Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Insignia (Insignia#1) by S.J. Kincaid
Insignia by 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.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My biggest complaint is the manner in which the information is first shared. It’s taught. While said fact does make sense given the setting being an academy, things sometimes got a bit dry. That said, I did enjoy the story (eventually.)
I liked the idea of it. Set in the future, with corporations fighting over resources, battling things out in a in a virtual war. That technology was a key role had me worried. Would terms escape me? Would I ‘get’ it? I did… mainly because it read so darned exciting. Past the teaching, the “doing” was awesome. The action, the battles were all quite exciting. It was in those moments that these brilliant kids showed just how brilliant they could be.
I saw that I actually liked Tom, the MC Particularly when interacting with his friends. Tom himself is not quite the hero you’d imagine. He starts out at a disadvantage, but almost always doing something to screw up his position. He’s smart, but not always so. What’s more is he is not a weak guy. He knows what he knows and behaves accordingly (well, most of the time.)
Still, my favorite part has to do with Vik, Wyatt and Yuri. There’s nothing ‘secondary’ to these secondary characters. Instead of standing around contributing nothing to, they were what I was looking forward to because truth be told prior to them interacting and goofing off with their Doctors of Doom, Man Hands and Spicy Indian, reading INSIGNIA was like a test of endurance. The book only truly shone once he and the others were in things together more. It wasn’t just about Tom nor how “special” he was. It’s them together as friends that had me continuing. It was Tom and Vik who had me laughing. Then Tom and Wyatt who both had me cringing on their behalf.
Bottom line? I liked that this is a story of kids (brilliant kids, mind you) being kids then just a few pages after being and vicious and/or devious.
View all my reviews