spoiler)[I think we really, really needed to see the actual surrender of the Sons of Liberty in an entire scene. We also deserved to find out if Natalie did shoot Luke Hammond (hide spoiler)] . Everything else resolves in a satisfying manner, and while I though one relationship might have been too neatly decided (view spoiler)[Cooper and Natalie; I feared that Shannon would be conveniently red-shirted, and hoped that the three of them would work something out. But Sakey made it clear that Natalie and Cooper will remain friends, which will be good for the kids, and hey, maybe Natalie will find someone else. (hide spoiler)] , when I went back to reread portions I'd raced through to see what happened, I discovered the emotional progression pointing that way. The epilogue may or may not launch another series, but the ending itself was satisfying, allowing me to breathe a sigh of relief. It's full of strong women being intelligent and interesting, as well as the guys. The teenagers and kids are also well-drawn. This series would make a terrific three-season TV show: the screenplay would just about write itself.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    This trilogy was enjoyable in the way most action packed summer blockbusters are. However, Written in Fire was the weakest of the three in terms of consistency, logic and overall charm. The first two-thirds of the book was just as enjoyable as the previous two stories—Brilliance and A Better World. Written in Fire suffers from serious issues with characters completely diverting from their originally established personality traits, and not in a good way. I found myself cringing throughout the last This trilogy was enjoyable in the way most action packed summer blockbusters are. However, Written in Fire was the weakest of the three in terms of consistency, logic and overall charm. The first two-thirds of the book was just as enjoyable as the previous two stories—Brilliance and A Better World. Written in Fire suffers from serious issues with characters completely diverting from their originally established personality traits, and not in a good way. I found myself cringing throughout the last 100 or so pages and was glad to have finished this story arc when I did because I wasn't confident in my ability to handle any more of Nick Cooper's heroism. Part of me believes that Sakey simply lost himself in the story and identified with Cooper so intimately that he couldn't help but turn him into–quite literally–the sole person responsible for saving the world. Below are the issues I had with the book, including details that count as spoilers, so readers: consider yourselves warned. . . . . I love reading. Being consumed by a story and staying up till late on a worknight just to finish one more chapter is one of my favorite pastimes. As an avid reader of fiction, I'm able to shelve my grasp on "reality" in order to enjoy a compelling story. Rarely do I even find myself bothered by characters making irrational decisions, regardless of if it goes against how their character has been established leading up to a certain point. But dammit, there were just too many inconsistencies here, and in a story that relies on characters following certain paths based on their particular genetic mutation. Eric Epstein, the world's richest man, has made his wealth because he's able to digest vast amounts of data to determine things such as stock futures and coming trends. Shannon is able to "see" vectors that allow her to anticipate movement so she's able to move fluidly without being seen. John Smith, other than having the most generic name ever, is a master strategist that never sets himself up for failure (except for that one time he did.) Nick Cooper, our protagonist, can identify subtle patterns within people's twitches and gestures, allowing him to understand their intentions. Soren's mind works so much faster than everyone else's that 11 seconds to him seems like just seem like 1 second to us, which somehow also enables him to quite literally dodge bullets. All of these super cool and interesting things fall apart in the final part of this trilogy, and everything we learned about these people and their unique capabilities is thrown out the window. Here are the things that bother me most about Written in Fire, in no particular order: - Epstein is able to use data to predict basically everything that happens in the world—except for a ragtag militia of non-abnorms calling his bluff on the finger missile strikes, amongst other things. - Speaking of Epstein, the supposed smartest man on the planet is consistently outwitted by non-abnorms throughout pretty much the entirety of this book. - So Epstein and the NCH release a bulletin advising citizens to retreat to Tesla and hunker down for the inevitable invasion of the SOL. Except for the 600+ children living on the outskirts in what's essentially a makeshift refugee camp. (HUH?!?) - Not only that, but of these children somewhere around 300 of them had been rescued from an academy. The other half came from within the NCH and volunteered/were volunteered to buddy up with the rescued children to help with their rehabilitation. I guess these kids were just abandoned by their families who were bunkered at Tesla? - Nick Cooper does too much. He escapes death numerous times, ends the conflict and negotiates a treaty between the NCH and USA, kills all the main bad guys, bangs all of the women in his life without repercussion and constantly does what makes other characters abnorm better than them. - Cooper also gets away with too much. What bothered me the most was the relationship he has with Natalie (his ex-wife, mother of his children and a normal) and Shannon (his sexy little badass spy-chick). Throughout the series he expresses love for both of them. He has sex with both of them. Not once does he show regret for the affair until the very end—when Natalie, who had previously told Nick that he has always and continues to love him, changes her mind and no longer wants to reestablish their relationship. Oh, and she tells him this THE MOMENT BEFORE Nick was going to break it to her that he wants to be with Shannon (probably because she's younger and childless, no doubt). - Other things Cooper gets away with: he escapes death when his heart is punctured, thanks to some kind of voodoo magic medicine or something idk. He has the ear of two presidents and Epstein, with all of them seemingly bowing down and doing whatever he tells them to. The NCH and Tesla is undergoing siege from an invading force that has full intention of killing them all and burning the city to the ground, yet Cooper is able to sneak past the ONE security guy posted at the elevator that goes straight to Epstein's lair. - When the SOL breaches into Tesla, the city's citizens are suddenly able to perform like trained soldiers. Lawyers, bakers, accountants and stay-at-home moms keep their cool under fire and successfully stall an invasion by brutish men of which many are ex-military. - Cooper–who had supposedly made most of his decisions based on his intention of protecting his family–actually leaves his family to go fight the bad guys with his new side chick. In fact, he has no idea where Natalie is when fighting breaks out between the two sides. And he never even recognizes this fact. It appeared as though he simply didn't care, but I betcha he would care if she had been killed and he was suddenly responsible for his kids when all he wanted was to span the globe on special missions with Shannon. - The secretary of defense was able to convince the POTUS and entire JCOS that the military had been so retrograded that there was nothing to be done? He was able to single-handedly give attack orders to a combined force of over 70,000+ soldiers, including Air Force, Army and Marine assets? No. Just...no. Those are ten things that really bugged me about the last chapter of the Brilliance saga. There were several more instances that stuck out, but I think you get the picture. Overall the book wasn't bad. The first 2/3rds was just as intriguing and interesting ad the first two books, but the cheesy lines and illogical decisions made by certain characters in the last act really left me wanting more. Final vote: 2.5 Stars

