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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.

464 pages, ebook

First published September 26, 2017

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About the author

Ryan Graudin

19 books1,861 followers
Ryan Graudin was born in Charleston, South Carolina, with a severe case of wanderlust. When she’s not traveling, she’s busy writing and spending time with her husband and wolf dog. She is the author of Invictus, the Wolf By Wolf duology, The Walled City, and the All That Glows Series.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,569 reviews
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
614 reviews87.8k followers
January 15, 2021
I’ve read a few books about time travel, but this one is definitely my favourite. Very different than the other books I’ve read by this author but just as interesting, unique, and fast paced. The ending dragged a tiny bit in my opinion, but it was also a super complicated situation so not all that surprising. Overall it was super enjoyable!
Profile Image for Ryan Graudin.
Author 19 books1,861 followers
September 27, 2017
After writing the WOLF BY WOLF duology, I found I was emotionally exhausted from spending so much time in that gritty mental landscape. INVICTUS was a chance to let my imagination play: time traveling thieves, gelato, a red panda, a heist on the Titanic! I had such a fun time writing these characters and their adventures, and I hope you have just as much fun reading it.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,096 reviews17.7k followers
May 15, 2019
“It's all about perspective, isn't it? That's why Aunt Empra loved time travel so much. She always said the past helped her make sense of the present...sometimes even the future, too. I didn't understand what she meant until I started traveling. When you witness the breadth of history, you understand how small you are. And yet at the same time you realize how much your life matters...how much you shape the people around you.”

This book feels like a lacking-in-character-development version of Firefly, which – while taking away one of the key things that makes Firefly so good – still has some surprisingly great moments. I couldn’t even put it down for the last 250 pages.

This is one of the most creative stories I’ve ever read. Beginning as a story about a heist crew and time travel and ending as a story about the multiverse and the nature of memories, Invictus certainly jumps around – but somehow, the chaotic plot works. SUCH a fast-paced read. I couldn’t even put it down for the last 250 pages.

To me, this is a story about identity – and moreover, what your identity becomes when memories leave. But it’s one hidden behind an action-filled exterior.

But I honestly felt this could’ve gone way deeper. There were a few themes here that seemed so intriguing - there’s a brief conversation on modern-day prejudice compared with that of the futuristic setting, and I thought that was so great! And then it goes away after being mentioned once. The worldbuilding of the futuristic society itself seemed so compelling! And then it doesn’t get mentioned for the rest of the book!

And though the concept of heists through time is brilliant, more could’ve been done with that, too. The setting descriptions don’t feel very immersive, to a point where I had trouble getting a mental map in my mind of the locations.

But honestly, the core issue is the lacking character work. Who started out with such potential and ended… null.
🌺 Far – our egotistical lead character, whose arc deserved to go far deeper
🍀 Eliot – our mysterious stranger girl character, who started out leaving me worrying over manic pixie dream girls but ended up awesome and dynamic
🌺 Priya – Far’s girlfriend and maybe my favorite of the characters
🍀 Gram – the ship’s engineer and a generic love interest who could’ve been more
🌺 Imogen – Far’s cousin, crazy-haired, part of a boring love plot, and honestly kind of annoying
🍀 Saffron, the red panda, who is definitely my favorite character. Saffron protection squad.
Here’s the thing: I think if the characters had been better developed, this would’ve been a perfect book. The lack of character development is a huge detriment to another aspect of the book: the romance. While one of the romances is established before the book and fairly well-done, the other one is instalovey, and it just does not work with so little development to either of their characters. The attraction doesn’t feel very deep.

Because truly, aside from my annoyance at the lacking character and theme work, this is a wonderful book and a delightfully campy story. The fake curse words and ellipses should feel cheesy, but they honestly feel like a part of the book’s fabric of humor.

So basically, verdict: an entertaining and interesting read with a bit of wasted potential to be something more.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,514 reviews29.5k followers
October 2, 2017
I'd rate this 3.5 stars.

Looking to take a bit of a rollicking ride, meshing time travel, history, and science fiction? Check out Ryan Graudin's Invictus , and get ready to head into the future—and back into the past.

Farway ("Far") Gaius McCarthy is the son of a time traveler from 2354 AD and a gladiator from ancient Rome. For all intents and purposes, he shouldn't have even been born, since his existence challenges the laws of time. Growing up hearing of his mother's exploits throughout time, there is nothing he has wanted more than to follow in her footsteps.

When Far fails the final exam he needs to be admitted into the government's time travel program, he insists that someone hacked into the system, but his dreams are crushed. So when he is offered the opportunity to captain his own ship and lead his own crew, he jumps at the chance, even if it means being under the thumb of a criminal, who forces Far to travel throughout time, stealing valuable antiquities and black market delicacies.

