#SPFBO Review of Vortex Visions (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1) by Elise Kova


VortexVisionsVortex Visions is one of the titles on my list of books for the fifth SPFBO competition and was one of the books that I decided to roll forward after having read the first 30% with the idea of reading and reviewing fully.  In this respect I have 2 more reviews to follow which I’m hoping will be in fairly quick succession followed by a post to reveal my semi finalists and the book I will be taking to stage two of the competition.  So, straight to my review of Vortex Visions.

Firstly, I would point out that I haven’t read the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova, I understand that Vortex Visions is a book that can be read without having read the previous series however, it is possible that if you plan to read the first series this book and review could contain spoilers so please be aware of that.

As the book begins we meet Vi Solaris, heir to an empire. although she has never lived at it’s heart.  Little more, it seems, than a pawn in a political game of power.  From the ruling south she has been placed in the north as a means to keep peace.  That being said, Vi has led, to all extents, a happy existence, even though she dearly wants nothing more than to be reunited with her family and twin brother.

Great expectations rest upon Vi’s shoulders, particularly with regard to her magical abilities which seem, as the story commences, to be lying almost dormant.  She’s not unhappy in her situation although she deeply desires to return to her family home.  When a delegation from the South arrives it brings with it mixed tidings.  Vi’s friend and deliverer of messages from home, Jayme, returns with not only tidings from her family but also a new acquaintance. Andru, he seems to be an envoy from the South sent to judge Vi and her worthiness to rule.  Of course this puts Vi on the backfoot somewhat as she tries to go about her regular life whilst being observed and trying to make a good impression, but, meanwhile, Vi’s magic will awaken and far from giving her comfort it only serves to heighten the unusual predicament she is in.  She has strange visions, is able to make contact with an unknown entity and on top of all that her life is under threat.

Vortex Visions got off to a really good start.  I loved the writing style and became easily immersed in the world.

Vi finds herself a ward of sorts.  This was an unusual situation for me to come to terms with because I guess I’m more familiar with wards being taken by the rulers from the defeated as a means of forcing compliance.  In this case Vi is taken to the North (following their defeat) as a means of pacifying the Northerners that the heir of the Empire will be brought up sympathetically to the other realms.  There is more to this than at first meets the eye though so you do have to read further to discover more.

As the story begins you immediately feel Vi’s longing to return to her family, an event that is long overdue and you start to feel her doubts about why she hasn’t been recalled sooner.  She personally feels it’s her lack of magical ability and this new person, sent to judge her, certainly isn’t going to help her abilities manifest or help her to gain confidence.

Okay, I got off to a very good start with Vortex Visions.  It really is a strong start.  You get an immediate feel for the main protagonist and her situation, her desires and hopes.  You’re also introduced to the people surrounding her, one being a best friend.  Vi, Ellene and Jayme have a close friendship, the three enjoy all sorts of nonsense and gossip and they’re about to go on an adventure, a release for a few days as part of a celebration for Vi’s birthday.  This is where things start to change.

So, yes, a really good start to this, I was intrigued.  The writing is good, it’s an easy read with decent pacing.  I had my doubts about certain characters which I won’t reveal for the sake of spoilers (although these are only my own speculations and I have no real idea if they’re correct or not at this point).

I’m not entirely certain I understand everything about the world here.  Other than there seems to be a north/south divide.  Vi lives with people who live high in the trees,  The place sounds quite lovely and almost put me in mind of a Tolkien landscape of elves – but that’s probably my own imagination running riot.

The plot is really quite good, there’s more to Vi than meets the eye, plots are afoot and strangers are going to make some rather unannounced appearances and upset things somewhat.

In terms of criticisms.  I felt the first half of the book was the more gripping part of the story.  The latter half felt a bit more easy to second guess and didn’t really move things forward in the way I’d expected.  Also, Vi.  I couldn’t help feeling she bemoaned her situation much more than was necessary.  Of course I understand that she missed her family and felt abandoned or stranded a little but to be honest she was still incredibly pampered and privileged and so I couldn’t help but feel a little irritated sometimes by her thoughts.  Particularly as she wasn’t treated badly, she wasn’t a prisoner, and in fact the heir to the North’s own daughter was her best friend.

On the whole, I had a good time with Vortex Visions.  The writing is really strong and persuasive, it had a little bit of a ‘set up’ feel for the next instalment but I imagine this would only increase readers eager anticipation, particularly in terms of the romance that seems to be budding.

I would like to thank the author for the copy of ‘Vortex Visions.  The above is my own opinion.




11 Responses to “#SPFBO Review of Vortex Visions (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1) by Elise Kova”

  1. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    That’s intriguing, and I like the way the “ward” concept seems to be turned on its heels here… Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, still puzzled by that – it seems odd to give your heir over but it’s certainly an interesting idea.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    This is another book I was surprised to see this year, since this author has published traditionally in the past. I wish I understood the rules of this competition better.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Basically Vortex Visions is self pubbed so even though the author has traditionally published in the past this book meets the criteria 😀

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Great review! Usually the pattern for me is books that have a slower and mellow start before building into a second half that is more compelling, it’s interesting that was sort of the opposite here. I’ve always been curious about her books.

    • @lynnsbooks

      The writing is very good and I’m not surprised that she has such a popular following and this was good, I just felt the first half was stronger.
      Lynn 😀

  4. waytoofantasy

    I have to admit I was intrigued by the cover for this one. Sorry that the latter half of the book was a bit weak. I do like that there’s a budding romance though, might be my type of book. I’ll have to keep it in mind. 🙂

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