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Insignia (Insignia, #1)
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(Insignia #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  14,438 ratings  ·  1,650 reviews
The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S. J. Kincaid's fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy perfect for fans of Ender's Game.

The planet's natural resources are almost gone, and war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning. The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn't seem like a hero. He's a short fourteen-
Hardcover, 446 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books (first published July 1st 2012)
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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 beginni…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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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  14,438 ratings  ·  1,650 reviews

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Emily May
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, 2012, sci-fi
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.

In the end, I just don't care that much about gadgets and battles. This is one of those particular wish fulfillment books about that special day when a member of the government w
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!


Jul 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, favorites
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
Jul 17, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Ivie dan Glokta
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
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
“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 t
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, kindle
3.5 stars rounded up to 4

Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-happy-place
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
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.75* (VR boarding school)

The story and characters are fun and amazing once the story gets past all the academy stuff and info-dumping in the beginning. There are some cool parts in the beginning of the book also, but after the around the 200 page mark the story gets way better because there are lot of personal motivations for many different characters trying to get what they want and causing many interesting problems. There is a lot of hacking and technology involved all throughout the story an
Jul 17, 2012 marked it as likely-getting-back-to
Whaddayaknow. Yet ANOTHER guys' POV on my list. So don't say I didn't give them a try. ...more
Ana Ramos
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: january-2020-tbr
3,75 tho
Overall, it was a really fun read.
Jack Truong
Jul 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
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
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
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Reading is my Escape
That computer in your head is a weapon, but it is a double-edged sword.
- page 103

"War evolves over time. It's better to say, 'No one kills in this war yet.'"
- page 105

"People are expendable. Period. The only difference between the nineteen fifties and today is that there are billions more of us expendable human beings."
- page 106

"All the technology in the world can't change the fundamentals of human nature. There will always be war as long as human beings are capable of envy, hatred, and fear
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 04, 2015 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. ...more
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have to be in the right mood to read sci-fish book. When I first picked this book up and started reading I wasn't sure what to think. The story starts out about a smart kid with a pretty much dead beat dad that has an addiction to gambling. I felt sorry for Tom from the moment I met him. The entire story and world fascinated me. It's such a unique and interesting concept. From about page twenty-five or so the action really gets going and you are introduced to S.J. Kincaid's epic world building ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-galley
My biggest complaint is the manner in which the information is first shared. It’s taught. While said fact does make sense given the setting being an academy, things sometimes got a bit dry. That said, I did enjoy the story (eventually.)

I liked the idea of it. Set in the future, with corporations fighting over resources, battling things out in a in a virtual war. That technology was a key role had me worried. Would terms escape me? Would I ‘get’ it? I did… mainly because it read so darned exciti
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it

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
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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,
C.P. Cabaniss
Reread June-July 2020
"Manipulate a mind, and you manipulate the entire world as far as that person's concerned."

I've been wanting to reread this for ages and I am so glad I finally did! This middlegrade/YA sci-fi is fun and has a great cast of characters. Tom is immature and stupid a lot of the time, but he's also fourteen, so it fits and I love that.

This has a great friend group and watching it form is quite beautiful. I'm excited to continue my reread of the series and remind myself where
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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.” 55 likes
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