Godsgrave

godsgrave

Godsgrave (Nevernight Chronicle #2)

By Jay Kristoff

Genre: Fantasy/New Adult

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Bang Bang Review bang

Overview

Mia Corvere remains on her revenge mission to avenge the murders of her parents and brother but in the meantime she’s taking on small missions. (It’s difficult to say stuff because of spoilers so bear with me, folks).  After a particularly bloody yet sexy kill, Mia barely escapes as she is confronted by a strange shadow man who tells her to seek the crown of the moon.

She’s then summoned by the Red Church for a new mission to find a mysterious map where she runs into her nemesis and betrayer of the Red Church, Ashlinn. After learning more important info than some dumb old map, Mia pretends to be looking for the map while she plans to be sold to a fighting house to become a gladiatii.  Mia is sold to the wrong house so she has to work twice as hard to be able to compete in the final fight to get close enough to assassinate Scaeva and Duomo.  While she slaves at house of Leona, she meets a new set of men and women who challenge her career choice.

Mia makes new friends and finds old ones, she learns more about her parents, she discovers more things about her Darkin abilities, and she may or may not find love.

Although Godsgrave is DENSE AS HELL, it’s not as dense as book one since we know the world and Mia’s back story.  Mia grows steadily throughout the novel and her new acquaintances force her to look at the choices she’s made.  Godsgrave is intense and dark and this world makes Ketterdam (Six of Crows) look like Disneyland.  There’s a lot of dynamic and strong characters especially the women.  The last 80 pages will leave you shouting your head off and it’s never info dumped or out of left field.  Some people don’t like the footnotes but I actually like them. It’s just more background info on the world and you can skip them because they’re not essential to the plot but I recommend you read some because Kristoff’s humor shines through.

I did however need several questions answered that ultimately didn’t get answered and I was prepared to give Godsgrave a 4.5 but Kristoff is very self aware and the last page made me forgive him so I gave Godsgrave a big old 5 stars.

If you like YA fantasy but want more sex and blood and language, read Nevernight and then quickly follow it with Godsgrave and then wait a year for the final book.

Click here for the spoilers.

Godsgrave Spoilers

Quick overview of Godsgrave:

Mia Corvere remains on her revenge mission to avenge the murders of her parents and brother but in the mean time she taking on small missions. (It’s difficult to say stuff because of spoilers so bear with me, folks).  After a particularly bloody yet sexy kill, Mia barely escapes as she is confronted by a strange shadow man who tells her to seek the crown of the moon.  

She’s then summoned by the Red Church for a new mission to find a mysterious map where she runs into her nemesis and betrayer of the Red Church, Ashlinn. After learning more important info than some dumb old map, Mia pretends to be looking for the map while she plans to be sold to a fighting house to become a gladiatii.  Mia is sold to the wrong house so she has to work twice as hard to be able to compete in the final fight to get close enough to assassinate Scaeva and Duomo.  While she slaves at house of Leona, she meets a new set of men and women who challenge her career choice.

On to the spoilers.

The beginning of the novel shifts back and forth between current times and four months prior.

As the story opens, a girl is burying bodies when a Teardrinker, a Dwerymeri woman, and her convoy tricks her and takes her to be sold.  We quickly finds out that the girl is Mia and she purposely got herself abducted so that she could be sold to a gladiatii house. When the convoy is attacked, Mia saves Teardrinker and is then owed a favor.  Drinker takes her to the slave market place to help her get sold to Leonidis.  Mia instead is sold to Leonidis’ daughter, Leona, and Mia must quickly change her plan which is to get to the final battle to assassinate Scaeva and Duomo.

FOUR MONTHS PRIOR-Mia is on an assassination mission to kill Senator Aurelius’ son.  While she is seducing him and his consort, Mia kills Aurelius’ son and barely escapes. While she’s hiding in the Necropolis, a hooded figure tells her lots of stuff but the main message was to Seek the Crown of the Moon (pg 34 in the ARC).  She’s badly hurt and goes to get stitched up when she’s summoned back to the Mountain to get a new mission. She gets yelled at by Solis about killing the Dwerymeri King and is told to not kill Scaeva. She is told to find a map by finding The Dona and she is to take Jessamine with her.

