Book Review → Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Thursday, October 5, 2017


Young Adult Fiction // Categories: Adventure, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group)
Format: ARC • 452 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Links: Purchase from The Book Depository or AmazonAdd to Goodreads
Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time traveler from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in ancient Rome, Far's very existence defies the laws of nature. All he's ever wanted was to explore history for himself, but after failing his entrance exam into the government program, Far will have to settle for a position on the black market captaining a time-traveling crew to steal valuables from the past.

During a routine heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl named Eliot who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Eliot has secrets—big ones—that will affect Far's life from beginning to end. Armed with the knowledge that history is not as steady as it seems, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to set things right before the clock runs out.
Buzz words: time travel + black market + crew + Titanic!

Wolf by Wolf was one of my favorite reads of 2015. After being immersed in a world where Graudin so effortlessly combines history and sci-fi to create this atmospheric + incredibly unique story, I want more! (But let's not talk about the fact that I haven't read the sequel yet ... 🙈)

I LOVE THAT INVICTUS IS A STAND-ALONE! So many adventure-packed stories are broken down into trilogies or full series, but you can read this one and be satisfied with the ending. No cliffhangers, no waiting for the sequel—the plot is complete in one book. With that said, I can still see a companion of some sorts happening ... and I wouldn't be mad/surprised if one was written, but it stands solid on its own.

WHAT A CAST OF CHARACTERS. Their distinct personalities made this reading experience so much fun! Farway's cousin, Imogen, was undoubtedly my favorite. Her quirkiness and bubbly outlook on all things made her the glue for this crew. I found she was a good balance for Farway, who is stubborn and a little prideful. In Invictus, you'll also meet Gram (incredibly shy and nerdy but so cute), Priya (cool girl vibes), and Eliot. They were such a flawed team, but I like that they worked together in an unconventional way.

The synopsis is a bit misleading. Which, after reading Invictus, makes sense. There are a lot of things that can't be said because it'd ruin the plot, so to give just a brief introduction for new readers is difficult. Like I mentioned earlier, Titanic was one of the words in the synopsis that caught my attention. And I thought we would spend more time with that, but it's actually not a big part of the story. But it IS important, so I get why it was included. Anyway, I say all that because there is more to Invictus than stealing valuables. It's a mind-warping chase through time and space to save the future's past.

"[The past] was ... the weight all mankind was born to bear.
The roots we did not choose, but chose us." (2)

Another Graudin book worth reading, Invictus has it all: a thrilling story about space + time travel, a fun cast of characters, AND it's a standalone so no cliffhangers!

  • Would I re-read this? // YES!!!
  • Can I read this in one sitting? // I'm not able to with books over 300 pages, but I think it's possible. If you read an average of 60 pages per hour, you can finish this in 7.5 hours.
  • Are there any diverse characters? // YES. Although diverse characters aren't spoilers by any means, I don't want to list them here because I was EXCITED every time we were introduced to one. SO LOOK FORWARD TO THESE GEMS 😄

Other books by Ryan Graudin: All That Glows, The Walled City, Wolf by Wolf

Thank you to the kind people over at The NOVL for allowing me to read and review an early copy!


What are your favorite stand-alone adventure books?


  1. I LOVED The Walled City by Ryan Graudin and I always meant to read Wolf By Wolf, but for some reason I just never got around to it... (Reading slump). I must read Invictus, it sounds so good and I love the cover! Great review :)

  2. I can't believe I haven't read any of Ryan Graudin's books! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one so much. Those buzz words and your review have me itching to pick it up!