Itís kind of fun to read a sequel to a book you read last year right around the same time. Last year, over the summer, I read Insignia by SJ Kincaid and found myself really enjoying it, except for not being a huge fan of the main character because he was kind of annoying. This year, Iím sinking my teeth into Vortex, the sequel to Insignia mainly because when Allison came over to my apartment, she practically stole Vortex right out of there, so that was the incentive I needed to get through it faster. In all honesty, my friends, I found Vortex to be a better read than Insignia. I think this time around, I was more invested AND I found Tom to be less annoying.
Vortex opens when the students at the Spire are on vacation. Tom is with his dad at a casino, using his processor to help his dad win at gambling. Heís also busy pondering how unfair everything is because of the multinational corporations who own pretty much the world. Anyways, hijinks ensue and Tom finds his way back to the Spire. This year, he has moved up and is no longer at the bottom of the totem pole. He and Vik now have the power to kick lower level students out of the lounge. Much of Vortex is spent with Tom in classes as he learns new skills such as how to maneuver an exosuit among other things, like getting to do these sort of ride alongs with Camco. I do not want to spoil you guys, but there is lots of action and politics and THRILLS. Yíall, this dystopian, space thriller was a superb summer read. Itís like the movies everyone flocks to over the summer Ė explosions and bad guys, but in book form.
I remember in my review of Insignia I said something to the effect of I found Tom annoying. In the beginning of Vortex, I thought Tom was a little shit. Heís very stubborn, which I suppose some people take for being tenacious. Personally, I thought he was being pigheaded and immature, acting like a total teenager Ė which he IS. Which I suppose is a good thing. But, you know what, I have my preferences as a reader, and sometimes when a character is being a little shit, I donít like them. I am not saying all characters need to be likable, I am just saying my preferences. Anyways, you guys Tom actually matures and grows some brain cells in Vortex. I found myself actually caring about him and feeling for his situation. I also thought I could understand him more and was able to empathize with him. Props to Kincaid for bringing on the character development and for allowing Tom to grow up a little bit.
I think that the future in which Vortex is set is an interesting one. Itís a world in which corporations have entirely too much power and one that, as a reader who also takes an active interest in politics and news, I can see. I mean, I read the book and thought about things like lobbyists and campaign finance reform, even though Vortex does not really have anything to do with that. I also think about things like outsourcing and big business like Walmart running many, many businesses out of town. What sparked that in me was reading about how in Vortex, one of the multinational corporations owns Yellowstone National Park. Itís no longer a park that belongs to the people, but instead something that only people who are high up in the company will be able to see. That makes me sad. It makes me sad that in Vortex, corporations are given more consideration than humans, and thatís something that I can see reflected in reality today. However, I will not bore you with my leanings and thoughts on that.
Instead, I want to talk to you about Kincaidís writing style. Vortex is a long book, with tiny print. Yet, it is a hell of a read. It does not go by slowly at all. Instead, it was a book that I carried with me all over the house, and read while lying on the floor next to a fan because I just had to know if Tom would piss Vengerov off or if Wyatt was going to be okay or what Yuriís deal was. I think that Vortex is a definite improvement from Insignia, and was a book that I am so glad I gave a chance. I am also glad that Allison was all like HURRY UP AND READ VORTEX SO I CAN HAVE IT as I likely would have missed out on the whole dťjŗ vu isnít this cool that I am reading the sequel around the same time feeling. Given that I did not love Insignia with all my heart, I would have just put Vortex off and off and off. Clearly, co-blogging friends are the best.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.
Other reviews of Vortex by SJ Kincaid:
Recovering Potter Addict – “Vortex†was just as much fun as†Insignia“
Sash And Em – “I loved Vortex just as much as I loved Insignia”
Nose Graze – “It was still a good book, it just didnít have me screaming and shrieking like an excited, insane girl”