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. In this heart-stopping adventure, Ryan Graudin has created a fast-paced world that defies time and space.
A thrilling adventure with time-travelling thieves, there's nothing better!
Time-travelling thieves. Who doesn’t want to read about that?
Invictus follows Farway Gaius McCarthy, a wannabe time-traveller who was actually born outside of time. Farway is desperate to travel back in time in the hopes of finding his mother who never made it back from a mission and while some say she and her crew are 'dead' Far thinks otherwise. After failing his final exam Far isn’t allowed to travel through time, distraught he's soon confronted with an offer he can't refuse. Tasked with captaining his own ship called the ‘Invictus’ and hiring a crew, he must steal history’s most precious items that were originally thought to be lost forever.
I loved loved loved the crew, made up of Far’s family and friends. Think the Six of Crows crew meets the Lunar Chronicles squad. The friendship between the characters was hilarious and highly enjoyable and is totally to blame for me wanting a red panda called Saffron.
The book is all about the adventure, the high of the chase, the long con. I loved Ryan’s flawless execution of time travel with a historical edge, it was a treat to read and everything flowed naturally, seamlessly from one adventure to the next. Readers will fall in love with the characters, be delighted from the non-stop adventure and be surprised by the plot twists.
I would have loved to see more development with the romance. Far and his girlfriend Priya are already together so I didn’t get to see those essential chapters of falling in love. I love the chase, the will they-won’t they and of course the angst that comes with relationships between my favourite characters. I know some people may like this take on relationships as it’s rarely seen in YA, which is great but for me I needed to see the progression in their relationship in order to become invested.
Overall Invictus was a highflying knock out for Ryan. Readers will be taken on a time travelling adventure and they definitely will not want it to end. I can’t wait to see what Ryan comes up with next. Oh and also I’d like my very own pet red panda thank you very much!
“Invictus” is a fantastic YA sci-fi adventure. I whole-heartedly agree with Revis’s review which says that it’s Firefly as teenagers with a tardis! Such an apt description. Here, we follow Farway (Far) as he fails to become what he has always desired to become- a Recorder, someone who travels through history to record key events (just as his mother was). Turned away from the Academy, he finds himself entering a life of crime, stealing key artifacts from history for wealthy buyers in the present. He gets to choose his crew (a fun cast of characters) and for each mission they complete, they also get to make one of their own. Things go awry when they are collecting something from the Titanic.
Absolutely engaging and fascinating, we get to explore not just one realm of sci-fi but so many. I won’t say too much to avoid spoilers, but I felt like a kid at Christmas with this book- sci-fi lovers will absolutely rejoice! This book was absolutely an original and delves into how we define ourselves and our world as well as how the past shapes the future. The characters here were fantastic. I loved Far’s cousin, Imogen, whose personality is as colorful as her hair. Priya, Far’s love interest, was steady and solid- I wish we had gotten to explore their relationship more, but it broke the YA barriers for being relatively drama-free and a good dose of a pretty healthy relationship. Gram was a fun character as well and reminded me of Wash from Firefly quite a bit, in the best way!
One of the really great things about the way the book is written is that we don’t focus exclusively on Far’s perspective but get to see things from different character’s perspectives, really giving each of them a life and deeper personality. I also loved that I couldn’t figure out all the twists and turns and the plot kept surprising me as I read- it’s wonderful to follow a story and continue to be surprised by where it takes you. This is a great journey! I could easily see this being made into a fantastic TV show- brilliant characters, fascinating premise, and just the perfect amount of adventure/mystery.
This is a really excellent book which I hope will be followed up with more books featuring these characters. I think it’s a really great sci-fi read (not just YA) and I look forward to more from this talented author! Please note that I received an ARC through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
ARC Review of Invictus by Ryan Graudin
Invictus was the first book I've read by Ryan Graudin and I'm really glad I gave it a try. The book was a little slow for me at times, but overall, it was really interesting. I absolutely loved the time travel parts.
Invictus takes place hundreds of years in the future. Faraway (Far) McCarthy is training to be a time traveler. During his testing, there are always issues with his date of birth. Far's mom gave birth to him on a ship while they were in void between time. She did the one thing she wasn't supposed to do during time travel, interacted with someone from the past. Not only did she speak to a gladiator in 95 AD, she got pregnant by him. During Far's final exam, he is spotted by Marie Antionette in the Sim. She winks at him and Far is positive his Sim was hacked, but he fails.
Far receives a message to meet someone about his future. He goes and ends up signing on to go into the past to steal things no one will miss. Far not only wants to time travel, but he's hoping to go on missions to find his missing mom. He chooses the ship's name, Invictus, and his crew. His cousin Imogen was my favorite character in this book. She is the ship's historian and is very colorful and happy. She also has a pet on the ship, a red panda. Far's friend Gram is the engineer and his girlfriend Priya is the medic.
The Invictus crew goes back in time for heists and all go well until they get to the Titanic. Things are weird with the numbers and they land four hours later than they have planned. While looking for a book, Far spies another time traveler from the future who steals the book before him. Eliot ends up on the Invictus and says she wants to work with the crew. However, Eliot is there for reasons Far and his crew will have a hard time understanding. They must find a way to make things right because Far should have never been born.
I haven't really read books on time travel before. Historical fiction and science fiction are genres I'm pretty with. I don't read them often. But this book ended up being better than I expected. I enjoyed the writing and details and will definitely be picking up another book from the author in the near future.
I received a digital arc from Netgalley for review. It did not influence me in any way.