Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Our Teens Review Books: Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Author: S.J. Kincaid

Publisher: Katherine Tegen

Synopsis from Goodreads

The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S. J. Kincaid's fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy perfect for fans of Ender's Game.

The planet's natural resources are almost gone, and 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. . . .


Insignia is a very technical, sci-fy and action packed oriented book, and I love it! The set up is an understanding, common way to reach towards the readers, and the main character is relatable to us, and our nerdy habits. Tom Raines is an expert gamer that uses his skills to pay rent- and by rent I mean finding any hotels with cheap prices and trying to maintain a decent living with his drunkard, gambling father. Tom has acne, short height, scrawny, and his life is just terrible; however, all that could change completely with a simple "yes". 

I enjoyed the premise of the book, however, there's no mistake that the plotline is repetitive, but the characters do make up for the plot itself. Each character has their own unique quality that shines through each page, and the interaction is sentimental, which makes you focus more on them instead of the story. Now for the story: it's military centric, and describes a lot of technology, numbers, coding, and other techno science stuff. Oh, and with advance vocabulary. The characters go through youth training, so there's not going to be any deliberate fighting, but military fighting isn't the same as our 21st century fighting. World War III is in effect, however, war is battled through the galaxy. Each planet is being dominated for possession, and considering human nature, the world is fighting to control which part of the planet and solar system. Androids are battling it out without human bloodshed, such a genius idea, no? Tempting, but there's a lot behind the scenes that propaganda won't tell you. Masses of riches are being produced, and waves of money-hungry investors are ready to get their hands on it.

Besides the military and political agenda, Insignia has cool features of advanced gaming systems, holograms, and incredible microchips that could transform society into something bigger, better, and very dangerous. I would indulge further on the technology, but it'll lead to spoilers, so, I'd say it's going to get very technical in the book.

There's barely any swearing, but I'll just place a warning for curious young readers. Action is abundant, but it's artificial action, so there's nothing to sincerely worry about (or is it?). If you can handle advanced words, technology being described every other page, and action, then I would recommend this book.

Personally for me, I'd give it a 7.5 out of 10.

-- Amber
Want to check out Insignia? Find it here on the CMRLS catalog and place a hold on it!