As captain, Far hits his stride, and he and his crew travel through time, sometimes barely escaping danger, but never missing an adventure. And then on a journey to steal a valuable book from the Titanic before it sinks, Far encounters Eliot, a mysterious young woman whom he believes he's seen before, and who always seems to be just a step or two ahead of him, throwing his missions into chaos.

It turns out Eliot is more connected to Far than anyone knows, and has secrets that have major ramifications for his future and those of his crew—not to mention their pasts. Yet as much as they don't know whether to trust her or fear her, they have to decide whether her warnings about the imminent danger to time are true, and if so, what they can do to change things before everything changes around them.

Invictus is a fun adventure, one which raises interesting theories of time and how the slightest moves can impact the world and history. Graudin has created a fascinating cast of characters, full of quirky personalities, and you find yourself rooting for them to get out of the scrapes in which they find themselves, even though in many cases they're technically committing crimes.

The plot gets a little bogged down and confusing at times, borrowing elements from Blake Crouch's Dark Matter and other sci-fi novels that touch on the concept of multiple universes. I felt like things could have been tightened up a bit, because it took a while to resolve everything. But Graudin's storytelling is really entertaining, and I think this could be a fun movie, kind of a Firefly with a little less bad-ass attitude.

NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for Lena.
199 reviews92 followers
September 14, 2023
Timetraveling for dummies or how to explain every plot-twist with 'multiverse'.
Maybe in general this book isn't so bad for the young-adult sci-fi, but I'm so tired of cliché Marvel-comics-like science explanations that it didn't work for me at all.
Profile Image for Dana Kenedy (Dana and the Books).
212 reviews1,012 followers
October 25, 2017
This review can also be found on my blog, Dana and the Books

The best way to my heart is through time travel.

It's no secret that time travel is my absolute favourite trope, and that I will forever seek out new stories involving jumps through time. When I first found out about Invictus, it was THE book I needed, and when I managed to snag an ARC at YALC, I was over the moon.

With such high hopes, it would have been too easy to be let down. If not done well, the specifics and rules of time travel can implode a story and make it a hot mess, but Invictus does it smartly and follows its in-universe protocols without making my brain shut down from contradictions.

Invictus makes my time travel obsessed heart swell with love. Not only were there fantastic romps through time, but the plot itself was gripping with enough twists to make a roller coaster jealous. The cast of characters were lovable and adorable (and I want them all to be my friends).

I've seen a few people compare this to Doctor Who meets Firefly, but I honestly got more of a vibe that reminded me of the TV show Timeless with a dash of Firefly thrown in (and if you haven't watched Timeless, I highly recommend you do.)

Really my only issue with Invictus is Priya's age. I saw character profiles for the Invictus crew on the publisher's twitter and was so surprised to find out Priya was 18. She came across as mid-twenties to me, and her still being a teenager came off as fairly unrealistic since she was a medic with experience. I loved her, so when I found out her age I had a "wait, what?" moment.

The verdict? Invictus is fun, clever, and thrilling — you don't want to miss this one!

Book Links: Book Depository | Amazon US | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK

Profile Image for Carrie.
3,230 reviews1,549 followers
August 26, 2017
Farway Gaius McCarthy's mother was a time traveling recorder from 2354 AD that had broken the rules and engaged in a relationship with a gladiator from 95 AD which brought Farway into the world. When she stayed too long in the past to witness the outcome of her love's fight in the arena though she went into labor before returning to her own time causing Farway to be born outside of time which defied the laws of nature.

Now Farway has been studying to become a time traveler himself when he fails his final exam which devastates him knowing traveling was his only future. Not too long after the exam though Farway is contacted about becoming a ship's captain as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. Farway knows this is his only chance to travel so he makes a deal to bring his friends aboard as his crew but on their first mission to the Titanic they run into a mysterious girl who always seems to end up just ahead for Farway and his crew.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin is a young adult science fiction read that involved time travel, romance and glimpses into history all throughout the story. I'd describe this one as a fast paced plot driven read but that could also be argued a bit as while the action does start right from the opening pages and continues all throughout the plot was a bit of a slow build in itself with the meat of the story not really coming until more than halfway through the book. Either way though the plot really did grab my interest and keep it until the end with wondering just what would come next.

However, what I found lacking a bit with this one was being able to connect and relate to these characters. I kind of found that to me that while I wanted to know what would happen next with the time traveling and action I never really cared particularly about the individuals in the story or felt that I got to know their personalities very well to develop a deeper connection to them. This kind of left what I felt would have been a great read feeling a bit flat leaving me to rate this one at 3.5 stars. I'd definitely try something else by this author again but wish it had just that little bit more bit of personality to give it a final push to greatness for me.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....

