I was lucky enough to receive an advanced Netgalley copy of Invictus by Ryan Graudin – thanks so much to Hachette for giving me a copy. I ADORED Graudin’s earlier series Wolf by Wolf so I was very excited to read Invictus.Invictus is described as young adult time-travel adventure with a dash of Doctor Who (guys, you already had me at “Ryan Graudin,” no need for overkill) and Firefly. So without further ado, here’s my review.
What I liked
From my enjoyment of her previous books, character development is one of Graudin’s strengths as a writer and this is borne out by those we meet in Invictus. I really enjoyed them all and was very much invested in their journeys, romances and challenges. Each person was nicely developed with his or her quirks, wishes and weaknesses. The interrelationships between them all were very well done and I really enjoyed seeing how they developed. Certain characters start out as quasi antagonists, but by the end, I came to care for them as much as for our heroes.
Without saying too much – spoilers!- I did like where Graudin went with the storyline. There are some really nicely done twists. Enjoy.
What I didn’t like
Don’t get me wrong; I loved what we got in terms of worldbuilding. The world and story did fit together well. However, I would have liked a lot more. There was so much we didn’t know about the world Graudin has created and the book was the poorer for it. For example, time travel; awesome! But what are the rules in this world? What are the consequences of breaking those rules? What are the limitations? As I’ve said often before, you can learn as much about a system by what you can’t do as what you can do. To return to that old chestnut, can you go back and kill Hitler in Far’s world? These are all questions I had which weren’t answered in the book. I think I see where Graudin was going, but I would have liked a fuller explanation.
In a similar vein, I would have loved to have seen some of Far’s and his friends’ adventures prior to the attempted heist that started this particular story. I would have enjoyed seeing his crew handle a couple of successful missions. It would also have added to the character development.
I would have liked to have seen this as a duology, with expanded worldbuilding and more shenanigans developed. There is a natural breaking point halfway through the book which would have been an excellent point to make the reader wait to build excitement for the second part.
All in all, I really enjoyed Invictus and gave it four stars out of five.