Thursday, October 5, 2017

Book Review: Invictus

TItle: Invictus
Author: Ryan Graudin
Genre: Young Adult | Sci-Fi | Adventure
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Source: ALA
Format: ARC

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).


I haven't had this much fun while reading in a while!
Plot: When I had first heard about Invictus, I didn't know what to expect, which now I'm happy about. This novel was so fast-paced and so much fun that I wouldn't mind re-reading it. Time travel is usually a hit-or-miss premise, but Graudin made it work; I had very few questions about the process and the implications that it had. While it was nearly 500 pages, Invictus was a fast read which was due in part to the pacing and intriguing characters. If I had to compare Invictus to any two existing YA novels, I would say that Invictus is the love child of Starflight and Passenger, just with 60% less romance. Invictus kept me guessing and biting my nails until the very last page, by then I just had a goofy smile on my face. 

Characters: The reason why I liken Invictus to Starflight is that the crew was so memorable. We had Far, who wasn't born during his natural timeline; Priya, Far's girlfriend and ship medic; Gram, the engineer; Imogeen, the Historian and Far's cousin; and finally Eliot, the mysterious girl who chased Far on the Titanic. They came to life so easily and each had something at stake in their time-traveling adventures. I was surprised that Far and Priya were an existing couple, but I that their relationship was mostly in the background, it left more time for the time travel. Gram, who I believe was on the spectrum but don't quote me, was a character whose perspective I wanted to hear more from. As a whole, the crew's relationship worked well and I loved how slowly Eliot began to see them as a family as well. 

Worldbuilding: I'm a big fan of time travel because I love the idea of visiting historic events. I had a  fun time jumping with Far's crew and I loved how much detail was needed to make these jumps happen. This was a time where people watched historical datastreams like they would T.V. Want to see the assassination of Abe Lincoln? A Recorder (time traveler whose job is recording historical events) probably has a video file for your perusal. It was all so interesting and flowed well. 

Short N Sweet: Invictus will make you feel a range of emotions, all while leaving you extremely satisfied as the book comes to a close. 


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