Profile Image for rin.
411 reviews483 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
October 3, 2017
i have zero desire to continue reading this atm maybe I'll come back to it later

dnf @ 28%


idk about the cover but the
first chapter
looks intriguing

“I could go back and kill Hitler,” Far joked. “Isn’t that every time traveler’s dream?”

i couldn't stop myself


Time. Traveling. Thieves.

also: "Dr. Who meets Firefly meets Looper."

aLSO: "Dr. Who meets Guardians of the Galaxy"

Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews843 followers
September 27, 2017
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Invictus by Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

I've read all of Graudin's previous books (two with HarperCollins, three with Little, Brown), and I've enjoyed them all. I had no doubt that I would enjoy this new book. It is quite different compared to the others, with the subject matter being time travel, and I'd been looking forward to reading it since the announcement about the book was made. This book got off to a slow start, but I enjoyed it very much!

Farway Gaius McCarthy - better known as Far - was not born in a time that he should have been. His mother was in between time periods when he was born, and nothing could be done about this. Seventeen years later, Far is taking exams to progress in his time-traveling career, and he is expected to pass with flying colors. But something goes wrong, and he is expelled. His expulsion is cruel and unjust, but he isn't out of options. He accepts a position as captain of a ship (which he names Invictus), smuggling rare goods from the past before they are destroyed. The heists go very well, especially with the exceptional crew Far has chosen. But a heist on the Titanic proves to be a disaster when a mysterious girl shows up and demands her way into the crew. Everything seems to unravel with the appearance of this girl, and Far discovers that nothing about his life is as it should be.

Time-travel stories can be hit or miss for me. My favorite series is the Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier - that was a fun and intriguing series, entertaining from start to finish. Other time-travel stories have been boring and confusing. So I'm always wary of new ones. But when I saw that Ryan Graudin was writing, I didn't really think twice about the content of the story. I trust Graudin's storytelling and I had a good feeling about this book.

From the start, I adored Far. He is confident and a little arrogant, but not in an obnoxious way. There is something entirely endearing about him. He's the kind of hero that you love without having to know why. But there are so many good qualities about him - his persistence, his determination, his fearlessness, his selflessness, his confidence. He has an interesting sense of humor and he is a fun guy to follow. While this story isn't just about him, it definitely wouldn't be the same with him as a lesser character. He is a very fun and well-written protagonist.

Arguably, all of the crew are primary characters. This book is written in third-person POV, and it seems like the majority of the story is told from Far's third-person POV, but the POVs of other characters are common. Gram, the Engineer of the Invictus, is a constant presence. He is incredibly smart and logical, which makes sense since he is the one that does the calculations to perform the jumps in time. Imogen, Far's cousin, is the Historian of the crew. She is responsible for knowing about the details of the historic periods of time (for costumes and such). Priya is a medic, which is kind of necessary since Far gets into scrapes every now and then, on heists.

The newest addition is Eliot, who is the mysterious girl who came out of nowhere on the Titanic. She is very strange and not someone I trusted at any point in the story. Her identity is revealed very slowly, so you're left wondering who she is for a bit in the story (though all is revealed, don't worry). Her plans were unknown to readers at first, even though we read from her third-person POV occasionally. We can't tell if she is friend of foe, but she is a very important character in the story.

There is romance, and I loved it because it is already established romance. Far and Priya are already dating, which is cute. Usually YA stories do the meet-cute thing, in which the two characters meet and go on adventures together. In this case, Far and Priya had already known each other, and started dating, in the early heists (long before problems with time traveling and Eliot arrived). There is NO love triangle. The arrival of Eliot does not signal a love triangle. I promise! There is also another couple whom I shipped (you can probably guess who). No love triangle there either. Far and Priya are the cutest, as are the other couple. Neither romance is very important in the story, though both are there are both are adorable.

The time-travel aspect is not at all confusing or poorly explained. Even if you're not a mathy/sciencey person, you'll be fine when following the explanations and whatnot, when it comes to time travel and anomalies and such. The big conflict deals with a rift, and the author makes sure readers know how and why and what. Things didn't make sense at first, but as the author revealed more and more, things started to come together.

By the climax of the story, everything becomes clear - who Eliot is, why Far is critical to the huge problem, what happened to Far's mother, and so on. Many questions are answered. The end of the story is a little sad at first! Certain things are unavoidable, and so the ending had a bit of a bittersweet tone to it. BUT. It doesn't end that badly. In fact, the ending is hopeful and somewhat of a HEA, even if it isn't truly a HEA. It's a good ending, overall.

This exciting and heart-pounding science fiction novel is perfect for anyone looking for adventure and high stakes. Cute romances and great friendships make the novel even stronger!

What I Did Not Like:

I suppose the only thing that made me a little sad was the ending - but again, it was a good ending overall. I can't say much beyond that. But I do hope that, in the future, the author releases some sort of check-in for some of the characters. There is an epilogue in this book already, but it wasn't enough. (If anything, it was more of a tease than anything else!)

Would I Recommend It:

I love science fiction but often struggle with time-travel novels, but I definitely recommend this book! It is fun and interesting, with high stakes and nonstop action and intensity. I loved following this crew, with their strong bond and friendships. This is a standalone novel so you wouldn't need to worry about waiting for another book to follow.


