A Better World, by Marcus Sakey

20797535Is there anything more dangerous than someone who wants to create a better world? In Marcus Sakey’s second entry in the Brilliance Saga, A Better World, a mess of people who are absolutely convinced they know what’s best have brought America to the brink of a new civil war.

In Sakey’s America, as introduced in Brilliance, about 1% of the population were born with extraordinary gifts. Some can spot patterns even the most advanced computers can’t find. Others can see math or can play chess with the world from ten moves ahead. The government and a significant portion of the other 99% are terrified of them because it means they might be obsolete. Nick Cooper, who has a gift for reading people, used to hunt down brilliants for the Department of Analysis and Response but he had a crisis of conscience at the end of Brilliance. In A Better World, he’s got a new job as adviser to the president and his life has only gotten harder.

A Better World opens with a horrifying scene. A police cruiser pulls over a semi. The driver is ordered out of his vehicle. The fake police then set the poor driver on fire. Next, we learn that food deliveries to Fresno, Tusla, and Cleveland have all been stopped. The cities immediately run out of food. Looting breaks out. Neighborhood posses form. Then the power goes out. The Children of Darwin claim responsibility. The Secretary of Defense, Owen Leahy, pushes the new president into mobilizing the National Guard, then the Army and the Air Force in response to the terrorist threat. Cooper urges them all to calm down and try to talk it out, but the hawks keep pushing for war. Leahy in particular wants to put the new microchipping legislation into action.

Cooper does talk the president into letting him take an offer to the only person who might be able to get in touch with the Children of Darwin and talk them down. Unfortunately, from the moment he touches down in Tesla in the New Canaan Holdfast, everything goes wrong. I’m almost afraid to see what will happen in the next volume.

If Brilliance and A Better World sound familiar, the plot is very similar to the one in the X-Men movies. You can almost change the names of some of Sakey’s characters for Marvel characters and, minus the costumes, they could be almost identical. This isn’t a problem for me, because I love this kind of story. The way Sakey writes it, it’s impossible to this book down. There’s action at every turn and Sakey’s take on genetic mutation is amazing.

I received a free copy of this ebook from NetGalley, in exchange for a fair review. It will be released 17 June 2014.

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