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’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?
Gripping and provocative, S. J. Kincaid’s futuristic thrill ride of a debut crackles with memorable characters, tremendous wit, and a vision of the future that asks startling, timely questions about the melding of humanity and technology.
At first, I find myself battling in giving this book 3.5 stars or 4 stars. But then am settled to give it 3.5 stars.
At the very first 200 pages this book was really blowing me away. It was the use of some awesome terminologies that really did it to me. It got to be something to do with major I took at the Uni, I am an international security student, so when I read Insignia, it felt like I was sent back to those weapon and war technology classes and I was so excited. I made this paper about 5th generation war-fare and this book was definitely all about 5th generation war-fare. The time when war and conflict will be settled and took place in space.
I get it if some people find this book is not their "crowd" or meet their "taste". The use of some confusing security terminologies and also the political world-setting that shape the story could be the factor. Sometimes, it really was confusing. haha. However, that's what made it so interesting, because some people in this certain science already predict this kind of thing might happen in the future, so I was just so surprised that Kincaid really brought it in to the realm of YA books. So my brain was actually working and calculating throughout the story. haha..
I think that was the strong point and the very first thing that made me fell for this book. It wasn't like any of YA books. Although, after the excitement of the first 200 pages, I was experiencing a bit of the downhill-side of the story (maybe because I was already excited with the intensity and familiar with those confusing terminologies, concepts, and world setting), suddenly the story turned to be very teenage-ish. Thou, the characters were indeed teenagers, and it was totally normal. But deep-down inside I hope for something more and extravagant.
But don't worry, at the last 100 pages, the story started to pick up the intensity. There was some real-action-game going on.
Other things that I really like were the sense of humor and friendship of the characters in the book. I found myself laughing out loud through some parts of the story (it was pretty often thou) and also I couldn't stop myself comparing the friendship in this book with the one from Harry Potter (thou it was totally different world), it felt similar and familiar on that part.
Romance... there was always romance in YA books ;) definitely different and unpredictable. ;D It was and still is a big question mark on what will happen there.
I will definitely read the sequel thou. It was totally enjoyable and quite an intriguing read for me ;)