4 stars. I have yet to be disappointed by Ryan Graudin! All of her stories are so unique and different, and there is a lot to love about each book. I can't wait to read what she comes up with next!
Profile Image for kate.
1,225 reviews949 followers
August 31, 2017
I was lucky enough to receive an early ARC copy of Ryan Graudin’s upcoming YA Sci-Fi, ‘Invictus’ from the lovely people at the BKMRK stand at YALC at the end of July. After getting my copy signed and nodding like a manic bobblehead at everything Ryan Graudin said whilst on a ‘Writing & Social Change’ panel, I couldn’t have been more excited to pick it up.

*Read my full review here* http://girlreading.co.uk/bookreviews/...

I’ve had an odd relationship with reading for a few months now. I’ve been reading some great books but, except for a special few I fell in love with, I haven’t felt my usual rush of love for reading. But I can happily say Invictus was the book of my reading slump dreams.

Opening with a prologue somewhat reminiscent of that scene in Star Trek, (hey Chris Hemsworth and Jennifer Morrison!) I was drawn in and pretty much hooked from the first page. Invictus has an intriguing, funny and diverse crew of characters. And a plot filled with time travel, fast paced action, epic heists and twist and turns throughout. Think Guardians of the Galaxy, had Guardians of the Galaxy been about a group of time travelling teenagers.

Character wise, I instantly warmed to each and every Invictus crew member but Imogen, with her constantly changing kaleidoscope hair, was definitely my favourite. Her quirky ship’s log entries documenting Tetris scores, hair colours, ego’s and music, along with her optimistic, loyal, bubbly and fiercely loving personality, was a constant joy to read.

As for the rest of the crew I loved Gram’s adorable awkwardness and bursts of confidence. Farway was passionate, funny and egotistical in an undeniably charming way. The love and loyalty he felt towards his self made family (the Invictus crew) was heartwarming. Priya was a quieter character but nonetheless strong and smart. Elliott was a mystery and one I thoroughly enjoyed.
I absolutely loved that there was a long standing romantic relationship from the get go, which is so rarely found in YA. I’m also a sucker for the quiet ‘I love you but do you love me? I don’t know what to do. I’ll just sit here, keep my fingers crossed, smile at you and pretend I’m not totally in love with you and hope for the best but we’re super cute’ kind of romance, so I was 100% invested in Imogen and Gram (their Han’s and Leia ‘I know’ Star Wars moment gave my heart all the warm fuzzies.) The multiple dynamics individually and as a group between the Invictus crew was funny, heartwarming and so much fun to read.

I think one of my favourite parts of Invictus were the vivid descriptions of the different time periods the crew travelled to. It was cinematic, incredibly immersive and I now want to travel back in time more than ever *sigh*. I also really enjoyed the ongoing, underlying conversations on subjects such as society, racism and climate change. It was so interesting to read about our present day from a ‘looking back’ point of view.

Lastly, the writing. I loved it. It was so incredibly clever and obviously heavily thought out and plotted but it was never info-dumpy or confusing. It was fast paced, easy flowing and incredibly comfortable to read. I was turning pages and racing through it without even realising I was doing so.

Invictus was a gripping, fast paced, action packed, funny, heart warming, rollercoaster of a read and I couldn’t recommend it more highly.
Profile Image for Maddie.
557 reviews1,150 followers
August 16, 2017
I LOVED THIS. I need something bigger than capital letters to really capture how much I loved it. It's so weird to say that about a sci-fi book because usually, I don't click with them but this felt like it was a tailored to my exact favourite things about books.

The crew reminded me of that from The Lunar Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus (when I figured out the latter comparison, I felt like crying over how much I missed that bunch of heroes.) The friendship is strong, the relationships are established. Seriously, Far and Priya are my new Percy and Annabeth. (Wow, okay, the more I think about this, the more it's literally Percy Jackson in space...and time.)

Ugh, it was just SO WELL CRAFTED. I seriously can't wrap my head around the fact that Ryan Graudin created this AND 'Wolf By Wolf' which was also amazing. I was actively trying to figure out how things were working out and then in the next chapter, it would be revealed and I'd be like 'Damn, that's brilliant, why didn't I think of that??'

I also loved the reading experience, getting to chat about it with Carys, Lily and Kate was so great. 100% would buddy read again.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,155 reviews311 followers
December 12, 2017
** My 500th review posted on Goodreads :) **

So I'm kind of mixed on this book. On the one hand, I loved the pacing and forward momentum of the story, which kept events feeling really exciting. On the other hand, I wasn't feeling much for the actual characters themselves, and so I felt like the story lacked emotional depth. The overall result was a little...unsatisfying.