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    this is how a trilogy should be written! You definitely want to read the first 2 books before reading this one-it's not really a standalone read. Lots of action, the characters blossom and I had a hard time putting it down. Will miss this storyline but Sakey certainly did it justice. this is how a trilogy should be written! You definitely want to read the first 2 books before reading this one-it's not really a standalone read. Lots of action, the characters blossom and I had a hard time putting it down. Will miss this storyline but Sakey certainly did it justice.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Immediate spoiler for A Better World! It is juxtaposition that weighs heavy on my heart – how I like Nick Cooper a lot because he’s That Cop and I enjoy rooting for That Cop, but how I also wish he was dead. Like a bummer of a record stuck in the same skip, I just can’t review this book without getting this out of the way – I wish the dude was dead. I am still bitter about it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with him. He’s got the requisite ex-wife and kids, he originally believed in th Immediate spoiler for A Better World! It is juxtaposition that weighs heavy on my heart – how I like Nick Cooper a lot because he’s That Cop and I enjoy rooting for That Cop, but how I also wish he was dead. Like a bummer of a record stuck in the same skip, I just can’t review this book without getting this out of the way – I wish the dude was dead. I am still bitter about it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with him. He’s got the requisite ex-wife and kids, he originally believed in the rightness of his mission, then had his his faith shaken, then started to see the world differently and now he doesn't know What Side He's On. When Millicent, the little girl who can read people too well for her age and is thus jaded & monstrous calls him “pure” – well, of course she does, because that’s who he is. He’s the one who does the bad things only because he has to. He doesn’t like to be a meanie and torture people and all that, but sometimes the world demands it, and when the killing’s done, he can go home and have a wry yet tender relationship with his ex and play with his kids. Ok, now that that's out of the way, this was a swell book until the end. It’s not often that books make me talk out loud to the room at large and this one had me say, “Oh, that’s bad,” not once but twice, so it’s got that going for it. I was thinking that it was practically a four-star book because I’m mad for a good vector of infection, but on the other hand, the end is a little too pat for me. (view spoiler)[In the midst of the fighting in the Holdfast, I would’ve liked maybe a little of the cavalry charge from, say, Natalie’s perspective? To go from her believing that it was basically all over and that she was going to have to fight to the death but then it’s a little while later & everything is A-OK because Nick saved the day with his broadcast was a bit much for me. Wouldn’t the time when everyone was transfixed by their d-pads watching Nick be the best time for the NSOL (ugh) to finish their so-far-triumphant charge? It’s too pat to say, well the military showed up just in time & bluffed & everyone who’d been thus far prepared to messily slaughter everyone in Tesla just stood down like NBD. (hide spoiler)] This gave me a lot of the same feeling that Abbadon’s Gate did, which was the reason I wanted to take a bit of a break from that series. The impotent rage I feel over dudes with guns that put everyone else in danger (view spoiler)[the death of Sam, the use here of children as human shields after killing most of the adults who were taking care of them (hide spoiler)] & the justification of war & horror because someone else struck first & you need to get revenge – it’s probably monstrous of me, but I was totally unable to relate to Luke's actions or the actions of any of the other militia guys no matter whom they’d lost on December 1st even as I found the deaths of Luke's sons and "The thousands of times you told them you loved them provided no shelter" to be completely heartbreaking. I hate the concept of the New Sons of Liberty and militia bullshit with every fiber of my being, so I’m a total hypocrite and I was never going to be the person rooting for the “patriots.” But the epilogue had me swooning because it’s PERFECT (view spoiler)[although I was thinking that John had told Hawk that it was Tabitha who was supposed to intercept Soren when he was freed so the reader knows that she’s been killed but Hawk doesn’t. Any thoughts on that? Was that Tabitha or not? (hide spoiler)] so the high end of three stars on this one. On the whole, a fine series that ended well if you look past the forced ease of the end of the entire catalyst that drove the series in the first place.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    I enjoyed the first two books of the "Brilliance" trilogy, but "Written in Fire" fell a bit flat for me. The first two books do a good job of world-building, showing how the brilliants have influenced and changed the world and how the "normals" have worked to oppress them. With a variety of fresh and intriguing characters, as well as mixed media such as advertisements and social media, the first two books establish this world and the perils both brilliants and normals face. "Written in Fire" is m I enjoyed the first two books of the "Brilliance" trilogy, but "Written in Fire" fell a bit flat for me. The first two books do a good job of world-building, showing how the brilliants have influenced and changed the world and how the "normals" have worked to oppress them. With a variety of fresh and intriguing characters, as well as mixed media such as advertisements and social media, the first two books establish this world and the perils both brilliants and normals face. "Written in Fire" is much more focused on Cooper and the militia, the New Sons of Liberty, that is determined to attack the New Canaan Holdfast, where many brilliants live. I've always found Cooper a bit annoying as the hero - he is *too* heroic, if you know what I mean, with a perfect family, an understanding ex-wife, a beautiful and talented lover. But in "Written in Fire," Cooper's self-righteousness is absurdly over the top, to the point where I kept rolling my eyes at his antics. I preferred the other POVs, especially Natalie and Owen Leahy, who are both intriguing characters. I liked that Sakey developed Natalie more, showing how a "regular" mom can become courageous under fire. My biggest problem with the book was John Smith's absurd, villainous plan. (view spoiler)[So, so much of it did not make sense. If you want to make the country into brilliants, you don't need to provoke a war - just do what ended up happening anyway, and send a few people into different parts of the country with the virus. Smith's plans in the first two books made much sense than the final reveal in "Written in Fire." I also disliked that the story isn't really resolved. Was it really necessary to send Hawk - already a poorly developed character - out into the world to infect Americans with the brilliant virus? I assume we'll be getting more of Hawk in a future series - but I'm not sure I really will care enough to read it. (hide spoiler)] The climactic battle scene was fine, but I preferred the quieter moments in the series. I was a little disappointed that there had to be a final battle. But I did appreciate the metaphor of a militia of gun owners trying to take out people who they felt were "different." The best parts of the Brilliance trilogy are the subtle political commentary on the modern world, and Sakey does a good job using social media etc. to parallel social issues in today's world. So, while there were a few glimpses of brilliance (ha, ha) in "Written in Fire," it was mostly an okay ending to the trilogy. If the book had been more like the first two, and showed a broader view of the world than just the New Canaan Holdfast, I think it would have provided a more full and fitting ending to an otherwise exciting trilogy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    The Behrg

