A Thrill Ride: A Review of INSIGNIA by S.J. Kincaid

Insignia (Insignia, #1) 
S.J. Kincaid
444 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: LOVED

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.

   To be a superhuman government weapon is every gaming kid’s dream. And that dream is about to become a reality for gamer kid Tom Raines. World War III has begun and the government desperately needs their weapons. So when they find a no-good son of a washed up gambler who knows how to play dirty, they pick him up greedily. Now if he can prove his combat skills are top notch then he’ll have a place at the country’s elite military academy, the Pentagonal Spire. Nothing from his past will matter because he will become a superior war machine, with the tech skills that every gaming kid dreams of. Even more, becoming a member of the Intrasolar Forces, offers all that Tom’s ever wanted and never had: friends, a decent home, and a life where his every decision matters. But what will it cost him?

   Insignia had all the elements of a New York Times bestseller – memorable characters, a very large dose of wit, and a thrill ride unmatched by any other debut novel I’ve read. It was gripping and provocative at some moments and hilariously funny at others. It’s descriptions of futuristic places make it seems as if you were actually there. The things that Tom(the main character) had to go through in the book puts you very close to him. Creating a one of a kind chemistry that will make you miss him when you finally turn the last page. A book that was already highly rated it passed all expectations. It’s a definite choice for boys but girls might take a liking to it too. I’ll give it 5 stars and the cover another 5. The cool use of different designs creates an amazing effect. The only part that I actually didn’t like was the title, which honestly makes no sense to me. But other than that it’s a fantastic read. And I’ll definitely be one of the first to read book two when it comes out.

This review was written by my 13 year old brother.
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Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.

June 25, 2012



  1. Reply

    Ilana Waters

    June 25, 2012

    Can I just say this was a really well-written review? I couldn't write that well when I was 13. And I didn't even know you had a brother!

  2. Reply

    Mary @ BookSwarm

    June 25, 2012

    Nice! I do love a fast-paced thrill ride so I'm definitely adding this one to my wishlist. Great review!

  3. Reply


    June 25, 2012

    Love your review! I'm absolutely dying to read Insignia! Luckily for me I'll be going to one of S.J. Kincaid's book signings. I'm super thrilled! Can't wait to read the book :)

  4. Reply

    sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books

    June 26, 2012

    WOW! 13 years old and writing great reviews! I am really looking forward to this one. :)

  5. Reply

    Dizneeee (Lisa)

    June 26, 2012

    Great review! I may have to pick this up and try it, but I will definitely add it to the list of recommendations for boys at my school.

  6. Reply


    October 17, 2012

    I've heard SUCH great things about this book. To be honest, I think I'm going to love it. Now if only I could get my hands on it!!

  7. Reply


    December 2, 2012

    Now I am really curious about the title. This book sounds great, I will need to read it soon.