Book Review: Invictus – Ryan Graudin

Published September 26, 2017
Format: Novel
Genre And Theme: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Alternate Universe
Length: 464 pages, ebook
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Ebook SBN13: 9780316503136
Characters: Farway Gaius McCarthy

Blurb: 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.

The first book I’ve read from Ryan Graudin was Wolf by Wolf which thoroughly impressed me. The author created an alternate reality post World War 2 in which the Axis Power won the bloodiest war in human history. With that premise, I didn’t think she’d be able to top it. But lo and behold – another time-related world has been created by her genius and it’s nothing short of amazing!

I loved time-travel stories and I am an avid fan of history so this is definitely a double-win for me!

As for  its characters, I thought it would’ve been tricky for the author because of the multiple point of views of most, if not all of the characters in the book. Usually, I tend to veer away from such style but Ryan just know how to do it right. I love the core team comprising the Invictus. They are all likable except for one. There’s Far’s cousin Imogen whose penchant for hair color is the focal point of her character aside from being the Historian of the team. Gram is the genius engineer.  Priya is the medic and Far’s love interest.  And their newest member, Eliot – the mysterious girl who annoyed me to pieces. Her character just didn’t clicked with me no matter how the author tried to justify her existence.

One of the focal points of the story is its time travel aspect throughout history. There wasn’t much really. Most of their adventures were off-page but I loved how Graudin tried to insert minute details in them . I wished that some of them were longer but I appreciate the fact that the author didn’t indulge too much because methinks it might drag the story somehow.

The ending was a bit anticlimactic but satisfying nonetheless. I felt some sort of relief when I finished it but really, I wanted a longer epilogue. Or maybe, I just want more from this universe because it’s just so fascinating. I cannot recommend this highly enough and I think at this point, overall –  it’s got to be the best book I’ve read this year.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

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

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