    I'm one of those many readers who fell in love with this series w/ its first installment. While the premise isn't overtly original (substitute "brilliants" with "mutants" in any X-Men comic and you'd have pretty much have the same story), the execution and colorful characters really made the whole thing gel. It was a smart thriller series and a lot of fun to read. The end to the trilogy for me, however, sucked all the fun right out of it. I felt this book fell into so many cliches, from terrible I'm one of those many readers who fell in love with this series w/ its first installment. While the premise isn't overtly original (substitute "brilliants" with "mutants" in any X-Men comic and you'd have pretty much have the same story), the execution and colorful characters really made the whole thing gel. It was a smart thriller series and a lot of fun to read. The end to the trilogy for me, however, sucked all the fun right out of it. I felt this book fell into so many cliches, from terrible dialogue to hero journeys to an end of the world scheme through weaponizing a flu virus (wow, are we back in the 90's?!?). If the first book in the series had read like this one, I wouldn't have stuck around for more. Add to it that much of the technological aspects, which were cleverly researched in the first two books, were just passed over in this one. It felt hurried, under-developed, and more like a draft than a final product. It's sad to see a good thing end but worse to watch it go down in flames. Sadly, if there is another book in this series (which there probably will be) I won't be jumping along for the ride. 2 1/2 stars out of 5.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    A limp weak ending to a promising series, at least for me. I really liked the first one, was on board with the second (though I thought it was also weaker than the first--and my mother who enjoyed the first too, gave up midway through A Better World with a "eh, I'm done with this"), but this third one barely made it over the finish line and I had to struggle to keep going with it, which is rare for me in last book to a trilogy. Maybe the movie will be better, and I see it's under development and A limp weak ending to a promising series, at least for me. I really liked the first one, was on board with the second (though I thought it was also weaker than the first--and my mother who enjoyed the first too, gave up midway through A Better World with a "eh, I'm done with this"), but this third one barely made it over the finish line and I had to struggle to keep going with it, which is rare for me in last book to a trilogy. Maybe the movie will be better, and I see it's under development and with book dedicated to Joss Whedon (which seems a little kiss ass, but whatever) maybe will film better than it reads. I grew to not like Cooper at all--found him sanctimonious and in times of like great danger and minutes were counting down on thousands, if not millions of lives, he needed to take time out to lecture people on their moral failings, when it seems to me his hands are just as bloody as everyone else's, if not more, or go out for ice cream with his adorable tots. Cooper's power is basically the same as Timothy Roth in Lie to Me, where he's really good at figuring out people's thoughts via microexpressions--but it's amped here to be almost psychic badass, aka the Super McGuffinMan. Though don't think too deeply about the ramifications of events, because the book doesn't really either. There's a note to reader at the end on how he came up with the idea for this book, but really it's: Except instead of fireworks a la Jubilee, the brilliants of this alternate Earth can instantly tell how many bristles are on a toothbrush or are really successful prostitutes or can make their way through crowds really well. Anyone that ranks as a "brilliant" or the slur "twist" gets shipped off to an "academy" where they are given a new name, and are abused and bullied until they have no self worth--still no real resolution with this--and can be killed or lynched with no repurcussions. The stock market is no more (literally and figuratively after the bombings in the last book) because one brilliant can instantly intuit data and thus has more money than God and has purchased Wyoming from the government and set up a haven for briliants, in the new capital of Tesla. Erik was my favorite character, but as much as could have been done with the people in these books, it eventually felt superficial. The evil men pulling strings on the normal side, fearing humanity about to go the way of Neanderthal, manipulated events to have bombing runs done on Tesla, but the brilliants there basically hit the switch to turn their own weapons against them = 75,000 US military dead and the White House in rubble, which is where this book picks up. But it's very surface level of emotion--since throughout this book, Cooper feels the need to bring it up constantly. So what exactly were the people of Tesla to do? Just lay down and die and not hit the "deflector shield" button? I grew tired with the constant "how could you!" back and forths--naturally an angry gun nutty rape happy militia is raised and 20,000 people show up to wipe the brilliants off the face of the earth, with toddler human shields. Yet these are supposed to be the good guys too and we're torn between factions? I think the author tried to make this trilogy be all shades of grey where we don't root for one side over the other, but there is just one side raping, murdering old people and plotting to burn alive 600 little kids. There's a really lame love triangle. I liked how in the preceding two books, Cooper and his ex-wife were able to be congenial and on same page with their kids and not have angsty romance, since that role was filled with his love for the evil Magneto like terrorist John Smith's henchwoman Shannon. Obviously I jinxed myself, since probably a third of this book is him trying to decide who he loves more. Hot girlfriend or fetishized Mother of My Children? (Also...the end of this book made ALL of John Smith's previous plans moot--if he was going for that all along, then what was the point of all his other schemes?) When Cooper should have been worried about bigger stakes--like genocide or the fate of the world (and it was kind of annoying how you never saw how brilliants affected other countries--if it was 1% of all population affected, then how come US was the end all be all of action?), instead girlfriend or mother of my beautiful children? Who to pick... Which got resolved like everything else in this series in a lame way. Natalie, even though in all the previous books, was pretty much just good mom/supportive ex-wife, here turns into badass soldier/sniper, who gets put right at the front of the attack of militia sent to murder her children, and while Cooper is busy whining and scolding and having drama with his girlfriend, she is setting people on fire and being a one woman rooftop killing machine, which also felt...dumb. (view spoiler)[ Oh, and all the militia are pardoned and allowed to go home, because need to find closure, bleh (hide spoiler)] Also I see where he was going with shocking ending pretty early on, but it didn't have heft or punch to it. Not sorry I read these, but don't think much re-read value (though I will probably see movie, especially if Whedon directs or preferably writes it).

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe Slavinsky

    I don't have a lot to say about this roller-coaster thrill ride, as I'm still gasping for breath. Suffice to say that the whole trilogy was BRILLIANT! I don't have a lot to say about this roller-coaster thrill ride, as I'm still gasping for breath. Suffice to say that the whole trilogy was BRILLIANT!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sally Ember

    I really liked the first book Brilliance of this trilogy and looked forward to reading this conclusion Written in Fire very much after having read the second one A Better World. I was only slightly disappointed in the second one, in that it devolved into a lot of fighting/conflicts and villains vs. not-villains kinds of tropes and got away from the importance of the premise. But, instead of improving and going back to the story I wanted to know more about---how it was to live in a family, a comm I really liked the first book Brilliance of this trilogy and looked forward to reading this conclusion Written in Fire very much after having read the second one A Better World. I was only slightly disappointed in the second one, in that it devolved into a lot of fighting/conflicts and villains vs. not-villains kinds of tropes and got away from the importance of the premise. But, instead of improving and going back to the story I wanted to know more about---how it was to live in a family, a community, a state, a nation, a world, in which a small but significant percentage of the population were obviously gifted in ways the rest would never be (purportedly)---instead, Mr. Sakey Marcus Sakey decided to go even further down the very uninteresting route of so many sci-fi and fantasy novels these days: violence and sociopathology played out large. It was even worse in this concluding book, which I found so tedious, boring and repetitive that I skimmed all the fight scenes The romantic triangle (such as it was) was very under-written and overly simplified, with a very neat bow tying it up; not at all like "real life." Since I had brought this one and the second on vacation with me and finished them both, his writing and the stories were gripping enough that I kept reading. Both could have been so much better.... If you like sci-fi and fighting, you will probably like this, but it is very disappointing as a conclusion.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenny - Book Sojourner

