Nov 26, 2013

Book Review: Vortex - Julie Cross

Title: Vortex (Tempest #2)
Author: Julie Cross
Release Date: January 15th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Finished copy borrowed from Dianne of Oops! I Read A Book Again
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.
(Spoilers if you haven't read Tempest yet.)

First of all, a friendly advice: Don't read this sequel without re-reading the first book; I assure you, you'll be at least a tad bit confused earlier than you should. It was easy for me to dive right back into Jackson's story because I picked up Vortex right after I finished re-reading Tempest, and if you take my advice, I'm sure the same will be true for you.

The story opens right after the events of Tempest. Jackson has moved his 'home base' to a few months earlier, preventing his meeting with Holly in an attempt to save her life from all the mess that he would inevitably bring. I pitied him, but honestly, I was more excited with the prospect of more action as he joined Tempest, the CIA division that was responsible for his existence. I thought we'd get more answers as he ventured into the devil's lair but instead, I just felt suspicious of everyone besides Jackson because they were all so damn secretive. 

At first, Jackson was the pariah in his group of trainees, and he didn't want to change that because he'd decided not to get attached to anyone, knowing how detrimental that could be. But in a job that involved teamwork, pressure, and danger, forming relationships was unavoidable, and I loved the dynamics between Jackson and the other agents-in-training, particularly Kendrick and Stewart. A guy with two girls as friends—strictly friends, no more, no less—isn't usual in fiction, and I enjoyed watching them get past each other's defenses and work together.

For the first half of the book, I felt pretty smug because I was keeping up with all the time travel shenanigans like Worlds A, B, and C; full-jumps, half-jumps, and Thomas-jumps; and all the years that Jackson visited. I even tweeted the author, saying I ain't one of those people who found the book confusing, and so I basically jinxed myself because right around then, the crazy went to a level that my poor brain couldn't handle. All the small details started slipping past me without my fully grasping them and if I hadn't read this in less than a day, I imagine I'd be totally lost.

While dealing with my confusion, a surprise came in the form of me not shipping Jackson/Holly as hard as I had after finishing the first book again. I just wanted Jackson to move on and focus on himself—God knows he already had enough issues to fill a magazine stand. Seeing Holly living a normal, happy life without him stung for me, too, and unfair as it was since she was absolutely clueless, I disliked her. But that bitterness didn't last long because Jackson's love dilemma was at the bottom of a very long list of problems, preceded by people he'd thought he knew but didn't, time travel being more complex than he'd presumed, and oh, new enemies. The poor guy seriously deserved some cake. 

If the first book had you bored at some point, you need not worry about the same happening here because Vortex is nothing if not unputdownable, unpredictable, and unforgiving. Someone just please remind me to take down notes or something when I read this again before Timestorm.

MY FAVORITE PART was Jackson's 'revenge' on Stewart :))


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