Friday, January 12, 2018

Review: Invictus

Invictus
Ryan Graudin
Published September 26, 2017
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. - from Goodreads
In the distant future, Farway McCarthy is a student hoping to become a time traveler, so he can explore history.  But after he fails his final test, he is recruited by a shady guy to locate and steal valuable items that were lost to history.  One such mission involves stealing a book from the sinking Titanic, where Far crosses paths with Eliot, a girl with many secrets.  Who is she, and what does she want?  When she finally reveals her reasons for seeking out Far, Far and his team are thrown into something that could affect all of time and space.

I love time travel (although I don't always understand it), and I especially loved the way the author approached it in Invictus.  In Far's time, time travelers are sent back to different times and places in order to record history - can you imagine being able to say you walked with dinosaurs or saw President Lincoln give his Gettysburg Address?  It sounds like the perfect job - one that Far wants desperately.  He assumes he'll get it, too - he's at the top of his class and everyone expects that he'll pass his exam with flying colors.  But he doesn't, which leads him to accept a black-market job as captain of the Invictus, with a crew comprised of his medic girlfriend Priya, historian cousin Imogen, and engineer best friend Gram.

I generally liked all the individual characters, although my one biggest problem with YA is that the teenagers always seem way too smart for their ages.  The characters are all around 18 years old, yet they're able to pilot this ship and plan and carry out missions like it's no big deal.  It's just a little weird to me.  Anyway... there was also some romance going on - I liked Priya and Far's relationship.  It felt real and deep, as opposed to the huge crush Imogen has on Gram.  Her "I like him but I can't tell him" utterings got old, real fast.  She seemed a bit immature.

When Eliot appeared on the scene, I was anxious to find out what her deal was.  I wish the author had gotten to it a bit faster; the reveal was pretty cool, but it took so long to get there and the mystery surrounding Eliot just confused me.  After her reveal, the story became tense and action-packed.  I don't want to give too much away, because it's a really fun but also unexpectedly dark and emotional ride.

I loved Graudin's writing; I've never read anything by her before, and I found her writing to be elegant in a way I don't necessarily expect from YA books.  I appreciated where she went with the story in the end; I think it was risky to have the events play out the way they did, but I was very satisfied with the choices she made.

4 stars

22 comments:

  1. Really great review! I'm interested to read this book, but I often stay clear of time travel stories simply because I usually always end up confused ;) Lol.

    But I like the sound of those characters! A pity about that trope, though :( I hate when authors do that.

    Glad you enjoyed it overall!

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    1. Thanks, Amy! Time travel interests me, but it seems like everyone makes up their own rules for it!

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  2. I was tempted to get this one, and I now I am sad that I didn’t. I love time travel books, but I have been frustrated with YA lately, so I have been steering away. I will see if I can get it from the library.

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    1. I haven't been reading quite as much YA recently either, but I would recommend this one!

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  3. That is such a cool concept for a time travel novel! I do know where you are coming from when you say that the characters seem too knowledgable for their ages. That always irks me as well. It sounds like a really interesting story, though. I am glad that you enjoyed it. :)

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    1. Oh, I'm glad I'm not the only one that notices that! Yeah, as a former history student, the idea of actually experiencing history was a big draw for me!

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  4. Hmm, this sounds good! I love time travel too! In fact this reminds me of the premise of Time Salvager bu Wesley Chu, which has them going back to bring resources forward in time. A little different than the premise here, but maybe you'd like that book as well? Anyway this sounds great, and yes I want that job! :)

    I'm curious too about Eliot's secrets. :)

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  5. I like books about time travelling and this story sounds so interesting!

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    1. It was fun, but also sufficiently heavy where it needed to be!

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  6. Adding this to my TBR! :) Great review!

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  7. I'm with Amy here! I tend to steer clear because I get confused. Is it a closed circle? Were they always there or are there different worlds where things went differently? My mind can't rest with those questions when reading a book about time travel! However, I am interested in picking this up! I've heard really great things about the author, but I've never gotten around to reading one of her books.

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    1. Yeah, like I said to Amy, it seems like although there are some consistencies to time travel, a lot of it just seems to be made up to fit the particular story!

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  8. Oh, man. I started this book on audio, but then my loan expired at the library and there was a wait for it. I can't wait to get back to this one. I was really enjoying it.

    Great review!

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  9. For some reason, this book had never made it on to my TBR. I love books that feature time travel though so I'm definitely adding it now. Great review!

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  10. Wonderful review, Angela! This one has earned reviews that either love it or hate it, so I appreciate the details you put in here.

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  11. This has been on my TBR ever since I heard it involves the Titanic, but I haven't had the chance to read it yet. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. The time traveling aspect here does sound great, and that's good to hear that the one relationship doesn't have the like him but can't tell him feel. Romances like that always annoy me - I just want to scream communicate lol Great review!

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    1. Thanks, Lauren! I know, I have to remind myself this is YA, so some of the romance aspects can seem a little immature. But besides that, this was a great book!

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!