Thursday, November 30, 2017

ARC Review: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Title: Invictus
Written by: Ryan Graudin
Published: September 30, 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

(Amazon / Goodreads)

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 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.

I was so excited to read this book the moment I learned about it. Not only did I really like Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf series plus it’s a book about time traveling pirates. And despite a really slow start I ended up loving this book.

One of my favorite thing about this book was the characters. If the three books I have read are any indication, Ryan definitely knows how to build an interesting cast of characters. First off, this is a book with a diverse cast who had a lot too them. It’s a book with multiple perspectives and it worked so well because every character was so likable and interesting. The main character her is Farway and while he fit the lovable rogue trope that I typically find amazing, he was far from the most interesting character here. That fell to Eliot who was a mystery that I waked to unravel. The other really fantastic was Imogen who was fun and quirky plus super sweet and smart. But every character had a lot to them.

But the best part about the characters was the relationships. Like a lot of books like this, this was mostly about family and found families. When you have any kind of team that is a natural thing. But it definitely worked her. The characters, and the book, was at it’s best when everyone was working together to achieve something. Plus the real heart of the book was how they interacted and engaged. I was kind of surprised by how much the plot revolves around that family aspect, but what surprised me the most was how that was when the book started to get good. And of course I have to mention the romances. My cold romancephobic heart even melted a little bit by the end when it came to those relationship. They were sweet and subtle, which frankly is how I like my love. But it’s just one more example of how Ryan handles relationships so well.

In addition to all of that, this book also had a fantastic plot. There was a lot going on here. I mean it’s a book about time traveling pirates, so already you have a good idea about what is going to happen. It was completely action-packed and full of daring heists, narrow escapes, and tons of adventure. More then once I was on the edge of my seat wondering how our heroes were going to get out of one scrape or another. And while it definitely built to a thrilling conclusion there was definitely a slow start here. It took about half of the book to really hook me. I think maybe because there was just a lot going on here and we had to wait for all the cards to be laid out before it really got interesting. And when it did get good, but was it good.

Finally, I want to talk about the world building of this book. I read plenty of genre fiction including my fair share of time travel stories. One thing that I found interesting was that while this was a book that made a point of focusing on the details of the historical era, it didn’t bog the reader down in details. If you are not a huge fan of time travel I think you will still like this one. It’s got science fiction elements but it didn’t overwhelm the reader with talk about science or paradoxes even though they were definitely a part of the plot and world of the book. It just all worked together to develop an interesting setting(s) for a larger story which I appreciated.

All in all, I think Invictus was a fantastic read. Whether you are a big fan of science fiction and time travel or not I think you will enjoy this book with great characters and a thrilling plot.

I give Invictus by Ryan Graudin 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. I would definitely recommend this book. It's pitched as Doctor Who meets Firefly which I can totally see. If you like science fiction or just want to try it for the first time I think you will enjoy this book.

Have you read Invictus? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

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