I did like the writing, and I still want to try some of Graudin's other books. I enjoyed Invictus well enough while I was reading it, and I understand that Wolf by Wolf in particular is supposed to be quite good. I would also encourage anyone who thinks this book looks interesting to go ahead and give it a try, especially if you like time travel stories. It is kind of a fun and fast-paced read, and sometimes that is just what you are looking for.
Profile Image for Bee.
430 reviews847 followers
August 16, 2017
One of the most action packed and perfectly crafted adventures I've ever read.

Invictus is genius and will keep you guessing with twists and turns you'll never see coming! I loved every single relationship dynamic (unrequited love that isn't actually unrequited? YES PLEASE) and the pacing was off-the-charts good. Like, seriously, this might just be the most impressive book I've ever read. Ryan Graudin is an absolute gem.

If you liked the crew dynamics of 'Six of Crows', the timey-wimely space stuff of 'Doctor Who' and appreciate incredible story-telling, with particular skill at handling close third for multiple characters then you need to read this.
Profile Image for Alice.
229 reviews43 followers
December 25, 2017
(Read the wolf by wolf duology from this author, different vibe, historical fiction so it's actually good, clear plot, cool power from the main character)

Ew gross this was so bad. Terrible character development, no plot, x2 instalove, very little worldbuilding (because time travel). I went forward a bit to 45% and I still have no idea what the plot is supposed to be.

Read this part my initial review sucked:

I going to add a bit more to this review. There are 5 reasons why I think this is really bad from what I read so far.
1. The sci-fi element makes no sense. The genius guy when he is jumping the ship through time "pieces numbers together". No explanation on how this time-travel element works at all. Very little explanation of the training for time travel.

2. No plot. I went up to 45% and I think that's when the plot finally going to start, but before that there was a random trip to Las Vegas.

3. Unnecessary perspectives. Besides the mystery girl and Far I thought all the other perspectives were very unnecessary.

4. The romance. The story just says a year passed by and Far and Freya are now in a relationship. ONE conversation between them before that. With Imogen's crush on Gram they were never shown talking before the story tells you she has a crush on him.

5. Little worldbuilding. This is set in the future so there are vague references to hovercraft and screens you can see through your eyes, but since they are always jumping through time it's just glossed over and not that clear. I couldn't really picture any of the settings too well. There wasn't enough description both back in time and in their present time in the future.

6. Couldn't connect to any of the characters at all. They don't seem that complex of characters.
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,393 followers
September 14, 2017
Thank you to Hachette Children's Books for kindly sending me a copy to review. All thoughts are my own, however. 



Invictus has stumped me. And, not in a good way. It's stumped me because I have never been this confused on how to rate a book. I've struggled between a 4 and a 3 for the beginning of the book, but as the story continued my attention wavered and I struggled to stay absorbed in the world and plot. I'm honestly just confused.

I should point out, sci-fi isn't my usual genre. I don't actively reach for a science fiction book. However, I trusted this author after how amazingly she executed Wolf by Wolf (a retelling of history that did a take on what would happen if Hitler had won). Sadly, I'm never going to be a science fiction and I think that's where the book lost me. Inter dimensional travel is a confusing concept and it went straight over my head. I got grasp time travel, just, so adding that extra element had my eyes rolling back into my head from the confusion I was feeling.

Simply, I just couldn't connect to either the world or the characters because of this. The addition of a new system of swear words also did my head in. I'm not a fan of swear words (curse words, cuss words, whatever you want to call them) being recreated. I'm a big fan of using cuss words so I don't see the point in changing it up. That could just me. 

To get back to the book in this ramble, it just wasn't for me. Don't let this deter you from this book, though, I know others out there have loved it and I am simply an unpopular opinion in the sea of praises. 

C H A R A C T E R S 

In this section, I usually break down the characters and begin talking about how they added to the plot. However, for this book, I don't have a lot to say about any character, in particular, even the main character. But, to list everyone for you there is Farway (our main character) and his crew on the Invictus, Pyria, Imogen and Gram. Added to the crew on the adventure is Eliot, who is a mysterious girl who brings drama to the storyline. 

Farway was egotistical. That is the one word I would choose to describe him. I'm not even sure how I felt about his character apart from confused. I didn't understand a lot of his inner monologue and was left staring at the book with my face scrunched in confusion a lot. I was excited to read about his illicit activities and evading the authorities of his world, but that wasn't really what this story was. It was confusing and my head is still spinning from it. 

Pyria was Farway's girlfriend. I must have missed something because this shocked me. I didn't really feel the chemistry between the pair and felt their relationship was almost forced. It was a struggle to read. I could see the pair as close friends and I wish that had been their dynamic instead. Pyria is also the medic on the ship and the only logical one in most situations, I'm not sure how I felt about her, though. I really felt she took a backseat when it came to Farway's plot. 

Imogen would be Farway's wild cousin. She changes her hair every day and has an undying passion for gelato (much like her cousin). Imogen is the one who clothes them on their time travelling missions because you can't turn up in Ancient Rome dressed in jeans and a polo, right? She had to be my favourite character until romance was added to her storyline with the only other male on the ship. 