They find the Dona where Mia befriends a 14 year old girl named Belle. Belle assists Mia after Mia promises her a better life with Mercurio. She sees the map exchange with The Dona and discovers the delivery woman is Ashlinn. They are about to dupe Ash when she foils their plan and escapes but Jess and Mia capture Ash.  Ash kills Jess but Mia captures her and takes her to Mercurio.  While in captivity, Ash explains that Scaeva pays the Red Church and so does Cardinal Duomo and that it’s against the Red Church laws for blades to kill each other.  In other words, Scaeva and Duomo can’t kill each other but they both want sole power and are trying to bump off the other.  Scaeva is the one who hired Mia to kill the senator’s son to eliminate the competition which enrages Mia even more.  Mia of course doesn’t believe Ash and confronts Mercurio who tells her it’s true.   Mia decides to forgo the map mission and Mercurio helps by lying to the Church.  Mia also agrees to accept Ash’s help even tho she doesn’t trust her.

BACK TO CURRENT-Mia is sold to Leona.  Mia also realizes that she killed Leona’s husband Remus.  Leona’s house is actually Mia’s childhood home in Crow’s Nest where they take Mia to be a slave.  Mia meets her trainer, Arkades, and her fellow slaves including: Sid, Bladesinger, Bryn and Byren (twins), and Maggot the 11 year old doctor. She also meets the undefeated gladiatii, Furian who is also a Darkin. When Mia is near him, she feels a pull but Furian seems to ignore this pull.  Mia often uses shadows to immobilize opponents and during a fight, Furian caused Mia to not use this tactic.  When she confronts Furian, he denies knowing anything.

Sid is Mia’s cellmate and she learns that he served under her father.

Mia often does her shield thing where she becomes invisible yet blind but since she grew up in the house, she knows her way around.  She sneaks out a lot to go and plan with Ash who has decided to help her assassinate Scaeva and Duomo and is masquerading as Jess. On her invisible return to the castle, Mia overhears Arkades’ dislike for Mia accusing Leona of spending too much money to buy her.  Leona only purchased Mia to outbid her father and beat him in the final battle but she’s bankrupt.  Leona agrees to sell Mia. Mia also observes that Arkades loves Leona and she sees Leona sneaking into Furian’s room. Mia cannot get sold because she won’t be able to get to the final battle so before the “semi-finals,” Mia has Ash poison everyone including Furian so that Mia has to fight a retchwyrm and she wins.  Leona will not sell Mia.

Mia begins to hear stories from the other gladiatii about slave revolts and the punishment was a hanging of all the slave on the land regardless of involvement.  Mia begins to question her assassination mission because she’s inadvertently made friends with her fellow slaves and doesn’t want them to die b/c of her.  Mia confides in Ash and Ash makes a move but Mia refuses because she doesn’t trust her.

Because of her defeat of the retchwyrm, Mia is invited to a fancy dinner. During dinner, Leonidis challenges a fight between Mia and his fighter a Silkin.  A Silken is a 7 foot tall woman with six eyes and six arms that each have a blade. Her blood is also acidic.  Mia tries to fight but she can’t compete with six knives so Leona agrees to challenge his Silkin in the next battle with three of her best-Mia, Furian, and Bladesinger.

Sid figures out Mia’s identity but he doesn’t bring it up again.

Mia’s tired of being alone and beds Ash and discovers the mysterious map is arkemicalled on her back so if she dies, the map disappears.

In the next battle, the twins fight first and Byren dies.

In the main battle, Ash did recon prior to the battle and poisoned swords.  The Silkin pushes Bladesinger over the side of the raised arena after slashing her arm but Mia saves Singer, which is unheard of.  The Silkin has bled all over Furian which causes him to be burned with acid.  The Silkin is about the kill Mia and Singer when she pleads Furian to use shadows which he reluctantly does and Mia chops off the Silkin’s head.  Mia is slashed across the face and she fears Ash won’t think she’s beautiful; Singer may never fight again; and Furian is near death.

While being subdued for the pain, Mia begins to feel Furian’s pain.  She is able to mix pain meds much to everyone’s shock.  A while later, Mia realizes that she wasn’t feeling Furian’s pain, she was taking his pain away thus discovering a new skill she has as a Darkin.

Back at Crow’s Nest, Arkades finds Leona’s gown in Furian’s room thus discovering their affair.  The Magistrae, Leona’s maid, tells Leona about this.

While addressing her gladiatii, Leona receives a message from her father that says he’s paid all her debts but will allow her to keep the house and her gladiatii.  If she misses a payment everything becomes his.  He also sends a bottle of wine.  We learn that her father beat her mother to death with this particular brand of wine while she watched.  Leona was also beaten by her father as a child.