    Listened to the audiobook... 'Written in Fire' is the exciting, gripping, action-packed conclusion to the Brilliance trilogy. And exciting it was! I listened to this on audiobook while working out, and it made me want to work out longer just so I could continue the book. Luke Daniels is a phenomenal narrator, and one of my favorites. Where we were left off at the end of book two was quite intense. White House destroyed? Check. Multitude of dead? Check. Encroaching Civil War? Check. This can't pos Listened to the audiobook... 'Written in Fire' is the exciting, gripping, action-packed conclusion to the Brilliance trilogy. And exciting it was! I listened to this on audiobook while working out, and it made me want to work out longer just so I could continue the book. Luke Daniels is a phenomenal narrator, and one of my favorites. Where we were left off at the end of book two was quite intense. White House destroyed? Check. Multitude of dead? Check. Encroaching Civil War? Check. This can't possibly end well, can it? Nick Cooper has got his hands full. The Brilliants versus Non-Brilliants controversy has reached its pinnacle, and if there is a way for the United States to avoid a full-blown war and an even greater death toll on both sides, Nick is going to have to dig deep, along with his cohorts, and come up with a solution. Sorry Nick, no rest for the weary. I found this conclusion to be entirely engaging and exciting. I loved Nick Cooper and getting his perspective. Nick isn't perfect, and his personal life was a bit of a mess, but he so genuinely wants to do the right thing for the world, and for brilliants and non-brilliants alike, that his humanity shines through. He's the kind of protagonist you can't help but root for. We also get some great perspectives from other characters, really rounding out the story, whether from good guys or bad guys or just characters with insights that really made you think. I also appreciated that the conclusion wasn't wrapped up in a nice bow. Life isn't that simple. But the things that were resolved were terrific. This trilogy was a great ride, and I truly enjoyed it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    The conclusion (?) to the Brilliance trilogy, although Sakey did leave the door open for further books, if he does not find success with another character. Terrorist John Smith wants the persecution of brilliants/twists to stop, and seems to be several steps ahead of everyone by grabbing some scientific research. Meanwhile, a ragtag group of militia are making a move on the New Canaan Holdfast of billionaire Erik Epstein using unorthodox means to combat the defenses. Our hero Nick Cooper has to The conclusion (?) to the Brilliance trilogy, although Sakey did leave the door open for further books, if he does not find success with another character. Terrorist John Smith wants the persecution of brilliants/twists to stop, and seems to be several steps ahead of everyone by grabbing some scientific research. Meanwhile, a ragtag group of militia are making a move on the New Canaan Holdfast of billionaire Erik Epstein using unorthodox means to combat the defenses. Our hero Nick Cooper has to intercede to stop the escalation into all-out war. I found this last book a little slow at times, caring not a whit about the militia nor about Nick's feelings for his ex-wife and killer girlfriend. I liked the further development of Soren as a character, but felt Millie's role was marginalized. I liked the afterword where Sakey disclosed that he and Blake Crouch of Wayward Pines trilogy fame developed their stories together during a hike in 2010.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Norman

