Review: Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

InsigniaMore 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?

I have been in such a reading slump lately as I've read a few pretty average books and nothing has really completely grabbed me, thankfully Insignia has pulled me out of that slump! I loved it.

To start with, I wasn't completely convinced, the start wasn't slow paced but it didn't completely grab me and I started out feeling as though I was just getting into another good but average book, by the end I was gripped and could not put the book down. The pacing picked up pretty quickly and though it dipped at a few points (especially where the science/technology talk came up) it still kept me reading.

I loved the characters, to start with Tom is just a loner, a bit of a loser with a gambling father but by the end he is a young man with a group of friends and a strong resolve... oh yeah, and a computer in his brain. I loved Tom's friends, especially Vik who was absolutely hilarious (I'm not quoting because I read and ARC copy but there is a bit with a girl and a chat up line that had me rolling over in laughter), Wyatt and Yuri are both kind of 'broken' in their own way and I loved watching Tom's friendship fix them.

And the storyline... wow! I've seen it compared to books like The Hunger Games and Divergent but personally I see no similarities aside from the futurism, this book is totally unique and just what the book industry needs right now. I also can't see a set target audience, I loved it and I'm an eighteen year old that doesn't usually go for boos with 14 year old protagonists but I can also see it appealing to boys aged eleven to eighteen, definitely versatile.

Overall, Insignia brings something unique to the young adult market. It's jam-packed with action, humour and friendship and is a book that i would recommend to boys and girls, young and old.

Overall Rating: A-

Released July 2012 by Hot Key Books
Received for review from the publisher
**Copy reviewed is and ARC and so may be different to the finished version**

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