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Insignia (Insignia #1)

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  9,991 Ratings  ·  1,258 Reviews
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’
Paperback, 446 pages
Published July 2012 by Hot Key Books
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Bluegravity No, this is not a total copy of Ender's game. The main similarity is the equipment used to monitor Ender as a child. You'll notice at the very…moreNo, this is not a total copy of Ender's game. The main similarity is the equipment used to monitor Ender as a child. You'll notice at the very beginning that it is removed while it is implanted and is of focus during the whole story for insignia. The other main similarity is the fact that they train and fight in space. The difference is that their main training is cybernetically, and they are not focused on defeating the buggers but winning competitions between their own nations for rights to resources, which is not found in Ender's game, but may have some similarity (vaguely) in Speaker of the Dead (hard book for me to read), especially regarding what happened to some of the really smart people there, maybe. Mostly not. Mm, I haven't read the second book yet, but I can tell you that the overall feel of the book is totally different from Ender's game. If you read my synopsis, you'll also notice I mentioned Ender's game, but you can glean a bit more of how vast the differences are if you have already read Ender's game.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Emily May
Aug 13, 2012 Emily May rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teen boys
It seems a little unfair to give this such a low rating when the only problem is that I'm obviously not the desired audience. But, because goodreads' rating system only allows for how much I personally enjoyed the book, I'm not prepared to go so far as to say "I liked it" and give it 3 stars as that would be untrue. Please just remember this: had I been a teenage boy (about 12-16), I would probably have loved Insignia, and I'm actually pleased that authors are still remembering to cater for t
Julianna Helms
Quick reaction: This book is so funny it will make you laugh until you start to cry. Then you'll actually cry--because this story is so raw, so complete, so fantastically satisfying that you'll marvel at how, yes, such brilliance finally, finally got published!

I. am. in. love. with. this. book. Head-over-heels sort of love.

If you love Divergent by Veronica Roth (which should be everyone of you out there reading this), you will be completely blown away by this book. Pre-order it! Now!


Insignia is the type of book that would have blown me away if I had been any younger. While it is marketed as a Young Adult Novel, I'd probably recommend it for mature middle grade students or young high schoolers. I definitely don't see anything wrong in reading it as an older teen, like me, but it simply doesn't have the desired punch on a much older audience.

Tom lives in a futuristic world, not too far ahead from our very own, where World War III is fought solely in space without losing any
No sé si el libro tenía mucho hype o solo era yo, me gusto pero no como pensé, igual continuare con la trilogía pero ya no le guardare muchas esperanzas.
Jun 21, 2012 Meg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay so here's the deal. I went into reading this book knowing very little about it. After a small nudge from Molly O'Neill and a fun conversation with S.J. Kincaid at BEA 2012, it quickly made its way to the top of my to-be-read list.

This book is well written, with a plot that sucks you in, and characters that are easy to love. I've already told my mom (who is a middle school librarian) that she will need countless copies of Insignia for her library. The boys are going to eat this one up. But
Danny Phanton
May 13, 2016 Danny Phanton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reseña en el blog: La cueva de Danny.

"Mientras los seres humanos sean capaces de sentir envidia, odio y temor, siempre habrá guerra."


¡Me encantó! Creo que Insignia es un buen inicio de trilogía, nos adentra de lleno a este mundo creado por la autora de una manera fácil y entretenida de leer, con un estilo de escritura ágil de seguir, con personajes bien construidos y definidos que le dan ese toque especial a la historia y que le dan toques de romance, de humor y misterio por saber más sobre a
May 14, 2012 Brodie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2012
Tom's never really had the chance to make friends, to live a life of routine or attend a proper school. He and his father are constantly on the move, town after town, feeding his father's gambling addiction. Waiting for that 'big break' that will set them up for good. The break that never comes. But then Tom's incredible gaming talent is noticed by the military, who manage to track him down and offer a once in a life time opportunity. The chance to train at the exclusive Pentagonal Spire to beco ...more
Nov 16, 2012 TheBookSmugglers rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Original review posted over at Kirkus

Taken at face value, S.J. Kincaid's Insignia is a competent, albeit derivative, science fiction novel about underdog teenager Tom Raines, who is given the chance to prove himself by joining a military program to become part of an elite team of teen virtual combatants during World War III.

