Author: Elise Kova
My rating: 4.8 stars
A 5 book series.
Growing up in a country far away from her royal family, Princess Vi can’t wait for the day she’ll be allowed to return to live with her parents & twin brother, a family she’s only ever known through short visits and numerous letters. But when her magical abilities finally awaken, Vi learns of secrets that were kept from her all her life. Secrets about her world, her life, her powers, and her future. Secrets that will change the course of her life and the world.
This series packed a lot of magic in a fantastic plot. There were several different types of magical abilities, some more powerful than others. Throughout the series, Vi constantly learned more & grew in power.
The plot involved nearly everything one can imagine, from pirates, time travel conundrums, magical prowess, wars, betrayals, friendships, revolutions, and royalty. Each book had its own story with a conflict that was mostly resolved at the end, until the latter books, when one realizes how immense the plot ultimately is.
The series kept expanding into new worlds with different people each time. Many characters only showed up in a single book, had their moment of fame, and then were left behind as the plot moved on. Sometimes, I regretted leaving them behind. Plot-wise, it made sense, but I still wished I could see more of them. Still, there were some characters who consistently remained in most or all of the books, and they were more than enough to hold my interest. And then there were the characters who went from friends to enemies, or enemies to…maybe allies.
The setting changed in each book. First, from her home in the North, then to other parts of the empire, and ultimately to the sea & the worlds & events beyond. Each country or city was distinct and different from the rest, adding new cultures & magics and events. As soon as Vi fought her way out of one trouble, another complication quickly took its place. Old allies become traitors and new people became potential new allies, and those new allies may potentially become new traitors. There were lots of unexpected twists to savor.
Vi went from being a somewhat pampered princess in the first book, to a cliched teenage princess heroine, to a mature enigmatic & powerful woman by the end of the series. It was a long but intense process, and her growth was evident throughout the series. The series didn’t stick to one character flaw either. There were several arcs, such as the princess nervous of meeting her people, the heroine ready to brave the scary world, a powerful woman, flush with her own power and invincibility… Each book added to and built on to her character.
The romance ticked me off throughout this series. Possibly because it’s described too poetically. Every time they proclaimed their love for each other, it sounded straight out of Shakespeare. I mostly skimmed those parts throughout the series, and thankfully, there wasn’t too much of it.
There were some references to characters and events that took place in the earlier sister series, of which I’ve only read the first book several years ago. They mostly flew over my head, but even so, I got the impression of depth & complexity this Vortex Chronicles added to the original series. There were more details & references to people & events in the latter books of this series, helpful even for those who weren’t familiar with them, but it can certainly be read without that knowledge. Now that I’m done, I’m eager to finish off the first series. Even though I hadn’t thought much of it years ago, the complexity added by the Vortex Chronicles make it so much better and more intriguing. I’m more willing now to overlook the faults I disliked back then.
This series was excellent, with powerful women, lots of magic, fantastic world building, and a complex plot. It also ended just the way I wanted it to. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
And just for some cover image love: