I decided to read Insignia after I ran across its sequel on the HarperTeen site, then realized my library had the first installment. My initial expect...moreI decided to read Insignia after I ran across its sequel on the HarperTeen site, then realized my library had the first installment. My initial expectations were low, especially when I realized the MC was a 14-year-old, as I haven't had a lot of luck with young-YA books in the last few years. I'm not going to say Insignia is a great work of literature, but it's entertaining, funny, and plays on two of my favorite themes: evil corporations taking over the world and life after your brain is augmented/replaced by an ultracomputer. While there are echoes of Ender's Game and even original Star Trek episodes (does anyone else remember "A Taste of Armageddon", in which Kirk & Co. encounter the society embroiled in a simulated "war" that nonetheless kills people by requiring them to report to suicide booths within 24 hours of being "killed"?), the plot is interesting and fast-moving and the characters were clearly drawn by someone who knows this age group well.
Now, there are times when you really have to will yourself into keeping that disbelief suspended. For example, the military and a bunch of (evil) corporate suits give a bunch of 14-year-olds super-abilities and tens of millions of dollars' worth of wetware, without much in the way of limitations or safeguards. Okay, everyone over the age of 16: does that sound like a good idea to you? I mean, at the age of 14, I was a certified Good Girl who got straight A's without trying and never broke the rules, and even knowing all that, I wouldn't trust the 14YO version of myself with that kind of power. However, if you don't expect too much in the way of realism, is a quick read with an engaging plot and a sizable vein of humor. (less)