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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now working freelance, teaching and writing for children, teens and teachers.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Review: Vortex by Julie Cross

Second in the YA Time Travel Thriller Series

If you haven't read Tempest, the first in this fab series, I'd suggest you go and read my review of that instead of carrying on here. This review will have spoilers for the first in the series (but not for this title).

This second instalment really ups the pace, with Jackson now working as an agent. He faces considerable challenges since he has to keep his time travelling abilities secret, so all the others assume he's a spoilt kid who hasn't earned his place in the unit. Jenni Stewart's presence in the team, along with her memories of babysitting him but without her 2007 memories of working with him, doesn't help his acceptance into the group at all.

I know that some readers - especially those who saw Tempest as primarily a romance - have found this instalment too big a departure from the first novel. Having enjoyed Tempest as a time travel thriller with romance driving the emotional heart of the plot, I enjoyed this second novel greatly. It focuses considerably more than the first on the time travel and attendant conspiracies, and it rattles along at a breathtaking speed, earning it the 'thriller' label even more than book one. Jackson's love for Holly still affects him deeply, even while her knowledge of him doesn't include their relationship, and the fact that she crops up in his life again shows that there is clearly some 'destiny' or 'fate' angle that I expect will be wrapped up somehow in the third book. It's hard to see how, though, with Vortex closing in such an unexpected way (on which subject, no more will be said except I'm in awe of the ending: the characters are set up nicely for book three, and yet it didn't feel like one of those cliffhanger endings where you feel cheated).

Overall, I really enjoyed this. It is different in emphasis to the first novel, but I felt this was positive and developed the overall story well. I still love Jackson and think that Julie Cross is very cruel to him, and I also enjoyed some of the new characters in this novel. Kendrick, for example, is a brilliantly complex and sympathetic character. I ached for her desperate attempts to keep a part of her life 'normal' even while being a secret agent investigating time travel.

My final verdict, then, is that this is a great read, with plenty of excitement, suspense and time travel complexity. I will definitely be looking to read the next part as soon as it's available.


The blurb says:

TODAY
Jackson has lost Holly forever

TOMORROW 
She walks back into his life

YESTERDAY
Jackson must choose between saving her ... or the entire world

The eye of the storm is a deadly place to be...

Jackson Meyer has completed his training to become an agent for Tempest, the shadowy division of the CIA that handles all time-travel-related threats. As a time-traveller himself he's on his way to becoming the best of the best. However, everything changes when Holly - the girl he altered history to save - re-enters his life, and Jackson must make an impossible choice: erase the past or change the future?

**********************
Published 3 January 2013 by Macmillan
Find more information at Goodreads
My grateful thanks to the publishers for sending a review copy

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