Book Blog: INSIGNIA by S.J. Kincaid

I’m not a gamer or a gambler, a boy or a pilot, and I don’t even know the definition of cyberpunk, but when I read INSIGNIA by S.J. Kincaid, I literally COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN. It was one of those books I lost myself in.... The voice was fresh. The themes felt new. It was like falling into an entirely foreign, thrilling experience that I didn’t want it to end. Isn't that what makes reading such an enjoyable past time? We become different people, swallowed up into their reality? 

Okay, so here's the gist of this Dystopian novel: Game-loving teen Tom Raines is the son an unlucky, gambling dad. They’re constantly drifting from casino to casino, and while Tom yearns to be someone important, the reality is he’s just... invisible. But then one day, the government picks up on Tom’s incredible virtual reality gaming skills and offer him a spot at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. It’s the chance of a lifetime. At the Spire, Tom's trained to become a superhuman war machine. He makes friends (something he's never had before) and there’s even a love interest. But Tom's faced with deep moral dilemmas, and he has to decide how much he's willing to sacrifice – of his new life and himself – on his quest for greatness. 

I loved Tom, and the depth of his motivations, the way he weighed each moral decision. The plot unpacks real, alarming themes related to technology, war and government. The banter between Tom and his friends is spot-on dialogue genius, with hilarious lines and memorable moments, both inside the gaming world and within the confines of their government-run training facility. INSIGNIA is a fast-paced book with unexpected twists and should totally be a case study on how to write a break out debut teen novel. If you need more reasons to read INSIGNIA, it’s won a ton of awards and was even selected for the 2013 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults List. 

Read INSIGNIA already? Loved it like I did? The bus doesn’t stop here, friends. The second book in the trilogy was recently released – VORTEX. Pick up your copy and get reading this weekend :) 


This isn't something I'd have picked up on my own, but you sold it, Jodi!

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