by Elise Kova
Series: Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1
Published on February 4, 2019 by Silver Wing Press
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
A desperate princess, a magical traveler, and a watch that binds them together with the fate of a dying world.
Vi Solaris is the heir to an Empire she’s barely seen. Her parents sacrificed a life with her to quell a rebellion and secure peace with a political alliance. Now, three years past when her wardship should’ve ended, Vi will do anything to be reunited with her family.
The Empire is faltering beneath the burden of political infighting and a deadly plague. Yet, Vi can’t help but wonder if her inability to control her magic is the true reason her parents haven’t brought her home. Suspicion becomes reality when she unleashes powers she’s not supposed to have.
Powers that might well cost her the throne.
As Vi fights to get her magic under control, a mysterious stranger appears from across the world. He holds the keys to unlocking her full potential, but the knowledge has an unspeakable price — some truths, once seen, cannot be ignored.
All eyes are on her and Vi must make the hardest choice of her life: Play by the rules and claim her throne. Or, break them and save the world.
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I have a love/hate relationship with spin-off series and Vortex Visions wasn’t any different (though to be clear, I loved this book entirely). What I mean is that while I enjoy returning to worlds that I love, and the Air Awakens series is certainly one of my favorites, it can be tough following a new set of characters, especially when they’re tied so closely to the previous ones (like being the daughter of those former protagonists. . .).
It took me a bit to settle into Vi’s character. She’s a bit reckless and passionate about what she loves, much like her mother Vhalla, and I loved that connection. But I wasn’t 100% behind her until about halfway through the book. I didn’t feel the same hook, at least not as quickly, despite enjoying the story. But I liked that a few characters returned from the previous series to guide her way, namely Jax and Sehra.
I’ll admit, Vortex Visions was a slow read for me. The pacing is good and there’s a decent amount of action going on but it gave me the sense of setting up for something bigger. Which, hey, I know I’m going to love the next books in the series with a set-up like that, but it also meant I put this book down often and it took me a few days to get through (compared to a few hours with her previous work). The world of the Solaris Empire is expanded in this spin-off and some of the elements were a bit. . . surprising. Enough so that I struggled to click with it all.
I will say that re-reading the Air Awakens books prior to this one was well worth the time. There were little tidbits spread throughout the end of the series that connect into Vortex Visions which I loved (and have theories about now. . . ), but you don’t need to read the previous series to read Vortex Visions. It will give you context for a lot things but this book stands on its own.
While it wasn’t an instant catch, this book had me hooked by the end and I am SO very excited to explore the world beyond the Empire in future books (because I’m pretty sure that’s where we’re headed!). Also. Totally feeling vibes between Vi and a certain someone and I am HERE for it. One of my favorite elements of any Elise Kova book is the romance and this book was strong on its own without needing romance, but I’m looking forward to it in future installments nonetheless!
Here’s the thing: I would have bought Vortex Visions without reading an early copy, without knowing anything about it, because I have never read a book by this author I haven’t liked (and I’ve read almost all of them to-date). Definitely worth picking up, along with her other titles. Vortex Visions was a solid start to a new series and I’ll be interested to see what trouble Vi gets into next! Like mother, like daughter, I suppose!