Thursday, 26 July 2012

Review: Insignia - S.J. Kincaid

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 Series:
Insignia (The UK release date for Insignia is the 2nd of August 2012)
Titles and release dates for further books in the series are currently unavailable

Visit S.J. Kincaid's website for more information

Tom Raines lives in a high tech future where the big corporations are in control - they even have patents on the world's food and water supply! They may be in the middle of World War III but it isn't being fought in the traditional way. Instead of soldiers fighting it out, causing the death of millions and mass destruction of earth's resources, the battle is being fought in space by computerised machines controlled remotely by people back on earth. When Tom is recruited to join the team of children training to be the next generation of VR soldiers he jumps at the chance of doing something with his life. As he is drawn into a world where public money is used to fund a war between greedy corporations Tom will have to learn quickly who he can trust not to sell him out to the highest bidder.

Insignia is the first book in a new trilogy by debut author S.J. Kincaid and she has created a detailed world full of fascinating technology and scary corporations who will do anything to win control of the solar system's resources. I did find the story was a little slow going in places as the author introduces the world history and the different technology but it was always interesting enough to keep me reading. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep track of everything but it turned out to be easier than I expected and I think this was mainly down to the fact that I loved the characters so much.

Tom is a great main character, although he's only 14 he actually spends most of his time looking after his father and making sure that the pair of them have food to eat and a roof over their heads. His only way of earning money is to hustle other players playing the virtual reality games in the casinos where his father is busy gambling so Tom has become an accomplished player just to survive. His skills attract the attention of the army and he is quickly recruited to join the ranks of the combatants where he will be turned into a futuristic soldier. Tom is taken to the Pentagonal Spire for training and soon finds himself in over his head - nothing is quite like he expected it to be and he starts to wonder if he has made a terrible mistake.

He quickly settles in starts getting to know people and one of my favourite things about the book was his interaction with Vik, Wyatt and Yuri. The group become firm friends and I loved their banter and the way they worked so well together, each one has different strengths and as a group they make a formidable team. The story really picks up pace in the second half and it is so action packed that you won't be able to put it down. With computerised battles, international espionage, betrayals and more Insignia is sure to be a big hit with anyone looking for a futuristic sci-fi with likeable characters that will make you laugh out loud. I can't wait for the next instalment!

Source: Received from Hot Key Books in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


  1. I wasn't sure if I'd like this one, but I shall definitely check it out! Fab review, Sarah :)

  2. Hey Iffath, I really enjoyed this one so I hope you like it as much as I did :o) It's definitely worth checking it out!



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