Mia asks Sid why he never asks about her true identity and he eventually tells her that her father was gay and that he and the man he was trying to make king were lovers.  He also tells her that her mother loved lots of men.  He tells her he was branded a coward because he didn’t believe in the rebellion and wanted out.  He didn’t think thousands of people should die so that one man could become king.

Ash tells Mia that she lovers her.

While visiting Maggot, Furian, and Singer in the infirmary, Maggot asks Mia if the ever thinks about the people she kills.  Mia pauses.  Mia turns down her dinner and gives it to the dog and he begins to bleed at the mouth.  Mia discovers that the food has been poisoned and Maggot, the dog, and another slave dies.

Mia is first blamed because this is the second time she conveniently skips dinner when everyone is poisoned.  After a search, the poison is found in Arkades room wrapped in Leona’s gown found under Furian’s bed.  Leona’s kicks Ark out.

When Furian wakes, Mia talks to him and learns that before he got to Leona’s house he was a slave captor and seller.  He did awful things and while he was about to push a priest off the boat, the priest said he’d pray for them. This caused Furian to rethink his life choices, save the priest, and find god.  He then sold himself to Leona.  Mia tells him that he can’t absolve himself by killing others but he doesn’t buy into that.

Sid finds out that to make a payment to her father, Leona is going to sell Sid, Bryn, Singer and other slaves to fleshhouses and a fighting house that is guaranteed death.  Sid plans to escape and asks Mia if she’ll help but she initially says to wait.  She then changes her mind.  The actual escape is told from Sid’s POV and Mia betrays them to Leona.  They are held prisoner on the boat to the final battle.

The Not Cat and the Wolf shadow have an interesting chapter where we find out they were other shadows before Mia and Cassius and they worry if they are having ill effects on Mia.  (Still unsure about that chapter.)

Before the final battle, Mia has to execute the betrayers in front of the audience.  They are given rusty blades and they are weak and starved.  The execution is told in Leona’s POV.  Mia kills them.

During the final battle, only one can survive which means at some point Furian and Mia must fight each other.  The battle field is on water in boats.  At some point, Leona realizes that Mia isn’t stabbing opponents, she’s blocking and she also realizes that the blade Mia holds is not the one Leona gave her.  To save Mia from an opponent, Furian grabs Mia’s fallen blade to stab him only to see that the blade is retractable.  Leona also sees this from the stands.  Mia kills Furian and wins.

Meanwhile, Mercurio and Ash are saving the slaves that were supposed to be executed by Mia.  Belle is there the meet them to take them to Teardrinker.

Mercurio goes to the stands to bring Leona a bottle of wine. The same bottle her father gave her.  He also brings Leona a glass of the wine that has a crow and swords on the bottom.  He tell Leona to vacate Crow’s Nest and where she can find Arkades.  Made to discover that it was Magistrae who poisoned everyone and not Arkades, Leona gives Magistrae the poison wine and pours her father and his friends the poisoned wine and they all die.

On the podium to receive her winning medal and freedom, Mia is met with Duomo and Scaeva but Scaeva has his son with him.  Mia thinks he looks like her mother and recalls the conversation she had as her mother lay dying, “He’s with his father.” Mia realizes that her brother, Jonnen, is Scaeva’s son.  Mia reveals her true identity and stabs Duomo to death.  Scaeva reacts be throwing Jonnen to Mia but she stabs him as she and Jonnen fall over into the water.

THE ENDING: Ash gets to their hideout in the necropolis and is met by Drucilla “Lady of Blades,” and four blades-Aalea, Spiderkiller, Mouser, and Solis.  They tell her that they captured Mercurio.  She tells them that the map disappears of they kill her.  Then out steps Scaeva.  The man Mia killed was his doppleganger and they all knew Mia’s plan.  Scaeva let her go thru with the plan to kill Duomo since he couldn’t.  He also reveals that he’s Mia’s father too.  Ash escapes with a bomb and flees but they catch up.  Someone throws a poison dagger at Ash’s leg but the shadow figure emerges and decapitates all four blades.  The shadow man is Tric.

Hunting Prince Dracula

hunting prince dracula

Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)

By: Kerri Maniscalco

Genre: Horror/Historical Fiction

Bang Bang Review: bombbombbomb

Review

Audrey Rose Wadsworth is still reeling from the Ripper case as she and Thomas Cresswell head to Romania to enroll in a school for medicine. Murders seem to happen all around Wadsworth much like Murder, She Wrote with the first being on the train to Romania.  When they arrive to the dark castle, our dynamic duo learn that only two students will be admitted to the program which of course leaves Wadsworth worried because she’s a woman.  Nerds to that! Wadsworth gathers her skirts (all the freaking time) and gets elbow deep in cadavers.