    Written in Fire is the third novel of Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance Trilogy and boy does he end this trilogy with a bang. The first book in this trilogy Brilliance ranks as one of my favorite books of all time and although Written in Fire does not reach the heights of the first novel, it comes darn close. Part Science Fiction, action thriller, with a dash of futurism, politics, psychology and military action, the entire Brilliance Saga is a thinly veiled allegory of human nature and society’s innate Written in Fire is the third novel of Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance Trilogy and boy does he end this trilogy with a bang. The first book in this trilogy Brilliance ranks as one of my favorite books of all time and although Written in Fire does not reach the heights of the first novel, it comes darn close. Part Science Fiction, action thriller, with a dash of futurism, politics, psychology and military action, the entire Brilliance Saga is a thinly veiled allegory of human nature and society’s innate ability to unite and turn against the metaphorical them. In this, Sakey explores the divisions of our society, exposes the faultlines running through civilization and pokes at them such that the veneer of civilization melts away , leaving the reader with borderline chaos. It is the flirtation of the abyss that makes Written in Fire so compelling, almost like watching a train wreck happen and being powerless to stop it. Coupled with brilliant (pun intended) characterization driving the plot along, Written in Fire accomplishes the impossible and closes an already spectacular trilogy out on a high note. For the uninitiated the Brilliance trilogy is focused on the appearance of a group of people known as the abnorms or brilliants. Starting in the year 1980, one percent of the world are born with amazing, savant like gifts, ways of thinking, organizing information, cataloging of data, reacting differently to surrounding stimuli etc. They were not born with Xmen like powers, i.e, no one is shooting optic blasts out of their eyes or manipulating magnetism, but the most powerful Brilliants possess the ability to quickly sense patterns in the stock market, thereby crashing the market, or being the tactical equivalent of Hannibal, Julius Ceasar, Alexander the Great combined. Others have the ability to recognize body language in others, allowing them to discern hidden motives and intentions of other people. While, others are able to identify vectors in a crowd, effectively shifting to where people are not paying attention, thereby remaining invisible. Some are born just flat out geniuses, able to create new technology, see programing code as if it were a simple song etc. Even though the population of Brilliants is small, only about 1% of the population of the world, they are a seen as a threat to the rest of us, the normal, people born without their great gifts. As a result, and as with any minority group they are both persecuted and loved for their gifts while also immensely feared, and on both sides Brilliant and normal there are voices pushing for War, a way to remake the world order with one group permanently dominating the other. At the onset of Written In Fire, the first salvos of the War have already been fired. The White House is a smoking ruin, destroyed by a commandeered missile launched from a US submarine by the Brilliants from their sanctuary in Wyoming. Thousands of American troops laying siege to the Brilliant’s sanctuary have also been slaughtered when the Brilliants turned their own weapons against them. (Unbeknownst to the public these attacks where in self-defense after the Defense Secretary ordered the soldiers surrounding the Brilliants Sanctuary to attack.) Madison Square Garden is a concentration camp, riots are breaking out all over the country, the Speaker of the House is the new president, and food shortages and fear are gripping the country. Brilliants the country over are being blamed for the deaths of the soldiers and the attempted decapitation of the Government, lynchings, beatings etc are now common place. To make matters worse, a rightwing militia bent on revenge is now marching on the Brilliants sanctuary in Wyoming seeking to wipe every Brilliant , man ,woman and child off the map. Yes, this world stinks. All the while there is one hope, as a genius scientist has discovered how to make normal people Brilliants, and a race ensues to find this man before his research can be coopted for nefarious ends. Whew! The board has been set for a great novel and this one does not disappoint. However great the plot, what drives this novel forward is the well written characters. The author does a great job writing believable and real characters, ones that we all can relate to. We intimately know the motivations of all the main characters, their fears, their wishes and what drives each of them. The heroes in the novel are expertly described, their motivations and desires laid bare for the reader to understand and relate to. For instance, driving the main character Nick Cooper, is the desire to protect his family, every action stems from this, it drives every morally ambiguous decision he makes yet as a father it is a decision I could certainly relate to. Cooper also serves as the moral center of the novel, twisted as that may be, revealing to both sides, Brilliant and Human, that sanitized decisions made at the highest levels of power have real impact on the lives of the people the powerful are trying to protect. Torn between both worlds, all Cooper wants is peace and he will fight to the death trying to avert a war that seems all but inevitable. However, heroes aside, the highlight of the novel are the villains of which there are many. The villains are multi-faceted each with come with competing yet understandable agendas. The author takes the time to paint a great picture on each of them detailing what motivates their goals, and why they all think the way they do. As with the heroes of the novel, you know exactly what drives the villains and I could easily see their points of view if I placed myself in their shoes. At the onset of the novel, I thought for instance that I was going to hate the leaders of the Right Wing militia leading the charge against the New Canaan Holdfast, the sanctuary of the Brilliants, but I remembered 9/11. I remembered the rage I felt that day when the Twin Towers were hit, the thirst for revenge at times clouding basic reason. Placing myself in that frame of mind, I imagined a world where in a single day the White House was destroyed, the president and many of the cabinet killed, a world where the Stock Exchange was bombed a few weeks before, a couple of American cities lay under siege by Brilliant Terrorists, and to top it all off, I lost both my sons in the Desert of Wyoming to a sneak attack. Putting myself in their shoes, I felt these people, though still deranged, their pain and what drove them. I may not have liked them or even wanted them to win, but I understood them. This was a nice touch. Even the uber-Villain John Smith, comes across as less a nihilist terrorist but more of a deranged visionary, a man who believes that given human nature the prospects for peace are small, with society’s institutions to corrupt and engrained to embrace the change needed to instill and maintain peace. In his mind perhaps it is just better to burn the whole thing down and start all over. Crazy, but given John’s background the atrocities committed against his people and what he went through, I understood once again where he was coming from. All of the major characters are written like this, you as a reader know what drives them and why, you know their innermost fears, their wants and desires and this makes for a fulfilling book. The characters are not just plot devices but living breathing people. Great job. Sakey also does a great job showcasing the downsides of Brilliance, none moreso than the character of Soren, a character who experiences eleven seconds for every one second of our own. Soren more than anything embodies the tragic character of the novel, a person so cut off and isolated from the beauty that arises from simple human interaction such as simple communication and art that it has made him effectively a monster. Imagine living life never able to comprehend music or even simple communication with your neighbor as their every word or musical note are mashed together in incomprehensible gibberish. On the flip side, we have Millie a reader of amazing power. Imagine that you are able to read the thoughts and intentions of the people around you, but you can’t turn off the power. As such, you are always bombarded with the thoughts and intentions of those around you, inundating you with their wants and desires, always in danger of supplanting your own. Imagine how isolating both of these abilities would be, a point brought home powerfully in the novel. As I mentioned earlier, the Trilogy in my opinion is a thinly veiled allegory about society, and the ability of civilization to turn in on itself and eat its own rather than come together. In the novel we see the brilliants effectively serving as the “other”, a strictly powerful “other”, but an “other” nonetheless. Substitute any persecuted group, in today’s political discussion and you can see how Sakey subtly weaves in the themes of alienation, tribalism, group identification and the human tendency to fear the unknown. Fearing persecution it is only natural for an oppressed or minority group to seek refuge among them, i.e form a minority enclave, which we see happens in the novel, but this enclave ironically only fosters more suspicion and mistrust among the majority. Taking these disparate themes and running with him, Sakey shows that unless we overcome our fear and mistrust of those different than ourselves, we are effectively bringing to past the very future we all claim that we are trying to avoid. We are in a sense rushing towards the abyss with the best of intentions at heart. The fault lines in his fictional society are laid bare and the very idea of community, what it means to be a nation or a country are vividly at stake. Sakey also shows how radical or the loudest voices on both sides of a discussion inevitably drive conflict whereas the voice in the middle, the silent voice in the middle is asking for peace and simply to raise their children in safety. Sprinkling in a little commentary of foreign policy by proxy, Sakey also shows how third party allies inevitably have different goals than their sponsor, a potent lesson for contemporary foreign policy makers the world over. All in all, the themes in this series and book are applicable to our world today in a real and viable way. If I had to fault this book, I would have to say that the ending of the novel and the final cessation of conflict comes across as simply too easy. I won’t spoil it, but I’m not sure that a moment of appealing to the better angels of our nature would have worked as effectively as the novel portends. Possibly, but I am more cynical of human nature. Likewise, the budding love triangle in the novel is tidied up a little to nicely, but it does work. The epilogue though powerful is a little too open ended for my taste. I would have preferred more closure, but that is just me. All in all, Written in Fire is an amazing book and a fitting conclusion to the Brilliance Trilogy. I cannot praise this book highly enough and I give it my most enthusiastic recommendation. This trilogy has cemented itself among my favorite trilogies of all time. Thanks for creating and sharing this world with all of us Mr. Sakey, books and series like this are why I love to read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    I'm happy to see this finale was a return to form. Book two, A Better World, left a lot to be desired with it's high cheese content, gaping plot holes and too many requests of the reader to suspend belief. As has been the case with each subsequent novel, this picks up right where the last one left off. The world is approaching an apocalypse, with Norms and Abnorms fighting for dominance and even the right to survive. Leading the charge for the Norms is Secretary of State Leahy, unbeknownst to the I'm happy to see this finale was a return to form. Book two, A Better World, left a lot to be desired with it's high cheese content, gaping plot holes and too many requests of the reader to suspend belief. As has been the case with each subsequent novel, this picks up right where the last one left off. The world is approaching an apocalypse, with Norms and Abnorms fighting for dominance and even the right to survive. Leading the charge for the Norms is Secretary of State Leahy, unbeknownst to the new POTUS who got promoted when (view spoiler)[the Abnorms blew up D.C. at the end of book 2. (hide spoiler)] President Ramirez is a good woman, but Leahy is of the strong opinion that she's too soft on the opposition and so he directs a savage strike against the Brilliants' stronghold himself. Meanwhile, Nick Cooper retains his role as world's oldest boy scout as he fights to prevent an all-out civil war. Cooper's family is staying in the relative safety of New Tesla, the capital of the New Canaan Holdfast in Wyoming where the highest concentration of Brilliants reside. Riots and violence are taking place everywhere in the country; entire cities have been cut off, leaving its residents without power, food or water. Cooper knows the key to stopping the madness is to get to the leader of the Brilliants' war-wanting faction, John Smith, but the man is utterly elusive. Perhaps he can instead use Smith's oldest friend and only confidante, the Brilliant assassin Soren, whose extrahuman capability is time: one second to everyone else is 11 seconds to him. How do you find - and stop - an assassin who experiences everything in slow motion? Action-packed and a lot of fun. This book was MUCH better than book 2, and although Sakey isn't everybody's cup of tea (looking at you, Aristotle my friend), it's an enjoyable ride as long as you don't work too hard to pick it apart.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Nick Cooper is still trying to stop a war between the "normals" in society and the Brilliants with special abilities. Since it is the final installment of the series, there are a lot of things going on. We've got a slimy politician as Secretary of Defense that wants a "small war" to end the conflict and get the Brilliants under his control/slavery. He is willing to let a large militia invade the holdfast where a large group of brilliants lives. Then there is Epstein, the leader of the holdfast, Nick Cooper is still trying to stop a war between the "normals" in society and the Brilliants with special abilities. Since it is the final installment of the series, there are a lot of things going on. We've got a slimy politician as Secretary of Defense that wants a "small war" to end the conflict and get the Brilliants under his control/slavery. He is willing to let a large militia invade the holdfast where a large group of brilliants lives. Then there is Epstein, the leader of the holdfast, who really is just trying to keep his community alive. He made some choices in the last book that has led to the entire "normal" nation, blaming him and the holdfast for thousands of deaths - thus, the militia outside his gates. Then there is John Smith and his group. He is a brilliant strategist that has been setting up this war for years. He's got his hands on a virus that would turn all normals into Brilliants and he is just waiting for the powder keg to blow so he can unleash it. Nick Cooper is right in the middle of all of this - he needs to kill John Smith and destroy the virus before it can be released, and all before the militia marches through town and kills all the (mostly) women and children in the holdfast. As far as this installment in the series goes, it took me a while to get into it. The first half of the book is everyone running around trying to get their hands on this serum that will change everyone into a brilliant and thus end the need for a war. But....I had a really hard time believing that it would do that, so I felt like the characters were wasting their time. I also felt like John Smith's character was just too powerful to beat and (view spoiler)[ it turned out I was right. (hide spoiler)] All in all, I thought this series was pretty interesting. It sort of makes me sad to think that should humanity jump forward evolutionary like this that the "normals" would persecute the gifted to this extent - I'm especially sad because I think it would probably happen, despite the obvious benefits to society as a whole. Sometimes I wonder how humanity has even survived this long given how destructive we are to one another.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Book Haunt

