height=  height=  height=

Review: Insignia by S. J. Kincaid

Title: Insignia (Insignia #1) by S.J. Kincaid
Pub Date: July 10th, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (imprint of HarperCollins)
Source: Borrowed from Anna of Anna Reads
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Blog | Author Twitter

In a sentence or so: Ubergamer teen Tom Raines is drafted by the US Military to train for and eventually virtually fight in World War III going down in space.

Tom doesn't live a great life. He bounces from hotel to hotel with his gambling dad and attends a virtual high school...sometimes. He's not cute. He's socially awkward. But that boy Tom can GAME. That special talent eventually catches the eye of a top recruiter for the military and after his father essentially signs his life away, Tom starts a whole new life. A life where he matters. A life where he's smart and special and better. A life that is taking him down a path of power and prestige. A life that involves great risk and even greater reward.

It's no secret that I like video games. When Anna was reading this book, she went all CAPS at me in her insistence this was such a Lisa book. GIRL WAS RIGHT.

Insignia has elements of Ender's Game meets Divergent with a heaping serving of techy goodness. While I was all about the gaming and tech speak, I also really really liked Tom and his friends and the plot that drove the story. His roommate and quick best friend Vik refer to themselves as the Doctors of Doom when they get their prank on. I mean REALLY. It doesn't get much more awesome and teenage boy than that.

I don't think you have to like video games to like this book. I think you just have to like solid male main characters who are smart and funny while being insecure and desperately wanting to do what's right in the midst of moral gray. S.J. Kincaid blends world building and character building perfectly with a constant balance dramatic tension and 14 year old boy humor.

So come. Meet Tom and his friends at the Pentagonal Spire where he trains to fight in a space war and immerse yourself in the moral dilemmas and love triangles and budding best friendships in the midst of a war fought by teenagers. You'll be glad you did.

Fave quote: "Tom decided he'd stay up all night if he had to. His brain was whirling. He had a date...kind of. With a real, live girl...he hoped." (15)

Pairs well with: VIDEO GAMES. Get your game on, yo. Even if it's Tetris, that counts. Geek out. It's good for you.

Fix er up: Um yeah, you guys probably already know this about me but I'm basically a 28 year old lady on the outside and a 12 year old boy at my core. So there's nothing about this that could be better. Unless I was at the Pentagonal Spire hanging with the crew too, obvs.

FTC Notice: I borrowed this book and reviewed it without compensation of any kind. 

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Happy dance...happy dance...

  2. You know things are serious and Anna means business when she goes ALL CAPPY on you. I'm going to read this one, I am. It's on my shelf. It's gonna be a different read for me, but that's a GOOD THING.

  3. I love gaming too and the whole weird culture around it. Adding to Goodreads NOW!

    Awesome review.

  4. "I'm basically a 28 year old lady on the outside and a 12 year old boy at my core." --> I love you so much!

    Also, TETRIS IS AWESOME. For realz.

    I saw this book on a blog once before now and thought I'd like it. You've made me think so even more.


    1. Thank you for embracing my awkward balance of preteen boy and grown up lady.

  5. Pretty sure this book sounds like it was made SPECIFICALLY for you :)

  6. I love video games! And this book sounds like absolute perfection. I really need to get on with reading it...


Hey you! What do you have to say?