Being the inquisitive person that she is, Wads investigates every creak and twig break which causes some tension for when the creak is actually the murderer but I found it a bit too obvious and too repetitive. During her outings, Wads discovers weird books, drawings, caves, bats, and that Cress can be an undermining jerk.

Joining Wads and Cress is a not-so-interesting cast of characters with the exception of Professor Radu.  The other two women, Anastasia and Daciana, are quite driven which is too similar to Wads and the headmaster and the other male students are a bit tropey.  With that being said, Maniscalco does an adequate job of developing motives and red herrings.

I really wanted to like this book and although I gave Ripper a 3.5, I liked Maniscalco’s character development but this ended up being one of my issues with the book as stated above.  I think the enjoyment of Ripper came from Wads and Cress as characters which I liked a lot but since I know this duo, there’s nothing new here.  Maniscalco does write strong women which I like but it’s not enough to keep me engaged.

My other issue is Maniscalco’s writing.  She needs to trust the reader to infer and to not bash us over the head. Okay I get it, Wads constantly has to fist up her skirts to run. Okay I get it, the castle is old with lots of little noises and we all know that one of those noises is going to be the killer.   Maniscalco also doesn’t use her words strategically-in other words, this book was too damn long!  I think every word should count towards the plot, character development, or world building and I thought Dracula had too many words that could have been cut and the book would have been unaffected.  My biggest issue was the pacing.  I know it’s called “Hunting” so that’s what they are going to do but when I read a book about Dracula, I want to see Dracula DAMMIT and not 75% in!  This is my problem and not the book’s but since the pacing is not to my liking, I will not be reading book 3.  I started skipping half way and by page 300, I skipped to the end to see whodunit.

I’m bummed, I really like Kerri and she seems like a lovely person and I met her at ALA and she personalized my book with my favorite quote from book 1 but I just can’t. If you enjoyed Ripper, you will love Dracula.

Tarnished City Spoiler Edition

Tarnished City picks up after Luke is sent to prison and Abi and her family, sans Daisy, are sent to the work camp.  We’ve already seen the work camp in book one so there’s no way we’re going back there again which means Abi is probably going to escape and she does.  This wouldn’t be a dystopian novel if someone wasn’t trying to rescue their sibling from the bad people so you guessed it, Abi will stop at nothing to rescue Luke from prison.

Onto the spoilers:

Jenner-Jenner is unskilled but we find out that he had skill until he was four.  Silyen surmised that he accidentally took Jenner’s skill.  No one knows this but Sil-so we think.  After the guards came to get Abi and Rennie, Abi ran to Jenner but he turned her in but I believe he was under the influence of his father.

Bouda-Bouda thinks the best way to move up politically is through Gavar’s father, Whitman.  Whitman is a womanizer and fears his grandkids will be unskilled because of his wife’s iffy family line.  He talks Bouda into having his child and passing it off as Gavar’s.  Bouda agrees and although she doesn’t enjoy Whitman, she’s in it for the Chancellor seat.  She however finds out that Whitman wants to change the laws so to eliminate a democracy to more on a monarchy where the Chancellor seat is held until death.  Bouda refuses to accept this and still remains loyal the Whitman where she becomes the organizer of the punishment of the work camps.  One day after a rebellion, she’s reluctant to try to use her skill to put out a fire because her skill is weak and she doesn’t want to look weak in front of the unskilled but she tries anyway and her skill is actually quite powerful.  She is able to summon large amounts of water. Bouda becomes frustrated with the rebellion and agrees to meet one of the leaders, Angel who was the name of her mother that was killed in a work camp rebellion.  Angel turns out to be Bodina and Bouda can’t believe it’s been her the whole time.  She tries to reason with Bodina but Bodina is shot and killed in front of Bouda.  Whitman has convinced Bouda that the best way to quell the actions of the rebels is to bring back the Blood Fair where they allow citizens to savagely kill rebels/murderers/rapists in the square.  Before the Blood Fair Jon Faiers, Bouda’s new unskilled assistant, tries to tell her that she’s a strong woman and that she’ll never be chancellor is she continues to back Whitman.  Bouda becomes attracted to Jon and kisses him even though she hates unskilled.