World War III is a bloodless war: spacecrafts are remotely controlled by virtual warriors in a fight between Corporations who have aligned themselves with either the Indo-Am
Mar 07, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro muy entretenido, personajes entrañables, destaca mucho temas de amistad y lealtad, me gusta cómo está ambientado y cómo funciona el lugar donde se desarrolla, lo de la realidad virtual y todo. Sobre todo me gustó que la guerra que se desata entre estudiantes sea utilizando programación: virus vs firewall. Me sacó muchas sonrisas y a veces carcajadas.
Para ser el inicio de una trilogía no parece para nada introductorio y como es un libro de aprendizaje vas conociendo todo a la par que los
Jorge Trejo
Apr 10, 2016 Jorge Trejo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Insignia es el primer libro de la saga del mismo nombre en la que S. J. Kincaid nos lleva a un escenario futurista, en el que la tercera guerra mundial se está desarrollando, pero lo el uso de la tecnología permite que nuestro planeta no sea destruido.
Tom Raines es un chico inteligente y rebelde de apenas catorce años, desde que tiene memoria ha vivido solamente con su padre en una constante mudanza y con el problema de la falta de dinero, ya que su padre es un apostador que no se ha preocupado
Mar 14, 2014 Leonel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Básicamente, en Insignia seguimos los pasos de Tom Raines, un protagonista un tanto peculiar, y creo que esto es parte del encanto de la historia. Este chico es lo opuesto a los personajes masculinos que solemos encontrar en las novelas juveniles; Tom no es lindo, no tiene cincuenta chicas atrás, no es creído ni nada por el estilo. En este caso, es un chico que siente que no va a ser nadie en su vida; luego de que su madre lo abandonara, Tom se crió yendo de casino en casino con su padre, sin un ...more
Ivie ✩Born to Magic-Forced to Muggle✩
I am cursed...I really am. I have fallen trough a vortex of warped novels and am currently stuck in Limbo of unoriginality.

I will admit to something. Lately I choose novels with very good ratings and little to no research thinking that's more than enough for me. At least it should have been. I am coming face to face with the realisation of how flawed that system of selection is. It simply doesn't work. A sky high rating doesn't guarantee good book.

Insignia wasn't bad, but it was unoriginal. Th

Insignia by S.J Kincaid is set in the future, however the year is never specified. Tom Raines is fourteen and travels from casino to casino with father who is an ex-professional gambler. He occasionally attends Rosewood Reformatory School by logging in virtually, but he often forgets or doesn’t have a connection to the internet because his father can’t always afford a motel room. World War Three is currently being played out in space. Countries have aligned together: India-America, supported by
A boy, outer space, and video games – you’d think that this isn’t really something that I’d like, especially since I read the infamous Ender's Game earlier this year and was very “meh” about it. But Insignia, oh man, I LOVED this book. Let me tell you why.

It’s action packed.
Lots of BANG, WHOOSH, PHEW – I don’t know how else to describe the action that happens in this book. From the scenes where they’re training to the war and epic battles – everything is fast paced.

Tom is SUCH a boy.
He likes the
Jul 27, 2012 Katy marked it as likely-getting-back-to  ·  review of another edition
Whaddayaknow. Yet ANOTHER guys' POV on my list. So don't say I didn't give them a try.
Lori at Pure Imagination
Insignia by S.J. Kincaid is outside my comfort zone. Way outside my comfort zone. There’s something about sci-fi that puts me off. At least that was what I thought before. I picked up Insignia because it was there and people were raving about it. I thought ‘Well, I’ll give it a chance’. Next thing I knew I was 150 pages into it and in love. I can’t tell you just how much I loved this book!

Insignia has that undeniable quality that makes a spectacular book. I’m never good at pinpointing what exact
Taschima Cullen
Aug 06, 2014 Taschima Cullen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don't be fooled by the mediocre cover, Insignia is by far one of the best books I've read this year. In fact, it may be the best debut of 2012. I LOVED IT! I loved it so much that I had to pace myself while reading it because I knew that when it was over it would really be over and then I would have to wait God knows how long for the sequel. The only downfall of this book is that it was so good that you can't help but devour it in mere hours.

It has it all really; engaging characters, a great wor
Feb 19, 2015 Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Okay, the thought that came to me about 70 times while reading the book was:
This is a cross between Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (though I haven't finished that book, I've read enough to compare it to this one)

It was pretty epic, I must admit. There is no hesitancy when saying that. The plot is fantastic, constantly leaving me on edge waiting for more, the characters were all so different and, well, funny (the Android and Man Hands are good examples), di
Apr 02, 2012 Jennie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, ya
I picked this up with pretty low expectations, a product of dystopia fatigue. Woah boy was I proven wrong. Mark my words, this one should hit big. Hopefully Harry Potter or Hunger Games big. I blew through over 400 pages in a single afternoon, forgoing dinner in order to find out what happened next.

