Sunday, October 14, 2012

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Tom is an amazing gamer and has been using his skills to con people out of enough money to be able to rent hotel rooms for himself and his dad, an alcoholic gambler.  Tom wants to have a better life so he is definitely interested when he is offered a chance to train at the Pentagonal Spire, a military academy.  If he does well Tom will be one of the elite combatants fighting World War III with drones in space.  After arriving at the Spire Tom finds that the catch to the offer is that he will have to have a computer embedded in his brain that will help him to fight even faster than before but will also make him susceptible to viruses.  Tom settles into his life of training at the Spire but soon learns that not everything is as it seems: a Russian recruit has his computer scrambled whenever anything top secret is mentioned in case he is a spy; the public face of the combatants is not the one actually fighting his battles; Tom's stepfather is the head of one of the companies sponsoring combatants and he wants to program Tom to be the model recruit; and the programming teacher knows that someone has been hacking his systems and he is hiding an important secret from his own past.  The premise of this book is great and all the characters are likeable but it is much too long.  I was very interested with Tom's stepfather started enacting his plan but then it didn't seem to really go anywhere.  Of course I wanted Tom to get revenge on him but I think it would've been more interesting if the plan had made Tom into more of a threat before it was found out.  Great potential but not as much fun in actuality.