Review: Vortex by Julie Cross

Julie Cross
Series: Tempest, #2
Release Date: January 15th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffith
Number of Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 stars

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Julie Cross's Vortex is the thrilling second installment of the Tempest series, in which the world hangs in the balance as a lovelorn Jackson must choose who to save.

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.

This review does not contain any spoilers for Tempest

Based on the 2013 sequels I've read so far (really only Through the Ever Night and Vortex), 2013 seems to be the year of sequels that outshine their predecessors in practically every way imaginable. Vortex, the second installment in Julie Cross' Tempest trilogy, took all my preconceived expectations and expanded upon them, exceeding each and every one of my expectations by tenfold.

Where Tempest moved at a somewhat slow pace, letting the mystery and suspense build up throughout the novel, Vortex moved at a pace on a completely opposite spectrum than Tempest. One of the problems I had with Tempest was that I found it to be a bit slow moving - understandably so, however, considering Cross created her own concept of time travel and had to explain it, of course - but slow pace is definitely not a concern with Vortex. The action in Vortex begins right as you open the first page, and - cliche alert - doesn't stop until the final, excruciatingly evil pages.

Another problem I had with Tempest was that, while I found him to become more likable as the novel progressed and he let his feelings out, I never was truly sold the character of Jackson, and to be honest, I didn't really like him until the very end. Clearly, not liking the main character is quite a big issue and can impact your enjoyment in the story a lot - and in a way, it did impact my enjoyment in Tempest - but Cross managed to make Jackson a much, much more likable character in Vortex, and introduced other characters that I found to be equally as likable. As well as that, the romance doesn't play as huge of a part in Vortex as it did in Tempest, and, actually, the romance barely played a part in the majority of Vortex, letting the plot and action take center stage, which is always a good thing.

However, there were a few things that detracted somewhat from my enjoyment in Vortex, the most prominent being the use of info-dumping by way of journal entries, and the awkward way it was presented. In Tempest, I liked the concept of having much of the novel told in journal entries, thinking it to be an original and fun way to get inside the protagonist's head rather than just reading what he thinks. In Vortex, however, I was not as big of a fan of the use of journal entries, finding the way they were written, like I had mentioned earlier, awkward, and just an excuse for info-dumping and recapping. As well as the problem of the stilted way in which the journal entries were presented, I also wasn't a huge fan of the dialogue between the characters. At times I found the dialogue to be a bit unbelievable for nineteen - twenty year old characters to be using, using words I would normally correlate with young teens, and other times I found the dialogue to be a bit repetitive, with an overuse of the words 'totally', et all.

However, despite those pretty minor qualms when compared to what I did like in the entirety of Vortex, I found Vortex to be an incredibly strong sequel to Tempest, full of action and character growth, leading to a crazy and intriguing end, with an evil, evil cliffhanger. I can tell that things are going to be even more crazy in the final installment of the Tempest trilogy, and I look forward to seeing any other unpredictable and untravelled roads Julie Cross may take to conclude her trilogy.


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