A year ago Marcus Sakey's futuristic novel BRILLIANCE was published. It was the first book in a trilogy concerning a world where the population is divided between the "normals" and the "abnormals." This is a distinction that occurred suddenly in society and since it occurred there has been distrust between the two groups. BRILLIANCE dealt with federal agent Nick Cooper's attempts to determine who were the good guys and who were the bad.
In the second novel A BETTER WORLD Cooper continues this search. The answers he finds are not always the right ones, and the people he trusts are not always trustworthy. In this book it is a comfort knowing Cooper is always trying to do right.
The story reads like science fiction and is constantly introducing themes and premises that are hard to comprehend. The Marcus Sakey who authored this story is not the same Marcus Sakey who charmed us with earlier stories such as GOOD PEOPLE and THE AMATEURS. Those stories were based in the present world and were somehow more relatable. That is not to say that this trilogy of books does not have its fans. BRILLIANCE met with widespread acclaim and success.
In A BETTER WORLD there are some terrific action sequences as Nick Cooper pursues the truth. They are excellently written and leave the reader gasping for breath as they unfold. But the moments in between these events are too cerebral. You go from the highs of battle to the lows of strategizing for the next event. These periods of quietness cause the reader to lose interest and to glaze over information while searching and hoping for the next exciting adventure.
Many people, such as I, have been Marcus Sakey fans for years. He is a very talented writer and has some wonderfully productive years ahead of him. Now if we can just get him past this sci-fi obsession and back to writing terrific novels about the present we will be happy.
A BETTER WORLD is a book that brims with excitement and those who like these type of stories will be enthralled from start to finish. It has a stalwart hero and enough fiends to fill a police blotter. But it is an "interim" book. By this I mean it fills the gap between the beginning story and the final one. You read this book knowing it is not going to be complete. It is setting up the final book and for some that will be a disappointment. Books in a series ought to at least feel like standalones.
You should try A BETTER WORLD. Just because it did not totally appeal to me does not mean you won't like it. Sakey is too talented to be ignored.
A BETTER WORLD is published by Thomas and Mercer. It contains 380 pages and sells for $14.95.
Jackie K Cooper
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