Book Review: Julie Cross’ Vortex

Posted February 23, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Julie Cross’ Vortex


in Hardcover edition on January 15, 2013 and has 368 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Second in the Tempest science-fiction series revolving around Jackson Meyer, an evolved human teenager??

My Take

Yes, I liked this, even though it was very confusing at times. I don’t know if Cross intended it to be puzzling so we’d feel like Jackson, or if she and her editors were too comfortable with what was happening in the story that they didn’t notice. Cross just keeps jerking us one way, then the other, then in completely other, different directions. I’m hoping the third installment will set things in perspective.

In some ways, this is like a long, drawn-out bridge between Tempest and the third installment. Jackson gets some training, does some missions, learns more about his abilities, has some weird encounters, and then the end. When I sat back to think about it, it felt like I had traveled through a tunnel that was spinning at different speeds, entering at one end and not quite getting off at the other.

The EOTs claim that they’re just trying to adjust the timeline so the disaster that’s their future doesn’t occur. So, how is Lily’s family a threat to Lily achieving the great breakthrough she’s destined to make? Adam’s situation is implied, but not resolved.

Maybe I’m bloodthirsty. But why would you keep leaving enemy agents alive?? The fact that EOT agents who were caught and jailed keep “escaping” doesn’t hit anyone’s “huh, what?” radar?

Emily and Jackson and his friends’ conversation about the differences between Emily’s future and today is rather funny.

If you don’t mind a confusing read, go for it. If you enjoyed Tempest and hate questions, wait until the third one comes out next year and then read Vortex and TBA together.

The Story

Events are twisting and turning in Jackson’s life as well as in his mind. What he thought he had figured out may not be true, but he is still determined to join the CIA’s Tempest Division and get some training. Figure out what’s going on.

Good luck.

The Characters

Jackson Meyer is not Kevin Meyer’s biological son, but they love each other as if they were. Courtney is Jackson’s twin sister who died of cancer when she was young. Kevin is a CIA agent with Tempest, and he was determined to keep Jackson out of it. Eileen is the woman with whom Kevin was in love. Whom Jackson thought was his mother. Emily is an eight-year-old girl who keeps popping up. We do learn a lot more about her in this story.

Holly Flynn is the girlfriend who died on Oct 30, 2009 when EOT agents burst into Holly’s dorm. In that timeline. Brian Belmont is the starting quarterback for UCLA and Holly’s boyfriend. Hey, I’m just reportin’ what’s writ. Adam Silverman is his geeky hacker friend fascinated by Jackson’s ability.

Tempest agents in the CIA
Chief Marshall leads the Tempest team; Dr. Melvin is the team doctor as well as Jackson’s personal physician. Jenni Stewart was undercover as dad’s secretary in Tempest; in this one she’s an incredibly nasty, bitchy agent on the training course. Agent Freeman is the guy who used to follow Jackson and Courtney to school. Lily Kendrick is a med student trapped as an agent; she’s brilliant and hopeful. Michael is her fiancé attending culinary school, who has no idea who she really is. Mason Sterling is brilliant with futuristic tech and bombs. Parker is another young agent.

Senator Healy appears to be the team leader in NYC.

The Enemies of Time (EOT) agents
Thomas, the lead EOT agent, has threatened to destroy anyone about whom Jackson cares. Cassidy is Jackson’s biological mother. Carter is a harassing chauvinist. Agent Collins just may be on the other side. Or not.

Eyewall seems to be a future agency of EOT agents.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a nice mix of complements: oranges and blues creating a whirling vortex of panes of glass that, at first look, appeared to be crystals. The guy on the cover must be Jackson, so I’m assuming that the woman is Holly with their separation a metaphor for events in the story.

The title refers to a possible catastrophic event that follows time travelers, a Vortex. In keeping with the weatherly theme.