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Insignia by [Kincaid, S. J.]
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Insignia Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 166 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


PRAISE FOR INSIGNIA“Insignia expertly combines humor with a disarming and highly realistic view of the future. The characters are real, funny, and memorable. You won’t be able to put this book down.” (Veronica Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of DIVERGENT and INSURGENT)

“Hip, high-tech, and hilarious, INSIGNIA made my heart soar and left me with impossible-to-shake questions about technology, reality, and war.”—Rae Carson, author of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS (Rae Carson)

“An unlikely teen is selected to attend Hogwarts-at-the-Pentagon. With action, real humor and a likable, complex protagonist, this fast-moving, satisfying adventure also provides some food for thought.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Kincaid’s debut novel, an ambitious, high-concept mélange of the teen hacker and teen spy genres provides a fast-paced and exciting tale.” (Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover

It's World War III. The enemy is winning. What if the government's secret weapon is you?

Video gamer Tom Raines has been recruited for the chance of a lifetime: to train at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy, in preparation for becoming a member of the Intrasolar Forces. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom's always wanted and never had—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 humor, and a vision of the future that asks startling, timely questions about the melding of humanity and technology.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1801 KB
  • Print Length: 485 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062093002
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books; Reprint edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Publication Date: July 10, 2012
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,885 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By MaryBookSwarm VINE VOICE on August 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Positive: Teen boy protagonist. Tom. Is. Awesome. Coming from a rough home life (well, no home life, really, since he and his dad don't have a permanent residence), Tom has to survive but he wants to excel. So, when an amazing opportunity falls into his lap, he jumps at it. Tom's got a survival instinct like no one else at the academy and, even though he wants a "normal" life, he never quite lets go of that edge.

Positive: Gamer heaven. While I wouldn't call myself a serious gamer, I do like video games (Skyrim, FTW) and this world, this academy, is most definitely gamer heaven. With ridiculously realistic virtual reality, real-life battles deep in space, and fellow gamers to geek out with, gamer geekery rules at the Spire!

Positive: Politics and intrigue. Even though the teens are waging the virtual war, it is still a war which means military and political shenanigans. Companies sponsor the teens (someone's got to pay for the very expensive toys, after all), meaning plenty of money is changing hands. Tom and his fellow recruits are at the center of the battle.

Wish: A chip in my head. Recruits get a chip in their head that gives them access to All The Knowledge. Of course, it comes with some very bad side effects (like people being able to hack your brain--eep!), so it's probably a good thing this wish will not come true, at least in my lifetime.

Overall: Fabulous! I will most definitely be putting this book into the hands of my students with high praise. Oh, and even though it seems it'll be part of a series, this book can definitely be read as a stand-alone as it has a fabulous ending.
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Format: Hardcover
A disappointing, middle-grade version of Ready Player One (which was one of my favorite books of the year,) is the best summary of my reactions to S. J. Kincaid's Insignia. The problems I found in Insignia reminded me of the ones I found in Wesley King's The Vindico; both books had an compelling plot, creative ideas, but he execution failed to bring those ideas to life and grazed over heavy-handed issues in exchange for superficial cliches.

My Suspension of Disbelief is Straining, These People Need Anger Management!:
First of all, all these 14-15 year olds are supposed to be the cream of the crop with exceptional intelligence and abilities (Figure Skating Champion, Scholarship winners, etc.) With the aid of a neural processor in their brains they have become even smarter than usual. Actually, their intelligence is optional since they just "download" knowledge instead of learning. Whatever they don't know their computer brains will look it up for them. They are also given perfect complexions and grow six inches in a week. Yet, despite their intelligence, their priorities only lie in teasing each other with stuff like "girly hands" and "man-hands." Not sure what the intelligence changed in them. The knowledge certainly hasn't made them any more empathetic, as they spend most of their time plotting to ruin each other's lives (and are encouraged to do so!.)

What tested my suspension of disbelief was how easy it was for characters to make decisions. Tom accidentally (being digitally manipulated as part of a class demo) bumps into the class bully, and all of a sudden the guy hates his guts.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So, in the end, it turns out that Insignia is a pretty cool book. It totally reminds me of Harry Potter--but with teens attending a futuristic military school in a science fiction setting instead of a castle to learn magic in a fantasy setting.

The story is about Tom--the boy whose got the special "it" the military is looking for, but who is raised by his deadbeet dad and will never have the opportunity to make anything of himself. His gaming skills are so good that he attracts the attention off the military, and he's recruited off to military school to fight in WWIII....but in war of the future, no one dies because the wars are fought in space over galactic real estate using space ships flown remotely by--yup, you guessed it--teenagers in military school.

Of course, there's MUCH more to the story than that, but I liked the surprises and unexpected bits--so I'll leave them foe you to discover. Ill just say that Tom gets much more than he bargined for when he joins military school. The writing shines during the dialogue between Tom and his new friends--their banter is laugh-out-loud funny. It seems a bit juvinile at times, and I felt frustrated because one page I thought the author was trying to make me cry and the next page she was trying to make me laugh. But in the end the story wrapped up nicely, and there is plenty of material for several more books....which Ill be keeping my eye out for.

Perfectly clean and suitable for all readers who are looking for some good fun science fiction!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Yes, this is a young adult book. I am an old adult. But guess what? I thoroughly enjoyed "Insignia."

I think Tom Raines, the protagonist of the story, is well developed by the author. He feels like a teenage boy to me throughout the story. And the other characters are substantive and hold up well on their own.

It is the future and World War III is being fought in outer space. Large international/multinational corporation sponsor the warriors.

Neural processors, a training center in what used to be the Pentagon, Indo-American allies and Russo-China allies, patents for food AND water, neutron bombs, the Coalition of Multinationals, Ares, Medusa and much more held my interest throughout the longish book.

Some of this description sounds a bit dry but the book actually moves quickly and is great fun. Tom wants what most of us want - friends, family, a feeling of self-importance. And "Insignia" tells us how he goes about reaching his goals.

If you liked Ready Player One by Ernest Cline or Reamde by Neal Stephenson, I think you will also really enjoy "Insignia."
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