Gram was the one they all relied on to get them to their destination safely. I believe that makes him the engineer? I'm not sure, I forget. I did like him as a character and I didn't mind his romance with Imogen but communication problems are the bane of my existence and basically 80% of the romance between the two. I didn't feel like we focused enough on Gram either. He seemed to suffer from OCD tendencies and a panic attack in his first chapter, but I could be very wrong. I will, however, count those as triggers so people can be cautious. 

Finally, Eliot. Literally the female version of Farway. She was egotistical and did everything for her friends and family. I wasn't expecting her to have alopecia, but I did think it was an interesting addition to the plot. I don't have much to say about her. When her 'mystery' was revealed I was unimpressed and expecting more. She was simply there, I did enjoy her friendship with Imogen though. 

P L O T 

For me, the plot was what let the book down subcutaneously, I think. We open with Farway failing his exams and then we have a heist. Which, if you ask me, is an amazing start to a novel. The book slowly falls away from this though, leading into a bigger problem for the universe and everyone in it. We learn about time travelling and what the threat is, but I was a tad unimpressed. 

This really was probably just me, because I didn't read the blurb. I was expecting heists to follow the whole book and to be left on the edge of my seat in anticipation. I was more so flipping pages thinking about all the chores I had to do once I finished a chapter. 

O V E R A L L 

This was a space adventure filled with a diverse cast that unfortunately fell flat on me. I didn't enjoy the romance and I most certainly did not feel absorbed to the plot. I would still recommend this to everyone when it releases later this month, but unfortunately is not the book for me. If you're a fan of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo or heist novels, this may just appeal to you. 
Profile Image for Gemma ♕ Bookish Gems.
487 reviews224 followers
February 8, 2018
So this is a rambling, incoherent review so please bare with me. 😂

I really enjoyed Invictus. It was quite different to anything else I've read recently and the world was really well fleshed out.

I loved the characters. Farway was the dashing young hero with an ego who you can't help but love. Priya was wonderful and her relationship with Farway really worked for me. They complimented each other perfectly and I was so glad that they found each other again in the end. Imogen is an absolute doll and I just really enjoyed her character. Gram was...ok? Like he has his moments but sometimes he was kind of pushed to the back. I love that he did end up having quite a pivotal role though in the end. Elliot was so kick ass and wonderful. Like, she'd seen all this stuff and become quite hardened but when she actually found the catalyst she did everything she could to fix it while preserving their world and finding a place in it for herself.

I thought the future it was set in was awesome. I love the fact that everyone had become obsessed with history was fascinating. It had become a world where the realness of the past had been lost in stim packs and brain chips. It was fascinating to see this world from the perspective of the 'criminals' rather than the governing body of time travel. I also liked that even though they were technically criminals they were just decent, good people that found themselves in a world where the only way they could use their training and do what they were desperate to do with their lives, was to go rogue!

I was 100% happy with the ending. Part of me was happy because Farway had found Priya again and his mum was home and safe, Isabel and Gram were getting there and Elliot was still kicking about and had a made contact and stuff...but I wanted a bit more. I wanted to see more of what happened with Farway and Priya because I loved them so much and I needed to know they got back to where they were.

So yeah, I loved it and this is a bad review 🤣🤣

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So hashing good!

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Beatrice in Bookland.
460 reviews838 followers
September 21, 2018
"Farway Gaius McCarthy only ever wanted to see the world, not save one."

I'm not the biggest fan of time travel books, almost always there are way too long descriptions of the places and the era in general and I get bored out of my mind. And there were some unnecessarily long descriptions in Invictus but they didn't bother me too much.

I loved the first and last 100 pages, the middle was pretty boring. Some scenes were really unnecessary and filled with flowery writing and philosophical thoughts of the 17 years old protagonists. And sometimes it felt like the author put too much effort in the writing and not enough in the character's personality and arcs.

But hey, I loved the main character, Farway! He's sassy but not too much, he loves his crew and I loved his relationship with his cousin, Imogen (my second favorite character)!

The romance was there but it was never overwhelming, sometimes a bit too cheesy but I didn't mind.
Profile Image for Shannon A.
675 reviews532 followers
January 21, 2018
Probably landing around 3.75-4 stars. I really like the concept of time travel and dimensions, however, I read an entire series that does this very similarly in the last couple of years: Firebird by Claudia Gray. But I still really enjoyed this and the ensemble cast element, reminiscent of Lunar Chronicles. Definitely worth a read though! I enjoyed the writing and pace of the story and I think Ryan Grayson is a great writer.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,838 followers
Shelved as 'on-hold-ill-get-to-it-one-day'
October 24, 2017
i have zero idea what this is about so :|

...and im not gonna read the synopsis (thosE THINGS HAVE SO MUCH FRICKEN SPOILERS I SWEAR ITS RIDICULOUS) so let's just hope its not trash :))

