Wednesday, July 26, 2017


The Insignia series feels like Ender's Game or Harry Potter or perhaps even Hunger Games. A young person is an outcast, but he has special talents. He goes off to a special school with all the best and brightest. He has conflicts there, but also finds some close friends. There are some adults that support him, but others that do not like him at all. He helps hatch a plan to save the world from a corrupt system ruled over by a crazed super villain. They live happily ever after. There is also a little falling in love. The boy realizes he really likes his "friend girl", but he has another girl that he loves.

In Catalyst, everything comes to its fairy tale ending. Before that, there is some mass destruction. The earth is nearly obliterated by a meteor, most of society's bigwigs are killed by their own mechanical security and the human race is "infected" with nanocontrollers that make them obey all laws and serve the CEO of the tech company. There is a long chunk of the story where the super villain "breaks" the hero. It seems to drag on forever. However, that probably helps to drive home the point of how painful this torture is. Alas, this torture ends up being what leads to the villain's downfall.

When I started the series, I did not want to put it down. However, the magic faded as I progressed through the books. The final ending felt artificial. (Society is totally upended and everyone is just suddenly peaceful?) There are some good parts in the process (including some "simulated" inebriation programs to "improve" bad dates.) There is also some character growth. However, it seems to happen in spurts. (Tom is away from his friends for less time than he has been with them. However, despite living through extreme situations, they seem to be just like they were before he left.) Blackburn learns that love is more powerful than revenge, but we still don't get an explanation for the murder of one of his students. Tom does learn that he cannot do everything by himself and that sometimes doing things you don't like can be helpful. And everybody lives happily ever after.

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