Invictus by Ryan Graudin | Review

Thank you to Hachette Children’s Books for kindly sending me a copy to review. All thoughts are my own, however. 

TRIGGER WARNINGS: anxiety and, possibly, OCD.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Release Date: September 26th, 2017

Pages: 464

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

Goodreads Review: here

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

5 thoughts on “Invictus by Ryan Graudin | Review

  1. Thank you💋💋💋💋💋well was going to do same and break with tradition ( no scifi) and give this one a go i like the cover😬 But after reading your review ( which so far all the books i have read you have had same feeling so i know we on same thinking page) i am not going to get it will buy something else as there quite afew books out around same time and would rather have a book i going to keep because i love!!! What a shame!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ahaha, I hope you enjoy whatever else you chose to read around the time it’s released! It’s definitely a good book BUT it’s not a book you need to read on release I think 😊❤️


  2. This makes me a little sad because I absolutely adored this book! Though I totally understand and can definitely see what you’re talking about. I was a little shocked by Farway and Pryia’s relationship as well but I ended up liking them once I got use to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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