Author: S.J. Kincaid
Format reviewing: The beautiful hardcover that's sitting next to its friend INSIGNIA on my bookshelf
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?
Filled with action and intelligence, camaraderie and humor, the second book in S.J. Kincaid’s futuristic World War III Insignia trilogy continues to explore fascinating and timely questions about power, politics, technology, loyalty, and friendship.
Favorite character: Medusa. Read my review of INSIGNIA here for all the details of my love for her.
Favorite line: Must I decide? So many of them make me laugh!
If you haven't read my review of INSIGNIA (located here) or my list of favorite books (right over here), you may not know my love for it. But I do. So when the sequel came out, I was very excited.
Now, not to say VORTEX isn't a good book. It's a great one. But it isn't quite as good as INSIGNIA. I think this is, in part, to the fact it is the middle book. The middle book (I find) is usually not as good as the first or last. See, the first one is the hook, the part that gets you into the world and meeting the characters. The last book is the large climax, where everything either explodes or is wrapped up nicely with a huge bow and given to the reader. The middle book allows you to get from that just-getting-settled-in ending of the first book to the beginning of the explosion/birthday combo. That's why I find the middle book to often not be quite as good as its first or last. There are, of course, exceptions, but this isn't one of them.
If you want more Tom, Yuri, Wyatt, Medusa, and Kincaid humor, dig in! You won't be super disappointed, so long as you don't go in looking for something better than INSIGNIA (I haven't found anything better than INSIGNIA).
Starred review: 4.6/5