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Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Twins on Thursday + Novel Nails #2: Vortex by S.J. Kincaid

"The Twins on Thursday" is reserved for the Twins' joint reviews. It is a special feature of our blog that discusses books that we either both like, dislike, or have mixed feelings about. This is also the day where we post reviews for books (and ARCs/Galleys) that have been sent to us by authors/galley sites/publishing houses. And because we don't believe much in uniformity, we'll be trying to mix things up a bit by adding random stuff in relation to our review (well, mostly for books we purchased anyway).

Title: Vortex
Author: S. J. Kincaid
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Publishing House: Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN: 9780062093028
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


The impossible was just the beginning. Now in their second year as superhuman government weapons-in-training at the Pentagonal Spire, Tom and his friends are midlevel 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 that 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?

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


(You can check out our review for Insignia, the first book here.)

Tom and his friends are back in the Pentagonal Spire as Middles, and it's time that they started courting the five fat cats at the top into sponsoring them. When Tom mucks everything up, he'd sooner rather eat a super incredible Exosuit than accept any of Vengerov's terms and conditions, because what Vengerov wants is more than Tom is willing to sacrifice for a guy like him. However rebellious Tom may be, he may find that he might have to unwillingly give in, especially when Vengerov starts to press certain buttons. But with a little cunning and help from his friends, Tom has a fighting chance at doing things the only way he approves of - his.

There is no possible way that you can pick up Vortex and not expect to get sucked up. The shenanigans and hijinks the gang gets into are plenty and will not leave you with a dry eye from laughing so hard. In Insignia, the mood was a bit more serious and characters were empathized with. But in Vortex, the characters are given more breathing space to actually live like real teenagers so you actually feel like you're part of the gang and just hanging out.

Tom was similar to Sage/Jaron from Jennifer Nielsen's The Ascendance Trilogy in the sense that they both have problems with authority figures, and are both sarcastic and stubborn to a fault. Both Tom and Sage also do  the opposite of what anyone would normally aspire to do given certain conditions, but that's what makes them both dynamic characters. Tom is raised by a gambler, so his skills are finely honed as to predict certain outcomes and to look for other alternatives when stuck in a pinch. In Insignia, we loved Tom because he was so realistic. His unpredictability only shone through at the end, so if you caught your breath at those parts and wanted more, then you will really appreciate Vortex because it showcases one gasp-inducing scene after the other because his insolence, while very much detrimental to his future, was highly entertaining for us. Another dynamic that we really enjoyed was the friendship between the four friends. While Tom is determined to let his past stay in the past, and another may have unknown secrets of his own, it is in Vortex where their friendship - almost the only thing that keeps them alive most of the time - is tried and tested.

The difference between Insignia and Vortex as we've found, was that in the first book, Tom's reckless ways have always worked for him but in Vortex they cause problems upon problems. 

Vortex is certainly more humorous than its predecessor, which was certainly unexpected for the both of us. Not in a bad way of course even if Vortex had us laughing and chortling at the most inopportune moments. (Nicole read it in class and Michelle in her school's library, because we are thrill-seekers and engage in illicit book reading.) But this book is also intense as Kincaid manages to unveil an epic conspiracy little by little coupled with the messy situations that Tom usually finds himself in.


We made a playlist for Insignia because it was hard not to come up with songs that just reminded us so much of the book. Well, the same thing happened with Vortex, so we just had to come up with another playlist. Enjoy! :)

                                                       Now The Spark, Next The Ashes from on 8tracks Radio.

"Novel Nails" is a feature of the blog that showcases nail art inspired by books and their covers. Nail art will be created by either Michelle or Nicole and will be featured alongside their reviews.

Hello! Nicole here for today's feature of Novel Nails. Here's the nail art I made inspired by Vortex. I made a dark to light blue gradient and drew on the vortex/hurricane/tornado symbol on the cover on my ring fiver to serve as an accent nail. I made these using the following colors.

Gradient base: Orly Sweet Peacock
Gradient tips: NARS Night Flight
Free-hand vortex: NARS Space Odyssey

I hope you guys like this and yes, I promise, more pictures next time from different angles. I'm going to use my DSLR now too for clearer shots.


  1. Oh, the nails are awesome! I can only sorta read this review because I haven't read the book yet and I just got a copy as a gift, but I am so glad you liked it and that it picked up a humorous vibe and was still as enjoyable as the first. Yay!

    1. Thank you! Vortex is amazing and we hope you enjoy your copy! :>