Tom is no longer a plebe. He's been promoted along with all his friends (except Yuri) and is now a middle. The first two hundred pages of the book are filled with simulations, conditioning, and Tom making really stupid decisions and pissing everyone off.
I'm tired of Tom. It's time for him to grow up. He doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes; there is virtually no character growth. He blames Blackburn for everything bad. I understand he hates Blackburn, but when some things happen that have nothing to do with Tom, he STILL is convinced Blackburn is responsible -- never considering any other possibility. Duh.
Vortex is just very bloated. The first 200 pages should have been about 50 pages. I couldn't wait for some tension to build, which started at about the halfway point. I enjoyed the overarching story line -- it just took way too long to get started and I couldn't wait for it to be over. And that's a shame. By the time it got exciting, I was too frustrated to enjoy it.
My body felt bruised and battered from reading over and over about how bad the corporations are. How the government essentially works for them. About how these corporations only care about money. I get that. It's a great message and an interesting concept. But I don't need this thrown at me about every four pages.
I don't know how to recommend this book. I send fans of Ender's Game right to Insignia. But, I'm hesitant about Vortex. I guess maybe I could recommend that they just skim the beginning, but teens aren't necessarily good at skimming. I remember thinking some of the other books in the Ender series were too long and detailed, so maybe this is a sci-fi thing.
Bottom line: If you loved Insignia you should give Vortex a chance. You may feel differently than I do.
Published by Katherine Tegen Books, 2013
Copy obtained from the library
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