Insignia is everything that the dystopian genre was made for. Kincaid cribbed right from the headlines: countries run by dirty corporate money, wars fought with public funds for private wealth, and a
Jul 30, 2012 Mitch rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a book I actually ended up liking, I can't believe how many times I bashed my head against my desk while reading Insignia. I'm sorry, but the premise here is borderline nonsensical and just self-contradictory, and even worse is the way it's just shoved down my throat via these lectures and speeches by these military 'experts' and top brass. I'm usually good too if the book at least follows some sort of internal logic, but the first half of this one just pissed me off so bad. If it wasn't for ...more
I was going to wait to review S.J. Kincaid’s Insignia because, hey, July is still months away, but I figured there’s no harm in gushing over its brilliance a little in advance. Before I received my copy, I thought it sounded interesting and I liked that it gave me somewhat of an Ender’s Game vibe. Although I was a little worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations, I made it my first read of the year and the pressure was on! You guys... I loved this book!

There are so many sci-fi reads wh
Dec 15, 2015 Maraia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maraia by: Crini
Insignia was so much fun! I'm glad this is a series, because I'm not ready to say goodbye to such awesome characters. I can't wait to see what (mis)adventures they get into next. I also appreciated the more serious and thought-provoking themes present alongside the lighthearted elements of the story.
“Do you want to be somebody important?”


Never judge a book by its cover. A hard lesson I kinda learned several times now. If I just look at this book’s cover I would be blown away, because it is gorgeous and full of promises. It promises me excitement, a sense of danger and a fast paced adventure; sadly it doesn’t keep any of them.

First of all let me tell you I never read Ender’s Game, so I can’t make comparisons here like many other reviewers do. Second, I may make comparisons to
May 23, 2012 Anjana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

God, it's been so long since I read a book that had me tearing through the pages. A million zillion thanks to Harper Teen for letting me read this in advance.

Insignia's set in the future, it's World War Three and everything's different. Tom, our protagonist, is a gangly, pimply teenager whose life is heading nowhere since school's not really been in the picture for a while and most of the time, he's gambling (illegally) because that's the only thing his father's taught him. However, it's a diffe
Stacey (prettybooks)
Insignia is one of the most science fiction(y) novels I have ever read. It's a high concept story, action packed, and full of intergalactic fighting with robots, sending fellow classmates viruses (because they have computers installed in their brains, of course), and spending time in playing virtual reality video games that feel incredibly real...

I was so impressed with how detailed, imaginative, and intricate Insignia was. Not just the world-building (which, depending on what mood I'm in, can b
Hafsah Faizal
Jun 26, 2012 Hafsah Faizal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally Posted Here

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 h
Oct 27, 2012 Justin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“There really was nothing firm, nothing certain. Even here, even at this place where he thought he’d found something permanent—everything could change in a day. Everything could be lost so quickly.”

The book revolves around a boy named Tom. He used to be a nobody, just going around casinos with his dad, conning people out of money trying to survive. And then he catches the attention of a certain General Marsh, who works at the Pentagonal Spire, training teens to be Combatants in World War 3, w
Jack Truong
Jul 26, 2013 Jack Truong rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
ok this is the first DNF of the year. First, let's talk about how I get this book. I read around and saw many good reviews, ok cool, maybe some good sci-fi after all. I guess it doesn't hurt to try something new. I'm a big sci-fi fan anyway. I like Starships, space battles, nanomachines, young soldiers. This book has all of them, what can go wrong?

Turns out, it CAN and DOES go wrong.

Insignia struck me as a mix between Ender's Game and Harry Potter, with Tom = Harry, Vik = Ron and, surprise surpr
Feb 17, 2013 Devyani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Total Science Love.

I'm not a fan of Science Fiction. I've always been a contemporary nerd or in same cases a total fantasy junkie. I'll be honest, the last time I read a book from a guy's perspective in the science fiction genre was...when I was in middle school. And even then I hadn't liked what I had read. But Insignia was such a refreshing read.It was pure science fiction. Pure action. And in right words, the best book for a guy.

Just before I started reading this book, a friend of mine had b
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“He likes her."

"Yuri, no!" Vik said.

Yuri turned redder, confirming it.

"Yuri, come on, man," Tom cried.

Yuri gave a helpless shrug. "Divisions cannot divide human hearts."

"Oh God," Vik cried, clapping hands over his ears. "He's even spouting cheesy lines now. Make him stop, Tom!"

"I can't!" Tom told him. "My ears... They're bleeding. Bleeding!"

"It's a brain hemorrhage! He's murdered us!" Vik said.

"Murderer!" Tom cried, fake collapsing onto the ground.

Yuri shook his head. "This is not very mature.”
“Come on, Beamer! I beheaded you for your own good.” 50 likes
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