Saturday, 21 July 2012

Review: Insignia by S. J. Kincaid

Title: Insignia
Author: S. J. Kincaid
Author Info: Website|Blog|Twitter|Facebook
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Publisher
Format: UK Proof
Publication Date: USA: July 10th 2012|UK: 2nd August 2012

Tell Me About It
More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?

My Thoughts
When the publisher contacted me regarding reviewing Insignia I jumped at the chance.  Although I had not heard anything about this book beforehand, the synopsis alone drew me in.
Tom Raines, the protagonist, is a loner.  He has no friends in school and drifts from place to place with his gambler father.  After being spotted winning a game he is invited to the Pentagonal Spire to train and hopefully become a combatant for the Intrasolar Forces and fight for his country.  His life in the Pentagonal Spire is not as easy as it seems and he faces constant barriers in his journey to the top.

From the moment I began reading Insignia I was hooked.  Although the main genre is Science Fiction, there are futuristic elements to it as well; virtual reality schools and training, futuristic weapons, even the way the combatants are trained and the process they go through.

There are so many things that I love about Insignia that it's hard to pick my favourite bits, but there are parts that really stood out, either the characters or just the story itself.  The character that really stood out to me was Wyatt.  She is teased and ridiculed for various reasons but she is quick to help out her friends whenever they ask for it, and has their backs.  She helps Tom change his stats before she even knew him and after he denies knowing who changed them their friendship slowly develops.  In my eyes she is underrated but super smart and I hope she gets a big part in the next instalment.
I loved the task they were set for a lesson regarding giving each other viruses, I actually laughed out loud at some of the results of these.  I loved how Wyatt showed her true colours and her capabilities and cheered her on all the way.

The VR training sounded amazing.  Having to just walk into a normal room and have it turn to whatever scene they want it to be for training sounds like the best way to train.  The descriptions used to describe everything made it so easy to believe it all and feel like you are right there with them.  I really like how they get out of it by purposefully getting themselves killed, only virtually, and they get to lay there waiting for the session to end.
The friendships Tom forms with his fellow combatants are strong, and they are always willing to help each other out no matter what.  The last few chapters had me on tenter hooks wanting to know what was going to happen, not only with thier own headquarters, but with fighting the enemy and how their friendship wold survive a test this big.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking this journey with Tom and recommend everyone reads Insignia, I can't wait to see what happens next.  All I need to do is wait a while forever for book two ☺.

I was also lucky enough to be quoted in the finished version of Insignia.  I don't have a copy at the time of writing this review so I am sending you to Hot Key Books to take a look at the picture and see what other amazing bloggers are quoted too. [picture from Hot Key Books twitter]


  1. Tis book looks great! And your review makes me even more excited to read it! Thanks for the great review

  2. Fantastic review. I will most certainly be getting this book now :)

  3. Wow! Great review. We're longing for the next book, too. I bet Wyatt is going to keep featuring. We'll keep you posted on any sequel news...


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