Saturday, 13 July 2013

Book Review: Vortex by S.J Kincaid

The impossible was just the beginning. Now in their second year as superhuman government weapons-in-training at the Pentagonal Spire, Tom Raines and his friends are mid-level cadets in the elite combat corps known as the Intrasolar Forces. But as training intensifies and a moment arrives that could make or break his entire career, Tom’s loyalties are again put to the test.

Encouraged to betray his ideals and friendships for the sake of his country, Tom is convinced there must be another way. And the more aware he becomes of the corruption surrounding him, the more determined he becomes to fight it, even if he sabotages his own future in the process.

Drawn into a power struggle more dramatic than he has ever faced before, Tom stays a hyperintelligent step ahead of everyone, like the exceptional gamer he is—or so he believes. But when he learns that he and his friends have unwittingly made the most grievous error imaginable, Tom must find a way to outwit an enemy so nefarious that victory seems hopeless. Will his idealism and bravado cost him everything—and everyone that matters to him?

I am a big fan the first book in this series and so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Vortex. It didn’t disappoint and was just as good as Insignia.

Tom and his friends have spent the summer away from the pentagonal spire but now they are back together again for their second year. Everything starts well but it soon becomes clear that someone is working against the pentagonal spire. Loyalties and friendships are tested as Tom tries to find a way to do what’s right without destroying his future.

In many ways Vortex is much like Insignia, it still has the smart prose, moments that made me laugh until I cried and wacky simulations that I enjoy so much. Yet in other ways it was completely different. It had a darker side to it and was a lot more dangerous. The whole book essentially focuses on facing the consequences of your actions and every character has one or more demon to face. The characters are growing up and realising that they are not as invincible as they thought they were. There was also a hint of rebellion that ran through the book and got much stronger towards the end giving us a taste of what the next book in the series could be about.

The writing was yet again sublime. S.J Kincaid had to be one of my favourite voices in YA at the moment. She writes with great precision and knows when to make her readers laugh and when to tone it down. She is imaginative and brave with her choices and is an expert at describing scenes of a science fiction or technological nature without confusing the reader.

Another thing she is great at is creating characters. This story is told from Tom’s POV but all the other characters around him are just as important. All of them are well built and complex none are perfect there are things to like and dislike about each of them.

Tom is…to be honest a pain. He is so arrogant and up himself at times it is almost unbearable. But he pays for it in this book and some hard lessons are learnt. Despite his issues when push comes to shove he would risk anything to save the people he cares about and I love that side of him.

Another stand out character is Blackburn. I am not 100% sure if I am supposed to like him or not but I can’t help it I really, really like him. He is so complex, on one had he is a maniac, a torturer and villain. On the other he is a teacher, a mentor and protector. His relationship with Wyatt is sweet and almost loving but his relationship with Tom is tempestuous and unclear. It is his relationship with Tom and the way that that relationship changes which is one of the more interesting factors of this book. Love or hate Blackburn he plays a huge part in this book and I think he will have a massive part to play in how this series eventually ends.

Vortex is a fun and imaginative read that I really enjoyed. I am so happy to see this series remaining strong and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book when it comes out next year.

4 stars

Published July 4th 2013 by Hot Key Books in the UK & July 2nd 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books.  A free copy was provided for review.  Image courtesy of Goodreads.

Review by Kate Phillips

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I have the first book on my Kindle but haven't read it yet, but since this series is so good, I'll have to get to it soon! :)


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