Tuesday 17 July 2012

Review - Insignia

Insignia by SJ Kincaid

Insignia by SJ Kincaid
Fast forward to World War III. Alliances have formed between regions and corporations rather than national state governments. Fighting in this war takes place mainly in outer space and is fought remotely by Combatants with chips in the back of their heads. Enter Tom Raines.

Tom Raines doesn’t think he’s good at much – except games.  So it comes as a bit of a shock when he’s asked to join the military. Only promising young people are recruited by the military to become Combatants for the Intrasolar Forces in World War III. These trainee combatants live and train at the Pentagonal Spire. And Tom thinks this could be his route to becoming somebody.

Much like any school story, there is a broad cast of characters and the plot in Insignia is littered with gamers, golden boys and girls, traitors, spies, geeky programmers, duplicitous beauties, torturous military staff, a whole lot of avatars and some deepdown ordinary folk too. If you like strong characters, there are quite a few in here, both boys and girls. I found myself really rooting for many of them. Wyatt is one. And Medusa.  And even Elliot. I shan’t tell you why because that would give too much away!  Read the book yourself and see who you root for…..

For me, an underlying theme of the book is body image.  The overall message on this front is that looks shouldn’t really count. When looks are taken out of the picture, this story shows that they don’t count. But, it also shows how many of the characters battle with their own thoughts about body image. Can looking ‘good’ really make you somebody? And be warned….things aren’t all that they seem! All kinds of boundaries are crossed.

Insignia will appeal to any reader who enjoys the tussles of boarding school life and the mind games involved in working out who your friends really are. There’s plenty of that in there especially when dangerous and perplexing computer challenges are set. There is also plenty of page-turning action and puzzles to keep you guessing. The ending is electrifying, and you will want to read the next book. Insignia is the first book in a planned trilogy.

I think this book will appeal to both boys and girls and is easily suitable for readers aged 11 plus. I can think of a good few adults who will like it too.

Hot Key Ring for Insignia
Instead of age ratings or warnings, Hot Key Books put a 'Hot Key Ring' on the back cover of their books. This aims to show readers what sort of things are in the book. I think I'd agree with their ring for Insignia. 
Publication details:
Hot Key Books, August 2012, London

This copy: uncorrected proof copy from Hot Key Books.

1 comment:

  1. I also read this book too but I did not do a review on it but I will do a little one here.

    I really enjoyed this book because it was a topic that I have never read before and I didn't know if I was going to like it. But when I started reading it I couldn't put the book down.

    I'm not quite sure why I liked it so much but it might be the fact that in the book people can have a little computer put into their head and survive.

    I think this book is a great read for people who like action, space wars and computers. It is really gadgety.

    So that's my little review on Insignia.


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