INVICTUS by Ryan Graudin
Genre: YA Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure
Page Length: 464 Pages
Publication Date: September 17th, 2017
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Physical ARC via Little Brown Books for Young Readers
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.
As you all may know I’m not a fan of time travel……..at all. I find it to be too complicated and confusing so INVICTUS was a book I picked up to challenge myself as a reader; to delve into a genre that I don’t usually enjoy and see if reading a book with zero reservations could change how I feel towards a whole genre. *dramatic narrator voice* so this is the story of how Ryan Graudin made me fall in love with time travel done right.
I wasn’t expecting to love INVICTUS’s unique and perfect exploration of time travel. We readers are taken back in time to the Titanic, Ancient Rome, the future and more. I think what makes INVICTUS such an approachable time travel book is the structure and the restrictions that the characters have when it comes to traveling through time. The characters have to undergo rigorous training and testing to blend seamlessly into the background of the era in which they are recording which was a really interesting aspect to the novel. Towards the end a lot of the time travel and science completely went over my head but I was too caught up in finding out what happens next to care.
My main complaint about Invictus were the characters.
I couldn’t choose a favorite ( or even least hated) because I ended up not liking any of them. The characters; Imogen, Far, Priya, Eliot, and Gram were all…. boring. In my opinion, when a novel has a big cast of characters it’s extremely important that everyone is unique; that there’s something that sets them each apart the second you start reading the dialogue and this just did not happen. The only thing that set everyone apart were the descriptions. So this means that in every chapter we needed to be reminded of what made each one of them “special” – i swear that if i had to read about Priya’s music or Imogens hair color one more time……..
My biggest complaint were the ridiculous/beyond dumb curse words, (examples include; “hashing”, “crux” “tail deep” and “shazm” etc. the list goes on) because it sounded really corny & juvenile. I feel like if you’re writing a book set in the future and create new curse words then maybe they should sound like words said in anger.
My dislike for the characters is really stemmed in the fact that the dialogue was lacking poetic prose. There was a distinct lack of warmth between the characters interactions so it made the moments that were supposed to be moving ended up evoking no emotion on my part. Honestly my rating for INVICTUS was 2 stars until part four. Then all of the sudden the book took a completely different direction then I was expecting and *almost* completely redeemed itself. I still couldn’t get past the dialogue.
Overall, I really enjoyed Invictus, it was a fun, and interesting book that deserves a 5 star rating for originality. I would recommend this to anyone that loves time travel and space.
About the Author:
Ryan Graudin grew up in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of All That Glows and The Walled City. She resides near Charleston with her husband and wolf-dog. You can find her online at http://www.ryangraudin.com.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of INVICTUS.
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