Buddy read part two with the little uni boy
Profile Image for Carlos.
621 reviews291 followers
November 22, 2017
I loved this books (if my rating does not tell you that..lol)
There are few books that get time travel right and even fewer YA books that deal with the opic, But this was the exception, from the beginning you get the sense that something big is happening and the book delivers. If you love Doctor Who, then you will love this books. There is an anomaly in the space continuum thread and is threatening to end reality as we know, The Catalyst? ... a boy named Far , He doesn't know it but his existence is the beginning of the end of the world , he will face Elliot a girl that knows more about him that himself and who would lead him to ask the question ...Will my death save the world? ....the ending is epic. IF this sounds like something you love ..then reading the book is a lot better....Highly recommend it. This is a stand alone book , there are no sequels. ( for good or bad).
Profile Image for Jordan (Her Paper Adventure).
38 reviews37 followers
September 9, 2017
You can also see my full review on my blog!

I received Invictus in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Hachette Children’s Group and Netgally.

If you’re a fan of time travel, you’re going to love Invictus, I found it to be a lot of fun and quite fascinating, having not read many books based around this subject. Set in the future, Invictus has a generous mix of scfi and history throughout, with flying time machines and droids in their current time, then jumping back to the past, to the Titanic and places like Vegas. The story follows the crew of the Invictus, a bunch of time travelling teenagers who work illegally for a man named Lux, jumping through time to steal items that were lost in catastrophic events throughout history. It’s fast paced with exciting plot twists you don’t see until they smack you in the face, heart stopping moments and fun, lovable characters.

Farway was a good main character, I liked him well enough, but he wasn’t my favourite out of the Invictus crew by a long shot. His relationship with Priya left a lot to be desired, they fell in love off camera so we never got to see anything develop between the two of them, they just were, and I couldn’t get on board with their relationship, it felt very stale. Imogen, Far’s cousin, was one of my favourite characters, she was quirky, funny and bright (literally), and she had a pet Red Panda, Saffron! I feel like if she hadn’t been part of the Invictus’ crew, they would have been a bit of a dull bunch. I loved her relationships with all the other main characters too, especially her relationship with Gram, those two were adorable! Gram was the super intelligent numbers guy, he got them to and back from the past, he was your stereotypical nerdy guy when it came to feelings and a beautiful girl. I found Priya a little boring, although near the end I did start to like her a tiny bit more, unfortunately it was too little, too late. Elliot was a mystery for the most part and we didn’t learn much about her until later, so I think I should keep it that way for you, too. Together, the characters dynamic worked well and as a group, I really did love them.

Although Invictus was a little slow to start, once it got going the plot was fast paced, there was always something going on, something new to contend with and that kept me firmly planted in this world. The writing style made it easy to understand all the technical time travel talk without causing me any confusion, which was a blessing in my eyes, there’s nothing worse than trying to read a book you just don’t understand and I think Ryan did a great job. The twists in the plot were not ones that I could see coming and I found myself trying to work out what was going to happen, or what was happening, only to realise I was totally wrong. Overall, I really enjoyed Invictus, it was a fun, fast and interesting read.
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,065 reviews1,475 followers
December 15, 2017
How could you not want to read a book whose synopsis begins: "Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time traveler from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in ancient Rome". I was immediately sold! The story-line develops from here to include red pandas, rainbow-hair, parties in Vegas, trips to the Titanic, and pirating some of history's lost artefacts from aboard a time-travelling spaceship.

The actual narrative was instantaneously compelling. There are little foundations to the plot laid, for the reader to gain their bearings in this futuristic world, before we are whisked to times past and back again. I found this intense plot pacing worked well within the confines of this story, and added an intense edge to all of the proceedings.

What really compelled me to read this almost 500 page book in just two sittings, however, were the family dynamics that were focused on. I always find myself drawn in by intense friendships that form in books, rather than by budding romantic relationships. The intrepid crew that man the Invictus space ship were motley and varied, but their opposite natures worked well together, both inside the metal confines of the ship and to form a enthralling cast of characters I cared equally for. This is an extremely action-centred narrative, but the individuals were also given their own space to grow, in both character and the reader's heart.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Ryan Graudin, and the publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, for this opportunity.
Profile Image for Nina.
306 reviews410 followers
November 25, 2017
I've only read one other book by Ryan Graudin so far, and I experienced similar issues with Invictus as I did with The Walled City. I haven't yet read Wolf by Wolf, which is supposed to be amazing, but so far, Ryan Graudin has not made into onto my auto-buy list. I was cautious going into this, as time travel is difficult to impress me with. There's always a flaw in the logic but this was not what fell flat for me in this book.

