Author: S.J Kincaid
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins (Katherine Tegan Books)
Cover Judge: Cool, gender-neutral, and epic.
Quote Choice: He. Hehehehehehe.
Source: For Review
Source: For Review
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?
So let's name all the things in this book that Harmony usually doesn't read about: boy narrators, military tactics, gaming, BOY NARRATOR, sci-fi. And as you expected, all these things were in Insignia AND I LOVED IT SO MUCH. Seriously, I have major love for this book.
Insignia is about a boy named Tom who lives by the day with his alcoholic father by conning people out of their money playing video games. When his bad ass skills catch the military's eye, he ends up getting shipped off to the Spire, a training ground for teens that are going to fighting in World War Three. The thing is? The fight is completely machine operated. AND IT'S IN SPACE. The war is because of territorial disputes in the SOLAR SYSTEM. The entire book itself takes place on Earth but that concept alone got me pretty excited.
Tom is an amazing hero. Snarky, rebellious, WAY too arrogant for his own good (but enough that I still found him believable and not irritating), and well, ruthless. He made some decisions that I didn't particularly agree with but his loyalty and unwillingness to conform managed to endear me to him quickly enough.
Can we talk about how I know absolutely nothing about gaming or military strategy or anything and I still understood this book? Because that's awesome! My gaming skills go to Mario Kart and Pokemon and they end there, guys. I think I played Kingdom Hearts once and quit half-way through. But the way gaming and tactics blend together in this crazy technology-filled sci-fi was something that I could definitely see coming in the future. One of the biggest things in the book is that war thirty three years in the future is not how war is now: there are no civilian deaths, no people deaths, and finally, LIGHT YEARS away from actually affecting anyone on Earth. That doesn't seem like something that'll never happen to me. And besides the HUGE infodump about the history of the war (which I actually didn't mind because i'm even a sucker for fictional history), the writing is super BOY and fast-paced.
Kinkaid manages to write a book about messing with people's brains and war but still manage to capture the humor that comes with reading a book full of fourteen and fifteen year olds.
I want to hug everyone in this book, by the way. I loved ALL THE CHARACTERS. Vik was probably my favorite with his wit and the amazing friendship that he forms with Tom; Beamer, who I hope to see more of in future installments; Yuri, who OH MY GOD ALL THE HUGS he was so sweet and nice and to finish it off quickly, Wyatt, who is way too blunt, sarcastic, intelligent, and amazing for her own good.
All in all, a fantastic book so don't hesitate because you're afraid it's "not your type".