Invictus by Ryan Graudin

I was going to start this by telling you how much fun allergies are {you know the kind: constant running nose, itchy eyes, face feeling like it’s either melting or sticking to your bones}, but I’m going to get right to this book because I finished it last night and I have to talk about before I burst.


Title: Invictus {464 pgs.}

Genre: YA/Science Fiction

Publication: September 26, 2017


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.

As a rabid fan of Doctor Who, any book that touts a plot where the characters go back in time is one that I’m going to jump on immediately. And am I thankful that I caught this one.

Poor Far has had a life. His mother disappeared on a routine time traveling expedition, he doesn’t really have a birthday, and his school’s commander wants nothing more than Far to fail…which he does. But Far is resourceful and the top of his class for a reason, so it’s no time at all before he falls into a captain’s position, heading up a time traveling ship for a black market smuggler. Like, I know I’m supposed to be all, oh my goodness, this boy is going through time, stealing precious treasures to be sold on the black market, oh my! But honestly, that sounds like the coolest job ever. Far and his crew – his cousin Imogen, his best friend Gram, and his girlfriend Priya – get to travel to different times in history and steal things that would normally be lost in time.

But then Eliot shows up and everything falls apart.

Honestly, there’s not a lot I can say about this book that wouldn’t be spoilers. There’s so much happening, and it all seems to stem from one event. Let’s just say that Eliot has her own agenda, and that agenda could be related to Far.

So what can I say that isn’t spoilery? How about we talk about my sweet baby angel Imogen? The girl who chalks her hair a different, electric color each day, the girl who keeps everyone’s spirits up even when the day seems darkest, the girl who’s madly in love with the Engineer but can’t imagine a time when he would love her back. Imogen is the sunshine of the crew, and she reminds them that they could be back at home, working dead-end jobs for little credits {money}, but no! They’re traveling through time, taking vacations in fabulous places, and doing all this with their best friends. Imogen is basically a sugar cube wrapped in gorgeous, multi-hued frosting, and everyone should adore her. Also! She has a red panda as a pet, and if that’s not the most cuddly animal for Imogen to have, I don’t know what is.

The sci-fi language gets really sci-fi-y once they’re trying to figure out what’s happening with their world, but I like that the different characters are there to explain it. Eliot and Gram will bust out with their scientific language, and then Imogen is right there to break it down for the simpler people {like me – I have a degree in English literature, and anything math or science is a foreign language to me still}.

Oh! Can I also say that what I enjoyed most was the romantic relationships? Whenever there was a problem, Far and Priya tackled it together, and there was never a time where either of them were jealous of the other or caused problems that weren’t there. With everything else going on, it was nice to see a couple who stuck together and figured out a problem with causing any unnecessary troubles. {Same with another couple that show up somewhere in the book, but spoilers!}

Overall, I super enjoyed the story and the writing. It was colorful and detailed, and preparing for a trip back to the past was just as fun as going to the past. Invictus is fun, stressful, and hits your heart hard at certain times. Preorder the junk out of this book. Even if you’re not sure of the whole sci-fi genre, trust me on this one, you’ll kick yourself if you miss out on Invictus.

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