Invictus – Ryan Graudin – Little, Brown Books for Young Books – Published 26 September 2017
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.
Space Pirates!!! Time travelling, priceless artefacts, gelato, and a mad rush through history to save the future. What more could you want?
Faraway Gaius McCarthy has no birthday. He was born on a time-travelling machine, midway between Rome 95 AD and Central time, 2354 AD. His future has always been to become a time-traveller. But when his last exam is hacked and he is thrown out of the academy, Far knows his future has changed. Dramatically. Given one last chance, Far is presented with a secret time ship and asked to captain a crew. He and his friends will secret themselves through history, collecting priceless treasures for rich collectors. But history is unravelling and Far and his friends get caught up in a quest to save the future.
One of my book club members insisted that I read Invictus. He absolutely loved it. I found the first half a little slow, but as the mystery unfolds and the plot thickens Invictus becomes a fun adventure, made even more so as I tried to guess how it might end. Twists and turns made coming up with wild theories lots of fun.
There are colourful characters aplenty in Invictus. Faraway and his merry crew: Imogen, Far’s cousin, with her endlessly changing hair colours and pet Red Panda; mathematical genius Gram; Priya with her go-to comfort spiced tea; and then of course the mysterious Eliot.
Invictus is a wild adventure that beautifully mixes history with science-fiction. I loved that there were two romances involved in the story, but that they don’t take much of the focus of the story, just add to the fun. I loved the ending – it made the whole book worth reading. And I loved that while I came close to guessing the answers to the mysteries and secrets, I could not figure it out.
I know that Invictus will continue to be handed around our middle-school book club and excitedly talked about by our sci-fi loving readers. It is the perfect mix of science-fiction, history, and good old adventure.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Genre: Science-fiction- Time travel.
Themes: Time travel, romance, friendship, history, family.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Vaguely implied sexual references and sexual relationships. Coarse language, including a variety of curse stand-ins, e.g. hashing, fex. Violence, including gladiator fighting and references to the deaths of people aboard the Titanic.
Published: 26 September 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 464 pages.