Christina (Ensconced in Lit)'s Reviews > Insignia

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
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's review
Jul 14, 2012

really liked it
Read from July 10 to 14, 2012

I went to a Dark Days Tour event this past week, and the author Kincaid was there talking about her new book, Insignia. I was tempted from the rave reviews about it, so I picked it up while I was there.

Insignia is about a 14 year old boy named Tom who has nothing going for him and keeps his gambling addict father and himself clothed and housed through gaming. The government hears of him and soon he is whisked to the Pentagonal Spire where he is implanted with a neural device that allows him to enhance his knowledge with downloadable content; he effectively becomes a soldier in the military who want to use his talents for the current world war. Soon, he is pitted against the deadly but fascinating Medusa in a battle to end all battles.

I had a hard time rating this book because through 75% of the book, I was very distracted by the fact that the author basically transplanted the Hogwarts trio (Harry, Ron and Hermione) into Ender's Game. Literally, I could match up plot lines and characters from each book to the ones in Insignia. At the same time, it was still entertaining to read (since I obviously liked both of the aforementioned books). And the last 25% (with one exception, which I can't talk about because it would give away plot points) made it all worth reading because it finally focused on my favorite character of all, Medusa, and it veered away from the previous formulas a bit more. The characters are lovable and funny. Since I liked Hermione the best from Harry Potter, it's not surprising that I enjoyed Wyatt, her counterpart, probably the second most after Medusa. The protagonist, Tom, is very likeable but is definitely flawed and adolescent-- Kincaid knows how to write 14 year old boy perspectives! Blackburn, the Snape equivalent, is appropriately creepy. And Yuri, the Russian, was really fun-- and possibly the most original of the cast.

Overall, it was a fun read, and I'll keep it on my shelf, but this series needs to work more on originality; hopefully the next installment will showcase this talent.
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