Review: Invictus by Ryan Gaudin

Review: Invictus by Ryan GaudinInvictus by Ryan Graudin
on Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 458 pages
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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.


There were lots of mixed feelings involved about Invictus. It’s weird because prior to this book I had intentions of reading Ryan Gaudin’s Wolf by Wolf series because the summary of that sounded exciting. Although I had to pick up Invictus first because everyone kept mentioning there were Doctor Who references in it and as some of you might know I absolutely adore Doctor Who…save for the last couple of seasons, but that’s another story for another day.

It’s hard to write a review when you have mixed feelings about a book (although I do say this in every other review that I’ve written on this blog). The good things that kept me reading Invictus was the subtle humor, the need to know how Empra met Gaius and her falling for him, and also if Far was able to find his mother. That prologue totally hooked me into reading the book. I wanted to know more about Empra and Gaius’s romance because the romantic in me wanted to know, so imagine my disappointment when the rest of the story was involved with Far and his crew and not telling how Empra fell for Gaius. But the thing is it the story does eventually go back to Gaius’s last days and we see the conclusion of their romance. As for the other bits of the romance in the book I’m not sure if that was necessary because there were times it felt like the romance felt forced. Like can’t they all just be good friends who travel good time and space and do illegal expeditions together?

The reason why I almost DNF this book was the many POVs. It was unexpected but because of the many POVs sometimes I found myself quite lost of where the plot was going at times because it made the story drag out too long. It was already messy enough with the time travel bits in the novel but I really wish we only got one or two person’s POV instead of many. Speaking of time traveling I liked how invictus that time traveling was pretty straight forward and similar to Doctor Who. People in a ship, press some buttons to a date, and bam off they go. I get that other time traveling books try to be unique with their time traveling mechanisms, but it’s so easy to get lost in the technicality of the jargon.

Don’t get me wrong I loved the Invictus crew members and I also enjoyed seeing how Far’s mother, Empra, and Gaius’ love story unfolding despite the tragedy. I would love to know more of their back story of how they met and fall in love considering that Gaius was a gladiator. Far and Priya made a cute couple and their ending was bittersweet. They all had some sort of quirk that made them easily identifiable like Imogen’s colorful hair, for example. When Elliot comes into the picture that’s when things start to get a little wibbly wobbly because you know there’s a reason for why she’s there, but unsure how she fits into picture until the secret is revealed.

Would I recommend Invictus? If you’re a Doctor Who fan, yes. If you like time traveling and weird mysteries, yes. If you don’t want to be lost in time and space, while trying to figure out the plot, then no. However, you can’t deny that the cover is gorgeous.


Author: Jackie

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