Invictus by Ryan Graudin
Invictus was so much fun! I loved it! It’s pretty much the Guardians of the Galaxy as time traveling thieves. I laughed and swooned and clutched my heart as much as I do during a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. It’s easy to picture Chris Pratt as Far - BONUS!!! Priya plays the Gamora role (except sweet), Gram is Groot (but human), Imogen is Mantis, and Saffron the Red Panda is Rocket Raccoon. Omg, so much fun. I might be the only one who gets this carried away with the comparison (and surely the author didn’t intend it) but it makes me happy, so yeah. The camaraderie among this crew is so fantastic, it’s the best literary crew since Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Jason, Leo, Reyna, Frank, Piper, you get the idea. It’s a great buddy book. Moving on . . .
When Farway fails his final exam (which would have made him an official time traveler), a black market mogul makes him an offer he can’t refuse. This guy will give Far a ship, he can choose his crew and name his vessel (the Invictus), his crew will make a cut of the booty AND have the ability to take as many vacations in the time periods of their dreams as they want. The risk? Well, they’re traveling to different pasts to collect valuable objects. These are often objects that were destroyed shortly after (VERY shortly after) the time they’re travelling to. For instance, the crew’s first mission is on the Titanic where they are sent to retrieve a priceless book mere minutes before the ship hits the iceberg. So, yeah, THAT kind of danger. When an unknown time traveler shows up on the Titanic and gets the book before Far, a whole new kind of danger begins. It’s a danger that leads Far to allow the mysterious girl named Eliot to join their crew. Hilarity, danger, romance, suspense, and epic time-traveling adventures ensue.
The best thing about this book (aside from the relationship among these lovable characters and the story line and the destinations and, okay, everything) is that it’s a sci fi standalone. To create these characters and this world in a way that the story is fully realized in just one book is an impressive feat. This won’t be a five-star book for everyone but I do think many will enjoy it. I already want to read it again.