    This is more a wrap-up of the entire trilogy than just this book since I never reviewed the first two books. The first book in The Brilliance Trilogy, Brilliance is about a small percentage of people in the world who are labeled as “brilliants”, as opposed to those who don’t and are considered “norms”. Brilliants have extraordinary senses which can be used in good ways or bad. Nick Cooper, who is a brilliant, uses his skills working as an agent to help the U.S. government track down other brillia This is more a wrap-up of the entire trilogy than just this book since I never reviewed the first two books. The first book in The Brilliance Trilogy, Brilliance is about a small percentage of people in the world who are labeled as “brilliants”, as opposed to those who don’t and are considered “norms”. Brilliants have extraordinary senses which can be used in good ways or bad. Nick Cooper, who is a brilliant, uses his skills working as an agent to help the U.S. government track down other brilliants that use their extrasensory powers to commit evil acts. Nick and his partner find themselves tracking a terrorist who has bombed a restaurant, killing many innocent men, women and children. As the investigation unfolds and government secrets come to light, Nick finds himself questioning whether he works for the good guys or the bad guys. 4/5 stars In the second book in the series, A Better World, Nick became an advisor to the President of the United States. The world’s growing fear of brilliants has escalated due to the activities of a terrorist known as John Smith. Nick works with the government to bring down John Smith, but it’s still questionable which side Nick should be fighting for in order to keep his family and the rest of the world safe. 4/5 stars Written in Fire is the final book in Marcus Sakey’s trilogy. The White House is in ruins. The President has been killed. Cities have been taken over. The brilliants have become feared and are being persecuted by normal people everywhere. The United States is close to civil war. Nick has lost his job and come close to dying. While working to end the terrorism and stop a war, Nick must find the one person who may have a solution to bringing peace to the nation. 3.5/5 stars Nick Cooper is a good hero and the dynamics between Nick, his children, his girlfriend, his ex-wife, his co-workers and even the terrorists are wonderfully written. We care about Nick because he genuinely cares about what is best for all of them. Nick isn’t always right and he doesn’t always come out on top. We get glimpses of how the government, the populace and the bad guys think and what defines their actions. There is always that gnawing question of which side is right. Does either side have all the answers? In the world today, we are experiencing terrible acts between people more and more frequently, whether it is over race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. The Brilliance Trilogy can be applied to any of these as an example of what can happen between two disparate groups of people and how far out of control it can become. While the first two books were amazing, hold-on-by-the-seat-of-your-pants thrillers, this third and final installment failed to excite me in the same way. Most of the great action already happened and there is nothing original added here. It seemed like the storyline grew tiring at this point. However, the series as a whole is definitely a worthy read and even though it’s labeled as a trilogy, the author did leave us with one hanging tidbit that may lead to another book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Eve Gravel

