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I Belong

Review: Vortex by Julie Cross

Title: Vortex

Author: Julie Cross

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Series: Tempest (Book 2)

Publication Date: January 15, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0312568908 (Mac Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0312568900 (Mac Teen)

Reviewed by: Michelle


Jackson Meyer has thrown himself into his role as an agent for Tempest, the shadowy division of the CIA that handles all time-travel-related threats. Despite his heartbreak at losing the love of his life, Jackson has proved himself to be an excellent agent. However, after an accidental run in with Holly—the girl he altered history to save—Jackson is once again reminded of what he’s lost. And when Eyewall, an opposing division of the CIA, emerges, Jackson and his fellow agents not only find themselves under attack, but Jackson begins to discover that the world around him has changed and someone knows about his erased relationship with Holly, putting both their lives at risk all over again.

Quick & Dirty: Time travel, secrets, and altered realities fill the pages of this science fiction tale.

Opening Sentence: The only things that gave me the strength to pull myself off that grassy spot and walk farther from Holly were the images that flashed through my mind — Holly, sitting in that orientation, hiding the book in her lap with her name carefully written inside, her hair twirling around the pencil she was using to take notes.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Vortex is the sequel to Tempest by Julie Cross. There was a lot of hype about Tempest and sometimes when that happens, there is a clear divide about the sequel. I’m not sure why that happens, but it does. The Tempest books are about time travel, and as a fan of science fiction, I wanted to dive into them. Vortex does a good job as a follow up to Tempest, continuing on with the theme, seeming like no time has passed between the two books. But there are differences. Let me explain.

Vortex starts with a lot going on. There isn’t a catching up period as most sequels do. It begins with Jackson figuring out his life without Molly, his one love that he decided to protect and erase from his history, or rather his future. Jackson is now a Tempest agent in training, and while he has learned a lot already, he is still learning. But there are things unknown about time jumping that the Tempest agency does not know, and with strangers from the future showing up, Jackson must figure it all out. Time isn’t just a setting, it is a character.

In Vortex, I saw a different side of Jackson. He isn’t as confident as I thought he was in Tempest. He has a lot of secrets, all to protect on his own, and all as a huge burden on his shoulders. He’s a lot more emotional this time around, and at times it’s a little putting off. But I like the changes that Jackson went through. It made him more believable as a human. He yearned for his sister in Tempest, but in Vortex, it was a different type of yearning. Jackson also comes into his own, growing up and maturing. He’s no longer this young teenager. Instead, I found him to be a little more responsible for his actions. His overall voice has evolved, making him more enjoyable to read this time around.

In my opinion, I felt that Vortex had more action. The theme of the book went a little darker than in Tempest, but only enough to change the tone, if that makes sense. I enjoyed that there were more time jumps, dangers involved, and many more consequences. Jackson’s actions weigh heavily throughout the book, and they are only beginning to fully comprehend and address it.

But I was confused about a lot of things. The ideas and thoughts I had over Tempest changed after reading Vortex. The original notions that I learned about the characters and the theories were thrown out the window after reading through Vortex. The pacing was probably too fast and too unpredictable for me to comprehend and fully appreciate Cross’ writing and story. I wanted to take a moment and understand why the changes happened as they did. I wanted to understand why the story was taking a turn in the manner that it did.

In the end, there’s a cliffhanger that I didn’t see coming. It made me anxious enough to want to read the final book in the series. While I had reservations about Vortex, I enjoyed it overall and I think you will too.

Notable Scene:

Instead, I threw my backpack on the hard wood floor and laid my head on it. I wanted to call my dad and tell him about Senator Healy, but I knew he was already off on his mission with Marshall.

I spent at least an hour tossing around on the hard floor, going over and over the implications the senator had made. And why the hell did he bring up Stewart? Maybe he knew something about the future, like we get in a fight and cause some major disruption. Didn’t seem that unlikely. Two hours later, I knew sleep wasn’t going to happen. This was the most alone I’d been in months. The stringent training schedule and the closeness of our rooms in the underground headquarters kept me so exhausted, I hadn’t thought about much else. Eventually I forced myself to fall asleep because the irrational thoughts were increasing and I needed to stay on top of my game. Always.

Tempest Series:

0.5 Tomorrow is Today

1. Tempest

2. Vortex

FTC Advisory: St. Martin’s Griffin provided me with a copy of Vortex.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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