Title: Invictus by Ryan Graudin
Published: September, 26th 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Average Goodreads rating: 3.93
My rating: 5/5
“This was the feeling Far traveled for. The exhilaration of running through an age not his own, battle-shout harsh on the air, a stranger among the strange”
Ahem. I have an announcement to make. I fell 100%, completely, and entirely in love with this book. I can’t remember the last time that truly happened. You know when you finish a book that really spoke to you and you can’t move on? You just want to hug it to your chest and weep that you’ll never be able to read it for the first time again. For me, that book was Invictus.
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. (Goodreads)
This cast of characters was so much fun to read about. We have Farway, the son of Empera McCarthy, who was born outside of time. He and his friends and crew are, quite literally, plundering history. I loved how well the whole crew fit together. They each had a role and a distinct personality and all seemed bigger than life. The crew was highly entertaining and they really stuck with me.
Let me just say it again. Plundering time. How is that not completely awesome? Far and his crew take their ship, the Invictus, and travel back through time to lift valuable artifacts for his benefactor. Of course, something goes arwy and points in history literally start disappearing, taking with them all people and memories associated with them. I had never read a book about time travel before but it was exciting and new and strange and completely wonderful.
Sorry, had to break for a quick Ron Swanson boogie because that is how excited I am over this book.
I don’t want to give much away, because if you haven’t read this book, you should. However…something that really stood out for me in this book were the bonds between these friends/crew. They all trusted each other implicitly and it was beautiful. The author didn’t just expect you to believe this all willy-nilly, either. I think we all have read one of those books where the author goes, “Oh hey, believe this thing. I’m not going to give you a reason why, just do it.”
Oh no, not Invictus. They trust each other because they have reason to and it is shown. I don’t think I can emphasis that enough. They believe in each other, they have so much trust, and that is amazing. Their bonds are deep and you can feel it. The dynamic between the members of the crew MADE this book.
Also, unlike most YA fantasy books released nowadays, this book is not part of a serious but instead it is a standalone. I wanted to point that out because of how tidily the ending is wrapped up. No loose ends taunting you, no plot points you are left scratching your head about. And the ending was perfect.
Something I would to point out on a side note is that I got this book in its audio format and the narrator was…lackluster. He used different vocal pacing throughout the book and said the same character’s name three or four different ways. It got very aggravating very quickly.
In a nutshell, this book is well worth the read. There is excitement, adventure, relatable characters, entertaining destinations, and a bad guy that you aren’t entirely sure is bad. It was a fantastic book and I hope you consider picking it up.