    So really, this book is at 2.5 stars. Spoilers beyond this point, be warned. So I came to the Brilliance saga looking for entertainment. The print/audio book equivalent of a well crafted action movie. I wasn't even looking for Fifth Element or Starship Troopers quality here my friends--just a little brain vacation. The first two installments of Sakey's series did just that; a mashup of Season 1 Heroes and 24. Then book 3 just kind of went of the rails... I mean it's become preeeetty clear that Nic So really, this book is at 2.5 stars. Spoilers beyond this point, be warned. So I came to the Brilliance saga looking for entertainment. The print/audio book equivalent of a well crafted action movie. I wasn't even looking for Fifth Element or Starship Troopers quality here my friends--just a little brain vacation. The first two installments of Sakey's series did just that; a mashup of Season 1 Heroes and 24. Then book 3 just kind of went of the rails... I mean it's become preeeetty clear that Nick Cooper is (potentially one of many--I have never read his other books) Sakey's beloved Mary Sue. The man does TOO MUCH. Escape death? Check; super-secret-brilliant-science-medicine. "Get her back"? Check; Ex Wife suddenly is madly in love with Coop again. Insists on fucking him even though he's been plowing a svelte spy babe a handful of years her junior. "Get the hot chick"? Check; I mean--obviously his ex wife who wants to fuck him again is hot. But like; Shannon the 2-D love interest is SUPER HOT. And even though they barely know each other, and he is romantically and sexually involved with his ex wife...Well...Shannon just can't HELP herself. Coop manages to slip by unscathed even after Natalie throws down the "stand by her man" gauntlet at Shannon's feet. because OBVIOUSLY. Seriously--I was practically SURPRISED when Coop didn't somehow crowbar a way to have a Threesome in the final analysis. "Get the ear and backup of people in Power?" Yeah like: the POTUS (plural), Eric, Bobby (who served his ultimate service as flimsy FOIL character; dying to motivate Coop to go out and beat the "Unbeatable Man"...but we'll save that for the next point) And each and every one of them seem to just fall in line with minimal effort. "Beat the Unbeatable Man?" Double check. John Smith--the peerless strategic mastermind...erm I mean--not so Peerless? He does get outsmarted and out-planned by good ol' COOP-A-LOOP! I mean--John does get a sick teenager out in the world before our Dashing Hero turns him into swiss cheese. But really--this is the 3rd book in a 3 book series. It ends with Coop having been the near sole savior of the world--on his way to bang his super-model-spy girlfriend...He won ok. And Sorin--the man who can more or less bend time and neatly step out of the way of bullets...yeah--COOP'D :Sigh: I mean I could go on--but y'all have read some diverse Mary Sues. You know how it goes. Part of me sort of delights in seeing a grown man do this so obviously in a popular commercial work. And the other part of me --well it wrote this "flame-of-a-fic-review"

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tim C

    Let me start with the fact that while I read a great many books, I don't write a lot of reviews. It's usually pick a star and move on to the next title. Man did I love this series, but wow was I bummed out at the end. Well perhaps bummed out is a little strong, maybe lost some momentum in the last mile would be a better way to put it. Being the third and final book in the series I don't see any need to talk about how much fun the cast of characters and their individual "brilliance" is, or how st Let me start with the fact that while I read a great many books, I don't write a lot of reviews. It's usually pick a star and move on to the next title. Man did I love this series, but wow was I bummed out at the end. Well perhaps bummed out is a little strong, maybe lost some momentum in the last mile would be a better way to put it. Being the third and final book in the series I don't see any need to talk about how much fun the cast of characters and their individual "brilliance" is, or how strong and involved I found the storyline. Here's the thing every time I've talked about this book with someone I always end up circling back to what I consider a giant hole in an otherwise pretty tight storyline so as opposed to speculating I'll just ask the question..... SPOILER Marcus, Please help me understand how someone as brilliant and far-seeing as Eric Epstein is going to leave 600 hostages within reach of a force intent on his destruction? Seriously it seemed like you got in a fix and took the easy way out. Loved the series, loved the book but you almost lost me in the last mile.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas and Mercer for the ARC of this book. 'Written in Fire' is the third part of Marcus Sakey's Brilliance trilogy. I'd listened to the previous two books as audiobooks as they are available free through Amazon's Kindle Unlimited. I read the final part as an ebook and didn't really enjoy it as much. I think this sort of thriller writing is better suited to being listened to in the background than having to give your full attention to it. It took me three months to plow Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas and Mercer for the ARC of this book. 'Written in Fire' is the third part of Marcus Sakey's Brilliance trilogy. I'd listened to the previous two books as audiobooks as they are available free through Amazon's Kindle Unlimited. I read the final part as an ebook and didn't really enjoy it as much. I think this sort of thriller writing is better suited to being listened to in the background than having to give your full attention to it. It took me three months to plow through this book; I kept finding my attention drifting whenever I tried to pick it up. That said I did want to get to the end and find out how it finished. The Brilliance trilogy is set in a world similar to Heroes or the X men where some people have evolved to have special powers. However, their powers are less glitzy then other examples of this genre. 'Brilliants', as they are known, can do things like read peoples' intentions, move without being noticed, weigh up the probability of occurrences or plan strategically really well. There's no flying or time travel or anything really far-fetched. Due to the fact that their powers are quite subtle or ephemeral it makes it quite hard to imagine how the powers work and how useful they would be. In the final part Nick Cooper, the hero of the trilogy, barely uses his power, which is reading intentions, to the extent that you can almost forget he is different. I thought Sakey dropped the ball a bit in terms of his characterisation in this final book. The trilogy covers the tensions caused by Brilliants co-existing with normal people, which results in a bit of a civil war in this book. This premise can never really be resolved because even if you stop the war there are still going to be two groups of people and tensions will arise. Therefore, even though the trilogy ends, the story can't really conclude and does end on a fairly predictable cliffhanger. I didn't find the conclusion all that convincing, Sakey raised the stakes really high and then seemed to solve the problems he's created too easily. I also didn't like the lead character's dual love interests with his ex wife Natalie and new love Shannon. The fact that he didn't just pick one woman and stick to her made his character more wishy washy and the tension that this scenario could have built was never paid off. Both women are supposed to be strong and admirable but they seemed perfectly happy to be strung along by a man openly sleeping with two women. It didn't ring true. I'm glad I finally made it to the end of this book and this trilogy but I can't say I really enjoyed the experience of reading the final book. It probably would have been better as an audiobook or as a film or TV programme.

