I decided to delve into this one for a read-along hosted by Epic Reads (*book shimmy*) and it turned out be a seriously good idea! When someone says sci-fi adventure I don’t really picture anything but now I think I’m going to have Insignia as a good to mental image. Some have likened this to Ender’s Game, but as I’ve never read it I have no idea if that’s true or not.Tom Raines is a fourteen year old kid with nothing to claim but his gaming skills, which are top-notch and end up getting him a sought after spot in the Intrasolar Forces. Intra is basically one of the coolest military ideas I’ve read in a YA book, think along the lines of gamers with control of high tech space fighters and virtual reality simulators. The over all use of the technology in both everyday and military aspects really gives this one some major points in my book, because honestly I wish I could do some of the stuff mentioned. The world-building is really great in terms of the new way the government works, the technology, and the premise behind World War III which I thought was pretty unique.Back to Tom! He’s a kid with no special talents or skills (other than gaming) and he’s not some drop dead gorgeous hunk, he’s refreshingly normal! I also like that he was a well rounded character in terms of personality. He grows over the course of the book but maintains his essential personality throughout. His friends Vikram, Wyatt and Beamer are really awesome as well. Beamer was definitely my favorite though because almost every scene he showed up in had me giggling to myself. He’s an absolute goofball. Vikram is definitely Tom’s right hand man, with a huge sense of humor and a great sense of loyalty. Some of the side characters definitely had me on edge and guessing about their motives like Medusa, Heather, Blackburn and Elliot. They all surprised me in some way and I definitely look forward to finding out more about them in Vortex, especially Medusa!Overall Insignia is a fast paced, enveloping read that pulled me in and made me jealous that I don’t have a job where I get to use virtual realty. I have Vortex waiting for me on my shelf and I can’t wait to dig in!