ARC Review: Invictus


Title: Invictus

Author: Ryan Graudin

Series: N/A

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

Release Date: September 21st 2017


Five Stars

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-travelling 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-travelling 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.

In this heart-stopping adventure, Ryan Graudin has created a fast-paced world that defies time and space.

– Blurb courtesy of

I received an ARC of this book free from BKMRK. It in no way affects my views on Invictus.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“Old paper, real ink, second chances, a night-cloaked meeting in Old Rome…It reeked of danger and black market schemes, calling to Far in a way he could not ignore: DON’T WASTE THIS.”

Far has always wanted to explore history. Growing up hearing his mother’s tales as a Recorder means he wants to follow in her footsteps and be able to explore the past, however when he fails his final exam and is kicked out of the Corps it looks like his dream is over before it ever begun. Until he gets a second chance. Lux has been watching Far’s process in the Corps and when he’s kicked out he makes Far an offer he really can’t refuse.

Together with his cousin, friend, and girlfriend Far travels though time stealing priceless artefacts from history before they’re lost to time so Lux can sell them on the black market. They’ve never failed before, until Far is sent after the Rubaiyat aboard the Titanic, to retrieve the book before the ship sinks on April 12th. The Invictus is supposed to land at 6pm, giving Far plenty of time to search the cargo before the collision with the iceberg. Until the numbers go wrong and Far is left with little over an hour to find the book and get back to the Invictus before the Titanic sinks.

‘1945: Rescued Gustuv Klimt painting from exploding Nazi castle.’
‘1836: Brushed elbows with Davy Crockett. Dug up gold at the Almo. Heavy as a three-humped camel.’
‘1511: Evaded the Swiss Guard to retrieve Michelangelo’s paintbrush from the Sistine Chapel scaffolding.’
There were thirty such descriptions, each a testament to some treasure and the trouble they’d gone through to get it.

Far has already been beaten to the Rubaiyat though. Eliot has her own reasons for being aboard the Titanic that evening. She bargains her way aboard the Invictus using the Rubaiyat as ransom. Far, Imogen, Gram and Priya try to work out who the mysterious newcomer is, however the more they discover about Eliot the more they realise the past isn’t as safe as they thought it was.

I love time travel books and I loved Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf duology, so when I heard about Invictus it went to the top of my to-read list. I was thrilled to get an ARC at YALC and luckily Invictus was every bit as amazing as I’d hoped it would be. Ryan Graudin has written a fast paced story as Far, Eliot and the rest of the Invictus crew try to stop history from fading before their very eyes. It’s a dangerous journey with very real consequences that had me on the edge of my seat, fearful for these characters I know so much and so little about.

…The Characters

“You fear nothing that’s inconsequent. You aren’t overly stiff, nor are you reckless. Your judgement calls are bold but clean. Risk done right. The potential, the talent, the fearlessness, the drive…all of my requirements are there.”

Farway’s dream is to travel through history like his mother did. He grew up listening to her stories and despite seeing what time travel did to her, aging her weeks or months in the space of minutes for him, all he’s ever wanted is to be like her. Far is confident, some might say cocky, and seeks adventure. However despite his confidence he still has doubts, despite his brashness he sticks to the important rules that come with time travel even while breaking the small ones. After his mother went missing, lost somewhere in history, Far is still searching for her, still searching for answers.

“I want—”Here she paused, struck by the word’s danger. The taste of it on her tongue – What? What do you want, Eliot? Can you even recall? – made her swallow. “A fresh start.”

Eliot is an enigma. She jumps into Far’s life, bring with her chaos and confusion, but never fully reveals anything about herself, what she was doing on the Titanic, or why it’s so important for her to be a member of the Invictus’ crew. There is something Eliot is trying to achieve, something to do with Far, and there are people monitoring her every move. Eliot is tired, weary, but there is still something that keeps her going despite that. She is reckless at times, though the mission she is on is important and her abilities get her a place on Far’s crew, she can be a loose cannon.

The rest of the crew aboard the Invictus are Imogen – Far’s cousin with bright hair and an even brighter personality – Gram – Far’s friend and the Invictus’ navigator with a head for numbers – and Priya – Far’s girlfriend and the medic who’s gotten all too used to patching up Far after his adventures go wrong.

