After the strong opening in Spin and the someone meh followup with Axis, I wasn’t expecting particularly much from Vortex. Consider me pleasantly surprised.

Getting back to the huge events and big timespans of Spin, Vortex takes place ten thousand years after Axis, after the Temporal Arch discovered towards the end of that book ends its next cycle. Two of Axis’ main characters (Turn and Isaac) are dumped out / recreated and picked up by a island sized ship that has been floating through arch after arch through the Eight Worlds (apparently the arches connecting Earth to Equatoria connect through several other worlds and finally end at Mars, which is a neat concept).


Unfortunately, many of the other reviewers here are on point. In Spin, we followed the lives of a small groups of characters while big ideas happened around them, spanning either decades or billions of years, depending on your perspective. In Axis, the ideas are not nearly as big, the timespan isn’t quite so vast, and the cast of characters has changed to ones I don’t find myself caring about as much.

There is a bit of an interesting follow up here to the last chapter of Spin: what’s on the other side of the arch and just what are the Hypotheticals. I think the first could make an interesting story all of itself, just following a series of explorers further and further through the worlds, but that’s not what Axis is. And so far as the second–we don’t really learn anything new. There are hints of something bigger (which is saying something, given something on a scale with the entire galaxy) and a few smaller neat ideas, but nothing quite comes together.


(minor spoilers; although nothing more than used to be on the Goodreads summary)

I really enjoy science fiction where they take a really big / weird idea and just run with it. Spin is exactly that sort of book. In a nutshell, one night all of the stars seem to go out. Over the book, the protagonists discover that not the stars didn’t actually go out, but rather the Earth was enveloped in a shell that is causing time on Earth to run roughly 100 million times slower, while at the same time preventing any ill effects therefrom.