Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Hardcover, 458 pages, Little, Brown Books
Genres: YA, Sci-Fi

Time flies when you're plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

My Review

The son of a time-traveler and a Roman gladiator leading a ship of other time-travelers throughout history sounds like a good time, right? Right?

Okay, so this book has an amazing premise. Far is a character who reminds me a lot of young James Kirk, the Chris Pine version. He’s brash and cocky. He’s also that extra mix of specialness every YA character needs to be (aka he was born outside of time to a Roman gladiator). He also has a cast of side characters like the USS Enterprise. There’s Priya, the adorable, tea-drinking medical expert; Gram, the mathematically-minded, socially-awkward engineer; Far’s cousin, Imogen; and the mysterious Elliot.

While each character had their own personality traits, they didn’t quite come across as unique. The writing style for each character’s POV was eerily similar. Everything was flowy and lyrical in a way that I didn’t really expect nor want in a science fiction story. But because of this choice, no character came across as realistic. Also, with the first fourth of the book being in Far’s POV, and the rest being in multiple POVS, I was a little thrown off. I was expecting a Kirk-type approach to this story, in that we’d follow his POV throughout. Obviously, I was wrong.

 As for the plot of the book, this is where things take a downturn. Because, while nothing was predictable, it just wasn’t terribly exciting. I didn’t jump out of my seat when an on-page revelation happened. Also, I’m tired of every time-travel book/movie/whatever going back to visit the Titanic. It’s been done. This is where I was hoping more of the ancient Rome backstory and actual time-travel would come in. Unfortunately, the characters really only visit three timelines, and they’re only there for a chapter or two.

All in all, this book had the potential to be amazing; it just didn’t live up to its cool concept in my opinion. However, if you’re wanting to try something different in terms of time-travel stories, maybe this one is for you. Just go into it knowing it won’t be your typical sci-fi story.

*Note: I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library. This in no way affected my opinion/review.


  1. I have heard about this book countless times, but have never gotten around to reading it. I wish my library had it in stock, but sadly it doesn't. Great review though!

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