Batty About Books
Insignia by SJ Kincaid
After a short break Maria and I are back tackling Insignia by SJ Kincaid. Maria's responses are in purple and she has a different take on this part over at Maria's Melange!
We’ve covered 1/2 the book so far. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you want to catch up.
Maria and I wanted to start talking about book covers. As we are all so visual, it pays for a company to make a book eye-catching but you also want the cover to speak to what’s inside the book. So, we’ll be adding a segment where we talk about the cover before and after we read!
I wasn’t attracted to this cover. The red background with the white lettering, while shouting science fiction, did not pull me in. I would not have given it a second glance without a twitter buddy’s recommendation. Once I picked it up and read the back, I wanted to read it. Word War III? Secret weapons? A blurb by Veronica Roth of Divergent fame??? Closer look needed! That’s when I noticed the computer chip-like background and the 1s and 0s (which Tom mentions whenever he’s trying to tap directly into a computer location). The cover reminds me of The Matrix but red instead of green. Yes! That’s exactly it. Definitely Matrixy.
On to Part 3 - pg. 223-332
This week we see Tom going through some changes. We are also introduced to a magic word - and we still don’t know what it means! There’s also some primping, some exercising, and a whole lot of sewage!
First off let me say that my feelings for this book have not improved. It’s just not my cup of tea. I’ve tried to put my feelings aside and just read the book, but then the writing style gets in the way. It’s uneven. So, I ask that you read my part with a grain of salt keeping in mind that this is not my book. I will be quick and try to keep this spoiler free. What’s really funny is that I often get nervous when I like a book and someone else doesn’t. So I have had to try to focus on whether I was enjoying this book or if I was trying to spot the things that are making you not like it. As I generally take on the “mediator” role in any group or conversation, I have to watch that tendency here.
Another interesting thing is that you raved about Ready Player One. I’m listening to it now, and enjoying it, but I don’t think it is one I would rave about. The “info dumping” has gotten a bit old.
I wonder if NOT having read Ready Player One first would have changed things for me? Though my beef isn't with the story - which I like - it's the execution.
Tom gets to fight with Medusa. I like that they are becoming friends even though they haven’t met yet. It’s refreshing to read about a building relationship instead of an insta-romance. I agree. I’m finding their relationship very entertaining also. I like that she is happy to keep beating him.
I was let down with the ending of the virus battle. I wanted more man!
They cut the old neuroprocessors out of the adults that went crazy and re-used them??? SCARY! I expect to hear more about that! Also, the student’s memories are stored on the processors? (232) So if Beamer’s get removed, will he only remember his life before or after the Spire? This whole idea is crazy scary, but seems so plausible. Can’t you just picture some government doing this?
BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION PROGRAMS!
Tom threw out the word ROANOKE and heck breaks loose! What does it mean? Will we find out in this book? I was so fascinated by this! I have to admit, I’ve read a bit more now and they do talk about it... I’ll be curious to hear what you think when you get to that.
Dalton says - “once the lot of you are public...” What are his and Vengerov’s plans???? Is Dominion planning domination?
First, Why did Tom get in the car without using netsend to let Vic know what was going on? His earlier feelings about Dalton should have prevented this from happening. Also, he was gone a long time and no one knew? If Dalton used Tom’s GPS to track him, wouldn’t his friends use it to look for him too? (247) Yes, I was surprised that he didn’t say anything to Vikram - but he was so intent on finding a way to keep this life that I can believe he would get into the car for the chance to get sponsored.
Second, no one at the Spire suspected or noticed anything? One whole month went by! I agree on this one, although I think it may be because we were getting Tom’s perspective. I bet his friends did suspect things were weird. There is some evidence that they were getting annoyed and suspicious (though I don’t think I marked any specific passages so I can’t find direct quotes). Wyatt, for one, seems to feel there is something wrong with him.
Lastly, I get the impression the author doesn’t like any of the characters. Teenaged boys? They are immature and easily provoked by saying they can’t do something. Teachers? Evil and will use their position for their own amusement including “getting back at” students with assignments. Adults? Evil or blind. They are just promoting their own interests. No real feelings for anyone else. Also, the ones in charge don’t notice anything. Teenaged girls? If they are smart, they are mannish and uncouth. If they are pretty (and they can’t be both) they will use their looks to forward their agenda or they are shallow like the ones we see in the mall (294). I honestly did hope we would get more with Heather so that she would have a chance to redeem herself. I’m fascinated by Blackburn - but I’m not actually “liking” him as I move into section 4. I bet you’ll really hate him now!
Overall for Part 3
It just felt implausible. I’m heading into Part 4 still holding out hope for redemption. I commented on a few things I felt were unlikely, but it sounds like I’m a lot happier with this book than you are. Hopefully our next book will be more up your alley!