S. J. Kincaid was born in Alabama, grew up in California, and attended high school in New Hampshire. She also interned for a politician in Washington, DC, and received degrees from universities in Illinois and Ohio, but it was while living beside a haunted graveyard in Edinburgh, Scotland, that she realized she wanted to be a writer. Several years, several manuscripts, and several jobs later, Ms. Kincaid now lives in California, and Catalyst is the conclusion to the Insignia trilogy.
Gr 7 Up-Tom Raines, 14, moves from casino to casino with his gambler father, generally paying for their lodgings from his winnings at virtual reality games. When he passes a surprise VR scenario, he is recruited by General Marsh to join the Intrasolar Forces. Teens from the IF are backed by multinationals to fight for the Indo-American Alliance by remotely piloting spacecraft in battles around the solar system. He jumps at the chance to do something with his life and is whisked off to the Pentagonal Spire. There he learns that he must have a computer implanted in his brain to be able to fulfill his responsibilities. He also learns that his mother's hated boyfriend, Dalton Prestwick, is an important and ruthless figure among the corporate sponsors. Meanwhile, a new Combatant, call sign "Medusa," has joined the Russo-Chinese Alliance and is reaping victory after victory. Tom finds himself strangely intrigued by Medusa and violates protocols to seek her out over the Internet. He eventually discovers that he has an ability above and beyond his comrades to interface directly with machines around the Earth and beyond. It is only with this ability and the help of his friends that Tom is able to escape Prestwick's reprogramming, find the mole in the Spire, and defeat Medusa. Kincaid combines a Harry Potter-like teen discovering that he has unknown abilities being sent to a special boarding school with the Ender's Game plotline of humanity's space battles being fought remotely by juveniles. She adds espionage and corporate skullduggery along with multiple mysterious enemies to create a blockbuster of a debut.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"An unlikely teen is selected to attend Hogwarts-at-the-Pentagon.
With action, real humor and a likable, complex protagonist, this
fast-moving, satisfying adventure also provides some food for
"Hip, high-tech, and hilarious, INSIGNIA made my heart soar and left me with impossible-to-shake questions about technology, reality, and war."--Rae Carson, author of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS--Rae Carson
PRAISE FOR INSIGNIA "Insignia expertly combines humor with a disarming and highly realistic view of the future. The characters are real, funny, and memorable. You won't be able to put this book down."--Veronica Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of DIVERGENT and INSURGENT
"Kincaid's debut novel, an ambitious, high-concept m lange of the teen hacker and teen spy genres provides a fast-paced and exciting tale."--Publishers Weekly