Author: S.J. Kincaid
Date of Publication: July 2 2013
Series: Insignia #2
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?
Vortex was absolutely thrilling. I wasn't sure what to expect because I really enjoyed Insignia and Vortex was exactly what I hoped for: the continuation of what is probably one of my new favourite series.
There's a lot to like in Vortex, but I have to begin with what I enjoyed first: the writing. The story is serious and real but it's also filled with so many moments of pure hilarity. At least five times I stopped reading because I was laughing too hard. Legitimately laughing. I never knew it was even possible to find a book that funny because I tend not to, but something about Vortex appealed to me perfectly.
Vortex is just so likable! The plot is engaging, the writing is amusing, and the characters are adorable. I love Tom. I know he is immature but he honestly felt like a real character to me. I enjoyed reading about his reactions and watching him grow. I also feel like I can relate to Tom. Not just in the sense that I understand him, but that I truly want him to succeed because I understand what motivates him. He's an idealist and sees no reason why he should back down from anyone. He has these really strong convictions of right and wrong and sometimes he breaks the lines when he has to.
The other characters are also pretty amazing. This is very firmly Tom's story but that doesn't mean I can't burst out laughing at Vik's shenanigans or Wyatt's naivety. There is something different about every character and I was pleased to see that everyone grew a little in Vortex. Even the villains were explained a little.
The plot and premise however are Vortex's bread and butter. I love it. The story is just so exciting. Tom's experiences within the Pentagon and dealing with this awful world where the corporations run everything and victory seems almost impossible. The villains were truly disgusting and demoralizing, and the moments that proved there was hope were enlightening.
The plot is twisty and so complete. I love that Kincaid's books always make me feel satisfied by the end. They are page turners when I have them, and they're worth it. Sometimes you feel empty after you finish a book just because it was so good and it ended too early for you, but with Vortex I feel exhilarated. Like, bring it on world!
I can't recommend this series enough. It's totally one of underrated, quietly awesome gems of YA.