  26. 5 out of 5

    MadProfessah

    Brilliant end to the Brilliance trilogy! Actually probably 4.5 stars. If you liked the first 2 books (BRILLIANCE and A BETTER WORLD) in the Brilliance trilogy you will also like Written in Fire. The third book has all the aspects of the first two: action-packed sequences, stunning plot developments, surprising character deaths and thought-provoking dilemmas. The former secret agent Nick Cooper is still the main character, but the love triangle between Shannon, the Girl Who Walks Through Walls, and Brilliant end to the Brilliance trilogy! Actually probably 4.5 stars. If you liked the first 2 books (BRILLIANCE and A BETTER WORLD) in the Brilliance trilogy you will also like Written in Fire. The third book has all the aspects of the first two: action-packed sequences, stunning plot developments, surprising character deaths and thought-provoking dilemmas. The former secret agent Nick Cooper is still the main character, but the love triangle between Shannon, the Girl Who Walks Through Walls, and Nicole, the mother of his two children and ex-wife, is even more intense and integral to the plot. However, the stakes have been raised here much higher than in the other books. The World is really on fire, with the White House destroyed, the President killed and civil war has broken out between the 1% of the population that are abnorms and the rest of the population, with neighbor killing neighbor. The key flashpoint is the New Canaan Holdfast (an abnorm refuge taking up about 1/4 of Wyoming) where a vigilante army of norms is amassing to get revenge for the events that occurred at the end of A BETTER WORLD in order to snuff out the brilliance phenomenon once and for all. An artificial way of converting humans to abnorms has been found and both sides are searching for the scientist(s) who created it, with one side trying to get it to as many people as possible, despite the side effects, which appear to be more serious the older you are (and less flexible/resilient your brain is to rewiring). The author does an excellent job of putting our characters in situations where there are no easy ways out and where bad things will happen to good people. This is one of the best parts of the book because the moral quandaries are very thought-provoking. I don't want to spoil the ending but it seems like the author wants to have it both ways. It is unclear as to which side wins in the end; in fact it's not clear to me which side I WANTED to win.(One side says abnorms should take over the world because they are the next evolutionary step of humanity and the other side says abnorms should be microchipped and exterminated to preserve humanity as we know it.) I wish there was some kind of middle ground....

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jason Keisling

    This is a stupid trilogy, but it's also somewhat enjoyable. Or at least it started out that way. The first book has its flaws, but it's a very entertaining story that reads like a 90s action movie. I enjoyed it enough to read book 2, where the story begins to lose steam and a lot of the flaws in the writing become more evident. By book 3 it's almost painful. There's plenty of cliches and ridiculous plots. The internal monologues are agonizingly repetitive. You know the old advice "show don't tel This is a stupid trilogy, but it's also somewhat enjoyable. Or at least it started out that way. The first book has its flaws, but it's a very entertaining story that reads like a 90s action movie. I enjoyed it enough to read book 2, where the story begins to lose steam and a lot of the flaws in the writing become more evident. By book 3 it's almost painful. There's plenty of cliches and ridiculous plots. The internal monologues are agonizingly repetitive. You know the old advice "show don't tell"? Sakey has clearly never heard such advice. Every time a character thinks of another, they end up thinking a full recap of all plots involving that character. For example (spoilers for books 1 & 2 ahead), when Cooper needs Shannon's help, he always thinks something like "Shannon...who he'd previously called the woman who walks through walls. Who he had made love with. Who had saved his wife and kids..." etc. This type of monologue happens multifarious times throughout the trilogy, regardless of which character is thinking or who they are thinking about. It's not limited to thoughts about characters either. If a character is thinking about a situation, he/she also does a full recap of everything related to that situation. It's so overdone that it becomes comical after a while. Much of the plot seems like it exists just to fill another novel when this probably could have been wrapped up more smoothly just by making book 2 a few dozen pages longer. Overall I'd give the trilogy 3 stars, but this is by far the weakest of the three.

  28. 5 out of 5

    yoav

    This is the third book in the "brilliance" trilogy. If you made it through the second novel which was bad you have good news and bad news: the good news, this book is better then the second. The bad news: this is not a good book. Yes, the idea of the series is fantastic. Yes, it is thrilling at times and the action parts are written well. But it is written in fire or more exactly drowning in an endless mumbo jambo, every thought or a feeling that a catcher has, is describe in length, as a flashb This is the third book in the "brilliance" trilogy. If you made it through the second novel which was bad you have good news and bad news: the good news, this book is better then the second. The bad news: this is not a good book. Yes, the idea of the series is fantastic. Yes, it is thrilling at times and the action parts are written well. But it is written in fire or more exactly drowning in an endless mumbo jambo, every thought or a feeling that a catcher has, is describe in length, as a flashback to the past that is basically summering everything that was happening previously (is Natalie frightened, it can't be, she was a brave girl, but then she got married, had children her ex did this and that so no she isn't afraid for her self but that her kids won't have a mom - and this go on for three pages!). One of the characters is gifted in a way that every second for us feels to him as 11 seconds - Reading this book might be torture for him. Happy this saga ended (and don't get me started talking about the end). This series of three books could have been shortened in to two, not very long books but thrilling one. If you know how to skim or have a lot of patients, you might enjoy it after all.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kdawg91

    Have you ever wondered as a comic book fan what it would be like if X men comics were really done right? Well you should check out the Brilliance Saga. I read the first book early last year and kind of tag teamed the last two back to back. It is some truly inspired stuff, Mr. Sakey can write up a storm. Does it have problems? a few..things get a bit cliche here and there, some of the exposition in the books gets a bit cartoonish but given the subject matter its understandable. The action however, Have you ever wondered as a comic book fan what it would be like if X men comics were really done right? Well you should check out the Brilliance Saga. I read the first book early last year and kind of tag teamed the last two back to back. It is some truly inspired stuff, Mr. Sakey can write up a storm. Does it have problems? a few..things get a bit cliche here and there, some of the exposition in the books gets a bit cartoonish but given the subject matter its understandable. The action however, rocks and the characters are excellent regardless of some of the dialogue, and considering the author, I don't know if I can excuse that or not. However, the series as a whole is terrific, give it a read, just start at the beginning or you will be lost like a goose in high grass.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Final novel in a trilogy about a world very similar to ours, except where a percentage of the population has inexplicably been born extremely gifted, leading to conflict between the regular folks and the "abnorms." This book was fast paced and entertaining, but like so many concluding books in a trilogy, it just wasn't as good as the first two. The world-building and character development is mostly done, so what's left is mostly the climactic battle. I would still recommend the series to those w Final novel in a trilogy about a world very similar to ours, except where a percentage of the population has inexplicably been born extremely gifted, leading to conflict between the regular folks and the "abnorms." This book was fast paced and entertaining, but like so many concluding books in a trilogy, it just wasn't as good as the first two. The world-building and character development is mostly done, so what's left is mostly the climactic battle. I would still recommend the series to those who like thrillers with a hint of sci fi, and I did enjoy this one - just not as much as the other two. 3.5 stars. Note: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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