Insignia by SJ Kincaid

Tom Raines can’t seem to keep up with school while his dad gambles his life away, and keeps them constantly on the move. Tom excels at one thing – games. And after one particular VR game scenario, Tom is told that he has been watched. And is recruited by the government for their elite military academy. Tom is taken to the Pentagonal Spire where he will have the chance to possibly help his country fight in World War III. WWIII is a war fought entirely in space via virtual reality, where no lives are lost. But Tom will quickly learn there are many secrets in this political war.

Tom is a likeable and relatable teen. While he’s smart and strong-willed, he’s a more than a bit naïve when it comes to girls. Kincaid’s version of the future is a world controlled by companies that have a monopoly on the Earth’s food and water supplies. Countries (by extension of those companies) are at war in space for other world’s resources. But mostly the politics and relationship between the companies, the government, and the general public come into play in this remarkable debut.

From the start, the story had the feel of one of my favorite films The Last Starfighter or Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. But after Tom gets recruited, the similarities fade. Part scifi adventure, part YA coming-of-age story, part political thriller – this ambitious novel has a fantastic blend of suspense and drama. Fast-paced and full of mystery and adventure – Insignia is an enjoyable and riveting read for science fiction fans of all ages.


Insignia releases from Katherine Tegen (Harper Teen) Books on July 10, 2012.

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