Review: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

InvictusInvictus by Ryan Graudin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perfect for fans of TV shows like Firefly, I absolutely loved this story about five teens travelling through time stealing artifacts.

There’s something instantly engaging about Graudin’s writing and as someone who isn’t generally a fan of historical fiction I absolutely loved the mix of history and science fiction. There’s plenty of action, a few unexpected twists, a teeny tiny bit of romance and a fantastic cast of characters.

The only bad thing about this book is that it’s a standalone and not the first in a series.

The 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.


Have you ever started reading a book and known from the very first page you were going to love it? That was exactly what happened to me with Invictus.

I’m a big fan of time travel stories so this was always going to be right up my street but there was something instantly likeable about Graudin’s writing style and I loved the cast of characters she created. When it comes to TV I’m a big fan of sci-fi shows like Star Trek, Doctor Who and Firefly and this definitely has that kind of vibe about it. It really reminded me of Firefly in particular with the crew of the Invictus travelling through time stealing artefacts and trying to avoid the authorities.

I loved each and every member of the crew but most of all I loved the camaraderie between them. There’s a good mix of personalities represented from Farway, the self assured, risk taking captain who can adapt to pretty much any situation to Gram, his quiet and genius best friend and engineer, to Eliot who always seems to be a step ahead and full of secrets. My favorite character however had to be Imogen, Far’s cousin and the historian on the crew. She’s just so bright, positive and devoted to her fur baby, Saffron the red panda. They definitely bring the joy and fun to the story. Medic Priya was probably the hardest to warm up to but I think that was simply the nature of her character, calm and a little detached.

The story is told from the POV of each of the crew members as well as brief chapters from a couple of other characters so you definitely get to know them all well. Personally I loved Imogen and Gram’s chapters the most but I would happily hang out with all of them and just really want to join the crew.

The story itself is fast paced and takes a few unexpected turns. I was drawn in from the very beginning and found it almost impossible to put down. I do love stories with time travel but I get the feeling most writers avoid them because of the sheer volume of work involved. There are multiple time periods historical and future as well as the scientific theories and rules to get right. Honestly I’m exhausted just thinking about it but the author handles it brilliantly.

Everything hangs together beautifully. Every time period visited is created with care and feels real. The sci-fi elements are handled especially well. A lot of thought and research has clearly gone into the science and theories behind time travel (As well as the other tech). It all makes sense and even complex theories are made understandable to non science readers like myself.

I thought the author picked the perfect time periods to visit too. I loved that a big chunk of the book is set in Rome, ancient and future. It’s just such a dramatic and epic time period and the fact that you get to experience the gladiators fighting in the arena is incredible. There’s just so much emotion about the whole thing and it literally had me on the edge of my seat.

Despite being very fast paced and action packed the author has done an incredible job of packing in plenty of emotion. I found myself very attached to the crew of the Invictus and was rooting for them all the way. There’s a little bit of romance but it doesn’t take over the story and is very sweet and believable (I totally shipped it). There is also a lot of humor and some truly heart breaking moments (I cried, on the train).

Basically I loved it from the very start to the very last page. Definitely one I’d recommend particularly if like me you’re a big fan of time travel and aren’t scared of a little bit of scientific theory.

 firefly malcom reynolds GIF

OK I couldn’t resist a Firefly Gif 🙂

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all thoughts are my own.

7 thoughts on “Review: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

  1. oh gosh, if you hadn’t sold me at your first line, you’d have sold me at Firefly/Doctor Who or Saffron the red panda!! This sounds like it’s right up my street!! And camraderie between crews make these kinds of books!! I’m seriously excited about this!! Awesome review!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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