Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books For Young Readers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: September 26th, 2017
Synopsis: 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 the 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.
Invictus is an interesting mix of historical fiction and science fiction which for the most part I found to be a fun read. While the first couple of chapters were a little slow, mainly because of trying to follow the introduction of all the technological aspects, it didn’t take long for the story to take off and I was completely sucked in.
I have to be honest and say I did not like the main character, Farway at first. I thought he was egotistical and arrogant and completely rubbed me the wrong way. But once his life is upended and he becomes the captain of the Imvictus, leading his friends on trips throughout history as they bring back black market artifacts for the sinister Lux, I began to warm up to him and by the end of the book I saw him in a much more positive light.
Thankfully there’s no love triangle, but the romance between Far and Pyria is a little tepid. I think in part, this is because their relationship was already in place before the story began. There was no build-up to their feelings and we’re told rather than shown how much they love each other. Although I liked both of them, I never found their relationship believable.
I did like the rest of the characters, but I think they all could have used a bit more development except for Far’s cousin, Imogene who I loved. Her personality sparkles off the pages and she steals every scene she’s in. She changes her hair color just about every day, and is addicted to gelato (I was so hungry while reading this!) She loves Far, yet finds him exasperating at times. She’s not afraid to speak up and keeps his ego in check. She also provides some much needed humor to balance the darker tones of the story. And best of all, she has a red panda named Saffron who I instantly fell in love with!
The world-building and time traveling was imaginative and well written. There were several twists that I didn’t see coming which added some intriguing layers to the plot. As I said previously, I was initially confused by some of the technology and Far’s backstory, but these wrinkles ironed themselves out.
Overall, I quite enjoyed Invictus and I think fans of science fiction and time-travel will enjoy this. The ending ties everything up neatly, but I’m hoping there will be a sequel, maybe concentrating more on the trips back into history and the stealing of artifacts. If Ryan Graudin delved into this element more fully, I could see this becoming a successful YA series. Fingers crossed!