by SJ Kincaid
Insignia trilogy; book III
Guys, I LOVE the Insignia series. Ever since I got tired of reading deep, depressing YA contemporary books, I've been looking for "quick fix" type books that are perfect escapes and full of action and humour-- and this series is exactly what I'm looking for. I was so thrilled to have won an ARC from the author and even more delighted to see what lay ahead.
**May contain SPOILERS for previous 2 books**
This exhilarating, explosive, and heartrending conclusion to the Insignia trilogy brings Tom and his intelligent, passionate, and brave young friends stunning tests and dangerous confrontations and through to an impossible future they could never have predicted.
Tom Raines and his friends are eager to return to the Pentagonal Spire to continue training for the elite Intrasolar Forces, but they soon discover troubling changes: strict new regulations and the revelation that the Spire is under new military control. What begins as an irritating adjustment soon reveals a dangerous shift in reality. Those now in control are aligned with corporate sponsors and their ruthless agendas. And when the military academy begins welcoming new cadets with suspicious neural processors, the first step in a plan with horrifying worldwide ramifications, Tom is desperate to stop it, even if that means keeping secrets from his closest allies.
Then a mysterious figure, the other ghost in the machine, begins fighting against the corporations, but with methods even Tom finds shocking. And when the enemy comes for Tom, how much can Tom endure in the battle to save himself? He must decide if he can still fight when the odds of success seem to be sliding from his grip.
Gosh, I love this series. I don't finish a lot of series, but boy am I glad to have finished this one.
It's a bit slow to start, and it takes some time to get used to the characters, storyline, and terminology again... but it didn't take too long to get up and running again. I LOVED the way Kincaid has evolved her young, exciting action series into something more mature, thought-provoking, darker, and ominous. She went dark, man, I didn't expect it but I really appreciated it anyway. She managed to up the stakes and deal wonderfully with character development.
Although we saw less of Wyatt, there were a few significant moments that I thought were just perfect. She's always been an underdog favourite of mine, and I love her character arc. Blackburn was always a wild-card (though I'll admit, I have forgotten a lot about his role in the earlier books) but I loved that he's a really complex, ambiguous character that I couldn't pinpoint. Vik and Yuri's dialogue was once again pitch perfect; they were unique and so entirely them. And of course, Tom. Tom Raines, I can't say enough good things about you, you wonderful character. Infinite hugs for you. His storyline was just beautifully done, which is kind of difficult when you feel caught up in a Transformers-movie-esque action scene, but still. Harrowing and heartbreaking at times, his progression in this entire series is marvellous. Kincaid gave us a sympathetic character who had to grow into his own, and undoubtedly succeeded.
I liked the plot, although the ending was a bit too tidy for my liking, but the ride was so worth it. I had no idea how they'd get out of this mess, and the resolution was wholeheartedly satisfying. I liked how we ventured a lot further from the Spire and into the 'real world', away from pranks and into murders, villains, and the struggle for humanity.
It's an imaginative series with broad appeal that has great characters, writing, pacing, and heart. As a picky reader, I'm not easily impressed... I'll be sitting here urging you to pick this series up.
Thank you, SJ Kincaid.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: people looking for something fun, readable, Harry Potter-esque main character/vibe, a technology-heavy futuristic world
author website / twitter
goodreads for book 1, book 2 (seriously pick them up!)