by SJ Kincaid
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (June 4, 2013)
Buy the book: Amazon
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The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S.J. Kincaid’s fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy. The planet’s natural resources are almost gone, and the war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning.
The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn’t seem like a hero. He’s a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.
As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom’s life completely changes. Suddenly, he’s someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there’s a price to pay...
At a Glance:
I feel like Insignia is the Ender’s Game of this decade, but as I don’t read too much Sci-Fi maybe I am not the best judge of that. Still, if you like Sci Fi and/or dystopian, this book should probably be on your ‘I want to read’ list. It was surprisingly good.
This book has plenty of action. There are a lot of short fight scenes and even more rivalry. This story never had a dull moment. When it wasn’t tactile action, it was software wars and mental battles between sponsors or students.
There was a bit of romance, but not much. I thought there were some possible other romances brewing in Insignia, so when Tom actually starts falling for someone, as only a boy can do, I wasn’t expecting that he would like whom he would. This was anything but a chick-flick, but at least Tom doesn’t have a heart of stone.
Our hero, Tom, is a skilled and arrogant teenager. I’ve always liked shy guys except for a single crush I had in elementary school. He was cocky, bad boy, class-clown who also happens to be named Tom. I cried for him twice- once in embarrassment when my girlfriend told the other kids on the playground I liked Tom. And the other time was in horror that the men I loved in my life might kill each other when my dad, a teacher, was asked to remove Tom kicking and screaming out of the classroom to the Principle of Hapgood Elementary.
Tom, my third grade crush, was the Tom of Insignia.
I thought Tom’s character was well written and well developed. Your heart broke for this bad-boy as you understood his family and past. You know he is skilled, but he gets under your skin with his arrogance, bloodthirst and no-so-thorough ability to judge consequences.
But, you can’t help but become endeared to him because he is just so not perfect, but he still has a good heart. And he is smart. And he does have a sense of justice that is admirable. And he really does have some mad gaming skills.
Favorite Supporting Character:
Wyatt, and Tom’s group of friends were all great. And I really, really liked Blackburn. Even though Blackburn and Tom don’t always mesh like I hoped they would.
Something I loved:
The world somewhat reminded me of the Colonies in Prodigy’s world. I mean, with all the GMO fussing over food, patents, capitalism, and the technological ways we can interact with each other, this book wasn’t so much sci-fi as it could be reality in a good 30 or 40 years.
I also loved the friendships and community that developed within the Spire.
Something I hated:
The only thing that bothered me was the closure with some of the characters. I don’t think I forgave Tom for when he acted like a jerk to one girl. And I really feel like he could have really had another Father-figure friend in Blackburn if he tried.
Would I recommend it?
Yes! It was actually really good! I’m pretty sure a lot more guys would like it than girls. I mean, I love Harry Potter (who is indeed a guy) but this main character was such a man’s man. Or teen boy’s boy. But I am going to stop going gender stereotypical on you all and say that anyone who likes sci-fi just might like this. I was really surprised with how engaged I was in this whole story.
Light sexual, light language.
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