ARC Review: “Invictus” by Ryan Graudin

really wanted to like this more. Pitched as Doctor Who meets Firefly (or Guardians of the Galaxy) I was pumped for lots of adventure and greatness! Alas, Invictus fell short in a few key areas for me. I think I was in some sort of reading funk which probably affected by opinion of the book, too. Maybe I’ll have to give it another go in the future.

This ARC was not provided to me by the publisher. I actually traded another ARC for this one.

InvictusTitle: Invictus
Author: Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: September 26, 2017
Length: 464 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, sci-fi
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) 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.”

three starsMy Thoughts

This is the first book I’ve read by Ryan Graudin. I have Wolf by Wolf on my shelves–have had it for a while now, but I was never super keen on reading it. Hence, Invictus took priority, and I was lucky enough to trade an ARC of this on Twitter’s #arcsfortrade hashtag.

While I absolutely love the premise–time travel, heists!–I simply could not truly immerse myself into this book. Truthfully, I was not captivated until halfway through. By then, I actually felt motivated enough to read. I think part of it was due to Graudin’s writing style, which never flowed well for me, never dragged me in, screaming that I didn’t want to leave. It often felt disjointed and stilted, too. Yet in terms of plot and the time-travel, I liked the idea of going back into time. But I wanted more. As for the plot, too, I was…confused. Well, I say that but it took me a long while to understand. There it got really Doctor Who-ish and timey-wimey, lol.

But if there’s one thing that I loved, it’s the characters! I loved every single one of them. Graudin brought each of them to life for me, with so much feeling and sass. I got a lovely shiver down my spine when certain characters were together (and lots of feels, too!). Far’s crew on the Invictus were a diverse group, too, and I loved how each played a separate but whole part on the team. (In my end, I’m trying to think who on the crew would fit the roles in Firefly… Hehe.) And all of this craziness accomplished by teenagers! Why do I never feel like my teenaged self would have made it through any of this? Haha.

I wish there was more I could say… But alas, I’m just not as happy with this book as I thought I would be. While it sounds amazing–and don’t get me wrong, some parts are–it didn’t hold a candle to my (rather high) expectations.

You can buy this on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository (this link is to the U.K. edition which is just as pretty as the U.S. one!), IndieBound, and other major booksellers. I imagine the cover is even more gorgeous in person!

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