Limitless is a superb thriller by Alan Glynn. The concept itself is fantastic – when Eddie Spinola discovers a drug which taps into the brain and accesses subconscious skills and resources, he becomes a modern-day super hero. He has the ability to learn anything he wants and uses his new found abilities to create a perfect life for himself. Only when he starts blacking-out and noticing terrible consequences, does he question the drug and soon discovers that other users are either dying or dead.
The story itself is thrilling. It’s full of twists and turns, and the ups and downs of Eddie’s drug use. Eddie quickly becomes consumed by the drug and the pace of the book matches his new found energy, sometimes almost exhausting the reader as we try to keep up with his `high’. While the pace of the novel is tiring, the intensity of Eddie’s new interests are also quite draining. Eddie reads and absorbs newspapers and books so quickly that becomes an expert on politics and the stock exchange. He is able to talk so freely and so enthusiastically about these subjects, even despite the fact he doesn’t quite understand the things he finds himself talking about, which makes it a hard book to follow in places. As it dawns on him what’s happening, the pace slows down slightly and the reader is less bombarded by Eddie’s newfound knowledge, which is something of a relief. Having said that, however, I found myself so invested in the character of Eddie and wanting to know how his story ends, I was still on the edge of my seat.
This novel is so thought-provoking, as well as having the fantastic story. Told in first person by Eddie, you really feel that you are on this journey with him, feeling his highs and lows. It’s a very powerful novel – full of emotions, mystery, and conspiracy – a `thriller’ in every sense of the word. While I personally found the first half of the novel to be so information-heavy and struggled to keep focused, I’m glad I persisted and I found the rest of the book to be a thrilling read. It’s obvious after reading Limitless that all Eddie’s earlier opinions on politics, language, art, investment banking, etc. were all necessary for the story to allow the reader to understand more of what was going on in Eddie’s brain and experience the information-overload that he was feeling.
An exceptional concept and well worth the effort!
5 Stars *****