Paperback Release: Vortex, by Julie Cross
Vortex, by Julie Cross. Thomas Dunne: 373 pp. $9.99
Let me start by saying this: If you haven’t read Tempest, Book 1 in Julie Cross’ Tempest trilogy, you’re going to be very confused. I got about ten pages into this book before I went to the library and checked out the previous installment in the series.
To tell you the truth, I liked Vortex better than Tempest. But I think one of the reasons Vortex was better is because of Tempest. The first book did a really good job of introducing the characters and overall plot, that the second book could really get into the story without having to cover the expositional ground. In Vortex, we already knew who Jackson was and what he could do. This story then could be spent on developing his character even further.
I really liked how Vortex picked up where Tempest left off. It was a seamless connection, especially for someone going right from one book to the other. I also liked the emotion that Cross included in this book. I’ve read a handful of science fiction titles in the past, but I get the feeling with much of sci-fi that the goal is to convince the reader that the concept of the book could actually exist. Everything else be damned, you will believe in the story. What Cross did, which I think was brilliant, was approach it from the characters. Yes, there is unusual technology and story-elements. But if readers can’t latch onto something they already know to be true, it’s hard to take that next step in believing something else.
Cross makes us believe in the love between Jackson and Holly, and in the friendship between the members of the Tempest training group. I loved the relationships in this novel, and because I can believe in those, it’s not hard to believe in Jackson’s ability to time-travel. It seems like the logical next step to the story.
If I did have one critique, it’s this: There’s a lot going on here. While it’s easy enough to believe in the time traveling going on in the book, it’s a little harder to understand that nitty gritty details involved. That, combined with all of the twists and turns, can be a little overwhelming at times. It makes for great reading, but sometimes it all happens so fast you don’t quite know what just happened until it’s all finished.
Vortex is in paperback now, and Cross’s third installment, Firestorm, is coming out pretty soon.