Book Review: Insignia by S.J. Kincaid


Click on the image to open the book's Goodreads page.

Click on the image to open the book’s Goodreads page.

favoriteTitle: Insignia
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Published: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN13: 9780062093004
Format: Paperback
Series: Insignia #1
Acquisition: Bought

Purchase at: Amazon

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?
Gripping and provocative, S. J. Kincaid’s futuristic thrill ride of a debut crackles with memorable characters, tremendous wit, and a vision of the future that asks startling, timely questions about the melding of humanity and technology.


Insignia is a very interesting take on the future and how World War III would play out. War will now take place in outer space in order to keep Earth out of harm and the war is not between countries anymore. War is now for companies who want to take control over the world’s resources. And what better way to keep it all interesting? Make the children or teens do all the fighting for you.

But the young ones don’t really need to go to outer space, and they won’t be blown up or whatever so there’s no need to worry. They can easily control the space crafts in the comfort of the Pentagonal Spire, and they even have the chance of becoming famous. But of course there’s a catch. There always is~

Tom Raines was chosen for his excellent skills in playing video games. I bet a couple of gamers would love to be as lucky as him. He stood out because of his innate instinct that always made him win. Tom likes winning. He badly wants to be a somebody. Because of that, he can also be cocky. However, I really liked him for being smart and determined. He definitely wasn’t perfect, but he was a really great main character.

I love Tom’s group of friends. They were all just funny and entertaining, and I fell in love with each one of them. We have Vik who becomes Tom’s best friend. He teaches Tom a lot of what he needed to know in the Pentagonal Spire, but he also made fun of him. I think that he is just charming and hilarious. I definitely would love to see more of the Tom and Vik duo. There’s also a really smart, gangly and awkward girl named Wyatt, as well as a very athletic but very confused boy named Yuri. Oh, and there’s also Beamer who likes killing himself.

What I didn’t like was how it can be superficial. Much focus is given on a person’s appearance. At the start of the book, I thought that this would be interesting because the main character is a young, geeky kid with acne problems. That’s certainly different. But I was wrong. There was also this one part that got me so annoyed and frustrated, but not because it was badly written. It was just so brilliantly evil that it riled me up.


OVERALL, Insignia is an action-packed, humor-filled, and intelligent story of young people training and fighting for a futuristic World War III. It is filled with interesting and unique characters that all added up perfectly into the awesome-ness that is this book. I especially love Tom and his group of friends because they entertained me the most. This is a wonderful debut novel and I look forward to seeing what comes next. There’s so much to see in this book and I highly recommend it.




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  • This is all based on personal opinion, and as much as I’m open to other people’s opinions, I hope you understand that this is based on what I feel. I avoid giving out spoilers as much as possible, too.
  • I do not own most of the images I use, and some may be subject to editing.

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