Faiers-His mother was the unskilled representative at Parliament and we find out that his father is Rix.  Rix was in love with Faier’s mother but Whitman had her sent to a work camp and Rix never forgave him.  Everyone believes this was Rix’s motive for trying to get Luke to kill Whitman.  Faiers hates Rix for abandoning him and tells him so.  Rix is killed after he was given a dose of truth serum but it reacted badly to the stun gun inflicted by Bouda.  Bouda covered up his murder.  Faiers is working with Abi, Angel, and the rest of the rebels and gets info from Bouda but he seems to be attracted to her.  Faiers is a complex character because we don’t really know where his loyalties lie.

Silyen-Sil is obsessed with skill and if it can be retracted and implanted into others and if it can be stored.  Sil tries to force skill into Jenner when he tried to open the gate but it didn’t work.  Euterpe is distraught over the death of Zelston and continuously burns down her house and wants to die but he skill won’t allow it.  Sil figures out how to take her skill and keep it for himself and she dies. Sil blackmails Rix with his knowledge that Rix was the one to Silence Luke and in return he become Rix’s ward and heir to his estate and this also enables Sil to leave his house.  Bouda is upset because she wanted to be heir giving her more power.  When Rix dies, Sil becomes a member of Parliament.  While at the House of Light, Sil becomes able to see in gold. He can see skilled ones.  He harbors Dog and knows he’s about to kill his relative for the murder of Dog’s wife and Sil allows it. Before Luke is sent to prison, Sil tells him, ” If you don’t try to escape, I won’t let him break you not beyond repair.” This is important to Luke.  Sil visits Luke in prison to see in his head.  The only person placed the silence and quiet can release it but since Rix is dead and they know it was Rix who did it, Sil and Crovan can and do get into Luke’s head.  Sil doesn’t touch Luke because he’s too powerful so Crovan does and they see: a field of grass with a mountain and trees; two bright flares with one resembling lightning strikes (skill) against a dark wall and the other was a sun blazing and a thread of fire trailing Luke. He reached out to touch it and it resembles a golden spider of silk. He saw a young man with wild hair with his hand resting of a neck of a stag with sharp branching antlers. Above him an eagle screamed in the sky. The wild hair was actually a crown of twigs and flowers. The person with the wild hair had golden eyes like an owl. (pg 261).  Also when Sil looked at Coira, he saw that she had skill. I theorize that Sil is a scientist and wants to know all the benefits of skill.  I think he does want to end slave days by showing the skilled that their inactivity has rendered them weak and that if they use their skill, they will be powerful enough to exist without slaves.

Gavar-He loves is daughter and wants the country to see that she was born to an unskilled but is equal.  Bouda doesn’t want this and tells Gavar that they are making a law that removes mixed offspring from their skilled family and forces them into slave days. When his family is attacked, Gavar’s skill comes out. He can slow down time and run very fast. Bouda is impressed by this.  Gavar is disgusted when he sees Rennie at the Blood Fair and rescues Abi from the fair.  Gavar loved Leah but Sil’s meddling with skill made Gavar become full of anger and possessive and when Leah took Libby, Gavar became enraged that she was taking his daughter and killed her. He regrets it.

Abi-She escapes to Johnson/Meilyr’s house and they agree to rescue Luke.  They cook up a scheme to rescue Luke and when they get to the prison, Meilyr sacrifices himself to take Luke’s place but when Crovan is threatened by Meilyr, Crovan’s butler/prisoner shoots Meilyr in the head. Abi joins the revolution and when they are raided, she runs to Jenner.

Luke-The prison is basically a social experiment.  Prisoners are divided into servants and guests and the guests are allowed to rule over servants. Crovan is making the case that when you give the powerless power, they will get bored and become selfish and cruel. Luke comes in as a guest but is never cruel.  He meets a servant Coira and discovers she is Crovan’s daughter. He tells Coira and tries to get her to see if she has skill but she can’t summon it. Coira inadvertently releases Luke from prison because only the master of the house (?) can release them which Coira does.  Luke realizes this but pretends he doesn’t when Crovan sees him outside.  Crovan punishes Luke for trying to escape but it doesn’t really hurt Luke because of what Silyen said about not trying to escape. Luke does escape when Crovan leave the prison and he gets to the square to see Abi on the Blood Fair stage.