“She’d already gathered quite a lot about how this particular engine of teenagers ran. The Engineer, he was the steady click, click of gears. The dark-haired girl in the doorway was something of a radiator, monitoring temperatures, keeping things cool. The Historian—colourful like motor oil, running everything through the chaos.”

The people aboard the Invictus are a family, they have each other’s backs and share each other’s worries and concerns. When Eliot takes the Rubaiyat it’s not just Far’s head on the line with Lux but all of theirs, and as Far is suspicious of Eliot’s motivations so are the others. They make a good team, working well after plenty of successful missions into the past, and even after Eliot’s reveals knock them all off their game they still work together to try and come up with another solution.

…The Setting

“The building’s might be crumbling, but they were also memorising, covered in wistful vines, their stucco as coloured and cracked as Easter eggs. When you walked the streets cobbled with fountains and gelaterias, grooved with the tracks of automobiles and horse-drawn carts, it was almost like stepping back in time.

Ryan Graudin has created an incredible world in Invictus. The story travels all over the world and all throughout history; from the Titanic in 1912 just before it sinks, to Las Vegas in 2020, to the Great Library of Alexandria just before it burns, although the bulk of the action takes place in Rome. Invictus switches between Far’s real time, 2371, and the distant past, 95AD. Even in 2371 the history of the great city of Rome is still standing, and with time travel being a possibility history plays a large part in people’s lives, with the rich and privileged spending money to buy a small part of it. The rules for time travel in Invictus are complicated, there are plenty of restrictions Far feels no shame in breaking although he knows there are some that should never be broken for fear of changing his present.

Invictus is an incredible time travel book. Although it was a little confusing at times, especially when we discovered the truth behind Eliot’s reasons for wanting to be on Far’s crew, Ryan Graudin had developed the story enough that I didn’t feel lost. Invictus was a story that had me hooked, broke my heart several times, and left me wanting more from Far and his world.

What did you think of Invictus? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.

24 thoughts on “ARC Review: Invictus

  1. The time travelling in this book sounds absolutely amazing! I didn’t realize who the author was until you mentioned it and referred to her Wolf by Wolf! This does sound really awesome though. Will keep an eye for this book; I should honestly pick up Wolf by Wolf already hahah Great review, Beth. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Dani. 🙂 ❤ Wolf by Wolf was incredible, it's one of my favourite duologies actually, so I had high expectations for Invictus.
      Oh see I automatically love all time travel books, so I may be a little biased here but I'd definitely recommend it. Hopefully it'll be one you love if you get around to it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really want to read this book! It sound very exiting, plus I’m always up for a good time traveling adventure! 😀 I have read and love Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin, so I’m sure that I will enjoy this book as well. I really can’t wait for it to come out! Great review Beth! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Invictus is an incredible read Anna, and if you’re always up for a good time travel adventure definitely pick this one up because it ticks all the boxes. I’m a massive fan of Wolf by Wolf as well, so I had high expectations for Invictus but they were more than met.
      Thanks so much! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been hearing so much about Gaudin, yet I feel like I need to read her duology first before I can get to this one. It sounds absolutely awesome! I love time travel and history so, I mean, it ought to be good. And knowing the author called this “Doctor Who meets Guardians of the Galaxy” (though I’ve seen it as “meet Firefly” somewhere too) just makes me super excited for it!!
    Wonderful review, Beth, and I’m glad you enjoyed it so much 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ryan Graudin is an amazing author, her duology was incredible and so was Invictus but in a very different way. Honestly Doctor Who meets Guardians of the Galaxy meets Firefly is an apt description, and if you love time travel and history this book is a must.
      Thanks so much Sophie. I hope you really enjoy this book as well! 🙂 ❤️


  4. AGHHHH I AM SO PUMPED FOR THIS BOOK! So glad you liked it, I loved Wold by wolf (still need to read blood for blood) but everything about this book just calls to me XD
    Awesome review Beth I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I thought Invictus was incredible, and I hope you’ll really love it as well Casey. 🙂
      Wolf by Wolf is one of my favourite duologies for sure, and Blood for Blood was an amazing ending I’m sure you’ll agree when you read it. 🙂
      Thanks so much. There’s not too long to go now, and the wait will definitely be worth it. 🙂 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Invictus is definitely a Young Adult book but it’s still something you can read and really enjoy even if you’re not a teenager. I’m in my late twenties now and I loved this book, so if it sounds interesting to you I’d say give it a go. 🙂


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