Hey all, Dani here.
Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey…stuff. Okay, now, with that “Doctor Who” reference out of the way, I can get started on this review. This is one of the books I picked up while at BookExpo this year, and I was lucky enough to get it signed by author Ryan Graudin. So I was really happy to get this book early, though I made myself hold off until closer to release day to read it.
Anyway, I had purchased Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin about a year ago because I had heard a lot of great reviews for it…but as happens a lot sometimes with us book readers, I put it up on the shelf and have not picked it back up since. So, really, reading this ARC was my introduction to Ryan Graudin’s writing.
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.
Rating: 4 stars
This was an interesting premise, and I really did enjoy reading it. The setup was interesting, with the gladiators and the historical setting. And of course Far’s birth on a time machine. It makes him a unique individual as he technically does not have a birth date; at the time of his birth the ship was traveling from Rome 95 AD to 2354 AD. However it also complicates Far’s life as well, especially when dealing with med robots and the like who want you to give a birth date to confirm identity.
Anyway, Far is presented as a fairly cocky young man. He almost seems to brag about his high scores in his lessons and the simulations they go through to prove that they are ready to graduate and become a Recorder. This arrogance leads him to toe the line…or rather cross it…of what is safe for someone who is basically supposed to be a silent observer. His final exam is a disaster and Far is failed and expelled from the school. But Far knows that it wasn’t his fault, that in fact the sim was hacked.
So begins a time traveling “pirate” adventure with Far and a few friends, who are hired for a black market operation. Far has managed to negotiate a nice profit and benefits to the job, and everything seems pretty good…until the Titanic mission goes wrong and the crew are joined by Eliot, who indeed is quite mysterious.
I’m not really going to say much more than that, because as much as possible I try to avoid talking about spoilers. Now, I will say that I read this book fairly quickly but it also felt quite slow to me. That happens sometimes with time travel stories. But I was interested in what was going to happen, and when the crew would be traveling to next. I wanted to know what was going to happen next.
I was really enjoying myself and then I realized that the story was wrapping up and nearing its conclusion. The sad part about that is that Invictus is a stand-alone novel. This is what happens when reading a good book: it ends and we somehow always want more. I suppose this means I should just go to my bookshelves and pull down one of Graudin’s other books. Or just start reading the next book on my TBR pile.