Invictus is based on an interesting concept and Graudin knows how to infuse her stories with scraps of knowledge, like ancient treasures long forgotten and slivers of foreign languages. Her characters, albeit not generic, have little life to them, and this makes it very hard to connect with the story on an emotional level. It is this, far more than the sci-fi element I had difficulty wrapping my head around, that makes Invictus forgettable for me.

"Did you know there's a German curse that literally translates as 'heaven thunder weather'? Himmeldonnerwetter?"
"Germans have the best words."

Invictus plays with an intriguing concept: Time travelling, and more specifically, a boy born mid-time jump and therefore between two times and in no time at all. You can tell that Graudin put a lot of thought into her world and her characters. Sadly, the former performed better than the latter. Though confusing at first, Graudin's futuristic sci-fi setting is navigable – one of the important things to get a reader grounded in a story. I experience more difficulty getting into sci-fi than fantasy, and I don't think it's because sci-fi often involved numbers (and I'm not very good with those). She also made use of the multiverse theory to give her story as certain edge but I'm not sure it worked as well as it did in Gemina (Illuminae Files #2). I feel like Graudin could have set the scene more. What some books have in abundance, Invictus was missing: Vivid descriptions of the setting. Though descriptions were existent, they were hasty, as though the person writing them had been keen on moving on to other things. Graudin focused more on introspection, dialogue, and atmosphere, but not specifically on painting a scene ripe for the inner eye to conjure based on the words. Having her characters dabble in antiques black market trading gave the story an interesting touch, and it allowed for Graudin to dig up random facts, historical artefacts, and forgotten treasures, which you can tell is a passion of hers.

The plot kept a steady upward pacing, satisfactory for Invictus, and it was interesting enough to read, but not so much to remember. Invictus has the classic quality of any sci-fi: World threatened, crew of misfits bound to save it. This time around, the threat to the world is time itself – or rather, its vanishing. Obviously, this raised the stakes, but I also have to say that it wasn't necessarily anything new to the genre. Though Invictus does entail romance, it is a mere spectator at the sidelines. At first, I thought there was going to be a love triangle, but despair not, my friends, for it was a false alarm. Though I think romance should never overpower the plot, I do enjoy a good romance in fantasy or science fiction. But as with The Walled City, Graudin's romance(s) was void of chemistry. This might also be why I felt like the characters lacked life. If I cannot get a feeling of a character when they're in love, how and when would I otherwise? The cast of characters was diverse and these protagonists had so much potential, and yet I felt it… somewhat wasted. Usually, the characters are what get me invested in a story – their joy and their pain and what's at stake for them to lose. Alas, these characters did not make me feel a whole lot. The individual storylines as well as the romantic relationships didn't capture me, and I think this might've been the biggest flaw of the book for me. I liked the characters but there was not enough intensity, emotion, that spark of life I love in fictional people.

With its combination of time travel, antiques black market trading, and multiverse world-building, Invictus should have been mind-blowing. It does offer an entertaining story but, unfortunately, I wasn't invested. Still, I cannot say Invictus was a bad book, not at all. It is a solid piece of YA sci-fi literature – and a standalone, at that – but simply forgettable.

**I received an ARC of this from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts are my own. Quotations may be subject to change in the final copy.**


I'm not a particular fan of time-travelling books. In every concept, be it sci-fi or fantasy, there is always some flaw in the logic. However, Graudin's work has intrigued me in the past, so we'll see how she fares with time-travel and whether it manages to be convincing.

**I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Juli.
1,899 reviews490 followers
September 19, 2017
In the far future, time travelers jump back and forth in time to make historic records of important events in history. But some travelers don't have good intentions. They skirt the law and go back in time to steal historic artifacts that disappeared or were otherwise lost, bringing them back to sell to collectors. Farway McCarthy is a perfect time traveler. He was technically born outside of time....his mother was a Recorder (a time traveler who creates records of historic events for posterity) from the year 2354 and his father was a Roman Gladiator from 95 AD. After failing his final exam to be a recorder, Farway finds himself on a black market ship, stealing historic items from the past. But during a visit to the Titanic as its sinking, the crew meets an unusual girl who will change their lives and show them the truth about time travel and history itself.

This book was amazing! I love time travel stories (total Dr Who junkie), so I was very hopeful that this story would be well-written and enjoyable. I fell in love with all the characters almost immediately, and I got sucked right into the story from the start. The thought of being able to go back and visit the past and rescue historic items lost to time was intriguing, and I liked the idea of nefarious characters who deal in black market stolen history. The characters grow and develop over the course of the story. I was really wondering what the girl who magically appears on the Titanic was up to.....the suspense kept me totally engrossed in the story!

This was a great sci-fi romp through history. I enjoyed every page!

Ryan Graudin is the author of several books. To find out more about the author, check out her webpage: http://www.ryangraudin.com/

**I voluntary read an advanced readers copy of this book via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
Profile Image for Maria.
588 reviews131 followers
January 15, 2018
hope that this feels as good as it sounds 👀🤞🏼
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