Tarnished City

tarnished city

Tarnished City (Dark Gifts #2)

By: Vic James

Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian

Publication Date: February 5, 2018

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb 1/4

Review

Tarnished City picks up after Luke is sent to prison and Abi and her family, sans Daisy, are sent to the work camp.  We’ve already seen the work camp in book one so there’s no way we’re going back there again which means Abi is probably going to escape and she does.  This wouldn’t be a dystopian novel if someone wasn’t trying to rescue their sibling from the bad people so you guessed it, Abi will stop at nothing to rescue Luke from prison.

Meanwhile at prison, Luke is expecting chains and dungeons and beatings and starvation but that’s not quite what awaits him.  I won’t get into because I want you to be surprised but I will say that the prison experience is the main theme of Tarnished City.

Meanwhile at Kyneston, Gavar still hates his family and loves his daughter; Bouda is hell bent on being Chancellor by ANY means necessary; Jenner is unhappy with his unskilled situation; and Silyen is still weird. But let’s talk about Silyen who is the best character in the book.  In book one, he started the idea of abolishing the slave days but he seems ambivalent to the whole idea and he released Dog knowing he was going to wreak havoc.  Does book 2 reveal Sil’s motives? Nope, it just adds more mystery to the character which is fantastic.  I have my theories about Sil and his behavior but I’ll keep that to myself and the spoiler edition.

Just like the real world, the powerful not only want to remain so but they want more power.  The powerful say that they are looking out for the rest of the majority of the nation but their actions scream that they could care less and it is up to us to make change.  Among others, power is a big running theme in the Dark Arts Series.  Dynamic characters such as Silyen, Bouda, and a new character named Faiers contribute to the enjoyment of this read.  If you are looking for a light hearted dystopian story, don’t bother-Tarnished City is DARK. But if you do decide to begin this series, which I think you should, you won’t regret it.

Any Bangs in June?

YES!!! I read one five star and a 4.75.

I didn’t read as many as I would have liked because I was at ALA for a week but June was a pretty good month for reading.  Click the title for full review.

bombbombbombbomb Invictus by Ryan Graudin-Great writing but too wordy.

bombbombbombbomb 3/4-Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart-Awesome character development and pacing. So close to a bang but it didn’t quite blow me away-get it?

bombbombbombbomb Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser-Unpredictable, great diverse cast of characters, and sweet romance.

REVIEW ON SLJ-Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh-I reviewed this for School Library Journal so you can check it out there.

bang The Speaker by Traci Chee-So I also reviewed this for SLJ (School Library Journal) and I can’t give a full review until it’s published there but it’s very important that you read this series and that’s all I’m going to say.

To Read for July-hopefully

Invictus

invictus

Invictus

By Ryan Graudin

Genre: Science Fiction/Time Travel

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb

Review

It’s the year 2371 and we’ve discovered time travel and it’s so prevalent that it’s the best job on earth.  It’s not the fun kind of time travel though; travelers are only allowed to record history and not interact with anyone but Farway’s mom broke that rule and whoopsie-all hell has broken loose.

Farway McCarthy is the best cadet in the academy, obviously, and he’s on his way to be tops in his class and the pick of any time travel job but whoopsie, he failed his test and now he’s been kicked out of school. So far, we’ve all heard this story before.  He’s wallowing in his misery when his spunky and best character in the book, Imogen, cheers him up with gelato because Invictus is set in Italy.  While they’re eating their gelato, Far gets a mysterious letter from this mysterious guy with the chance to captain his own ship to travel time to steal valuable artifacts. Of course Far is reckless so of course he says yes and assembles his crew-Imogen, his best friend Gram, and his girlfriend Priya.  And yes this is a very diverse crew because Gram is Black and Priya, well you can figure it out.

The Invictus crew is minding their business trying to find a book before the Titanic sinks when some strange girl steals it first then happens to get on their ship.  She tells them that she’ll return the book to their boss if she can be a member of their crew.  They have no choice but to accept her or their boss with will kill them all.

I’m a Whovian so of course I’ve read my share of time travel books and this is by far the best I’ve read. Graudin’s writing is a breath of fresh air that doesn’t include sappy romances, predictable plots, or convoluted story lines. I’m sure people are going to find holes in her time travel rules but I don’t go into this genre looking for holes.  I just want a book that’s not confusing as hell and enjoyable to read.  My only issue, and it pains me to say this, is that it was too wordy.  I don’t like it when the majority of the words on the page aren’t driving the plot and I felt Invictus did this.  I ended skipping through the last 150 pages-YIKES.

Overall, if you are looking for a great adventure through some pretty interesting historic locations with some pretty good writing, check out Invictus.