Book Review: Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Insignia #1
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller
Release Date: July 10th 2012
Review Source: Katherine Tegen Books
Available: Amazon

Summary: (from goodreads) 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.

So when I began reading Insignia, I thought to myself "A book about a 14 year old boy that's a gamer, how is that going to work out for me". Usually us girls tend to stick with our girl POV's and Happy Ever Afters novels, that's great and true until you read Insignia. Yes its a 14 year old boy, yes he plays virtual video games, yes he has acne and the military is involved so how did I like this book. I'll tell you how, The story is addicting in some high tech science fictional way. As big as a book that Insignia is, I read it in just 2 nights reading time. The characters, plot and detailing just locks you in. You just want to know on every single page, what next! 

Tom is your typical dorky 14 year old gamer. He has such bad ache and is as skinny as a board. Tom's way of dealing with life, is to play virtual games and he can be any avatar he chooses. No one has to see the real him. While he plays he doesn't have to worry about his father, where they will sleep and if he will have money for food that day. Some days he has enough that he can connect to the Internet to attend school and well the rest of the time he doesn't. The school has taken notice and plans on reporting him to child services, because they consider his father is neglecting him. Then one day, cards fall into place for Tom and he has been scouted and offered to be taken to the Pentagon Spire. This is something Tom has always dreamed off. Tom can't believe that he will get his chance to possibly becomes a trained virtual fighter and help or be part of World War Three. Tom no longer has to live in hotels or worse, he will have food and a bed to sleep in every day. The fact that he will be able to make friends and possibly even have a girlfriend, is just an amazing concept to Tom. Tom dives in head first, not even thinking about looking back. What Tom doesn't know yet, is that everything comes at a price. How high the price, he will soon find out. 

S.J. created such a exciting idea in Insignia. Wars are no longer fought in our own plant, they have been taken to other plants. The countries and military have been overhauled from how we know them today. Its not 2012 that's for sure. I can't wait to see what happen in the next installment, this story completed synced with me. I recommend it to everyone, it will surprise you when you love it!


  1. I do love a great sci-fi, and this one has an excellent cover. I may have to check it out.

  2. I have mixed feelings on sci-fi, but the gamer aspect of this game intrigues me (yay for gamers!). And this is the first review where I've read about Tom's real reality with being homeless, it makes like a balance between the gaming "fantasy" part and Tom's real life. Great review!


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