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Insignia | [S. J. Kincaid]

Insignia

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 III. 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.

©2012 S. J. Kincaid (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (89 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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4.2 (83 )
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4.4 (82 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Wendy O FALLON, MO, United States 07-23-12
    Wendy O FALLON, MO, United States 07-23-12 Member Since 2010

    I have been an avid reader my whole life. I love getting lost in a good story and letting the real world get lost for awhile.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "YA Novel with Adult Appeal"

    I am an adult that was greatly entertained by this futuristic YA novel. There are some very interesting concepts within the story, and it had me hooked right from the first minute. The friendship interaction is great and held quite a few humorous moments that had me laughing out loud.

    What you should know:
    -This IS a YA novel and the complexity of the tale reflects that fact, but it IS a great story, and the young adult within myself enjoyed every minute of it!
    -Well Worth the Credit, and I will be listening to this book again.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe casselberry, FL, United States 07-14-12
    Joe casselberry, FL, United States 07-14-12
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    "Not what i expected...but no disappointment either"

    While i enjoyed this book it was unexpected, most writers would have followed the formula for a youth action adventure...not here, oh there were some parallels to the formula, but not in the way you'd expect.
    I would even have written it differently, but i enjoyed it as it was.
    This was more cerebral, psychological, moral, than i was looking for. I was shopping for a good shoot em' up sci-fi thriller. Again, i was both disappointed to not get was i was looking for, and surprised that i liked it anyway.
    It was worth the credit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer BERKELEY, CA, United States 09-03-12
    Jennifer BERKELEY, CA, United States 09-03-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ender's Game, White Mountains & gaming combined!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you liked Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card this book will appeal. Fast moving, mind tweaking and great character relationships that keep readers feeling attached. Dialogue is kid-realistic and suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat. Great read, fun ride!


    Have you listened to any of Lincoln Hoppe’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not that I know of.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes - but I did not manage it... walked around plugged into my phone while doing the dishes, though :-)


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 07-30-14
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 07-30-14 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Definitely for YA audiences!"

    I had hopes this book would be similar to Card's Ender series, in that they had wide appeal to adults and YA audiences, alike. However, I feel this book was written mainly for young adults, which is certainly understandable and reasonable. Therefore, I am not deducting stars because I was not the target audience.

    I felt that this book was lacking in action, that is, too much time was spent in setting up the story and characters. Yet, there was very little description of the characters and in my mind, I couldn't begin to visualize them. This was a relatively easy listen but towards the end, I was just wanting to finish. I already figured out what was going to happen and when it did, it was just ho-hum for me. I guess this book was missing a sense of excitement for me. Perhaps I look for something else than a younger audience--actually, there is little doubt about this.

    As for the narration, Lincoln Hoppe has always been a favorite of mine. I think he usually does a great job of narrating YA books. One problem, however, was that his voices sounded truly adult and not teen at all. I had difficulty with this and had to keep reminding myself they were teens, with the exception of the times they were creating fart viruses!

    I am a bit concerned about this review as I always want to be fair to an author. I'd say, if you are a lover of YA literature and this sounds like a book you'd like, go for it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Skojec Northern Virginia, United States 08-21-12
    Steve Skojec Northern Virginia, United States 08-21-12
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    "Great Characters, Great Narration, Excellent Debut"
    Would you listen to Insignia again? Why?

    I don't typically listen to audiobooks more than once, but I would consider it.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Insignia?

    When Tom realizes the nature of the "incursion," what his capabilities are, and just who he is about to meet there for the first time.


    Which character – as performed by Lincoln Hoppe – was your favorite?

    Vik.


    Any additional comments?

    Why is it that lately, it seems the best sci-fi stories are showing up in the YA category? Maybe I'm just a kid at heart, and something about the struggle to find your place in the world and prove yourself still appeals to me more than reading about characters who already have it all figured out.

    Insignia is a smart, funny, imaginative read. It takes place in a quasi-believable future, but I mean that in the best possible sense. Though the technology and the theory of war that drive the story seems far-fetched, suspension of disbelief is easy to reach, and from there on out the story is compelling in the universe where it exists.

    As with all of the most enjoyable books, it is the fact that Kincaid takes the time to flesh out her characters and make them real, relatable, and interesting that really rivet you to the narrative. The cast of principle characters is fantastic, including some of the villains. I look forward to seeing how they all grow and develop over the coming books.

    This year I've been reading a lot of debut novelists, and based on the quality of work I'm seeing, I couldn't be more excited about the future of science fiction. It's a great time to be a fan.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacquie Spokane, WA, United States 08-20-12
    Jacquie Spokane, WA, United States 08-20-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Loved the mix of humor and drama in this novel"
    Would you listen to Insignia again? Why?

    I would listen again.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Insignia?

    Tiny spicy vicrum


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The nerrator does such a good job with the accents and added humor I actually laughed out loud in parts. I could easily visualize the scene and the interaction between characters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kraig Charlotte, NC, United States 02-01-13
    Kraig Charlotte, NC, United States 02-01-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Harry Potter meets Ender's Game - but falls short"

    I really wanted to like this story. I have read Enders's Gamer by Orson Scott Card three times and still consider it one of the best young adult level scifi books of all time. Much of Insignia started out very much like Enders. It had new classmates, bullies, class work, training simulations and dialog that is common with teenagers. The Harry Potter connection is in the friendships made, mischief and rule breaking, special powers, and how they protect each other from harm. There are also mean spirited instructors and rival classmates who will stop at nothing to make Harry, I mean Tom's life as miserable as possible.

    I expected all of the lead up, character development and "getting to know you" segments to last maybe a 1/3 of the book. But no, nearly 75% of the book passed before some real action and intrigue started. I wanted more space battles and a chance for Tom to be extraordinary more often - to prove his critics wrong, to fry Carl with his "gift." Instead he spends most of the story defying authority and being subjected to humiliation' bullying and even torture by both students and teachers alike. It gets frustrating. I just wanted Tom to start taking swings at people. With that much ridicule I would have.

    SPOILER: there's a happy ending and Tom saves the day but its an unsatisfactory conclusion and wrapped up quickly. The final battle sequence, righting the wrongs, revenge, and bringing some relationships to closure all happen in about 40 minutes of a 9 hour book.

    Perhaps it has been setup as a sequel, and if it has I recommend the authors give Tom a chance to really act the part of superhero. Let his powers develop further and give him a chance to save the universe. Oh, and a hookup with Wyatt should be included.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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