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.

All The Crooked Saints

All The Crooked Saints

By Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: Paranormal

Publication Date: October 2017

Bang Bang Rating: bang

Overview

There’s been some talk on Goodreads about how racist Crooked Saints is and although I’m not Mexican, I don’t think it was racist or racially insensitive.  As a Black person, I think a book is racially insensitive when the characters are stereotypes. Blacks and Mexicans have been stereotyped as lazy, gangsters, ghetto, ignorant, savage, poor, etc.  When characters are brown and take on these attributes, it’s racially insensitive especially when the author is not the race they are stereotyping.

With that being said, onto the review of All the Crooked Saints.

The Soria’s from Mexico are a family of saints where people come from all over looking for them for a miracle.  After they were run out of Mexico for their peculiarity, they settle in Bicho Raro Colorado in 1960.  In this character driven plot, Joaquin, Beatriz, and Daniel are cousins and Daniel is the current saint.  Joaquin is an aspiring radio DJ and he and Beatriz have created an illegal radio station where Diablo Diablo, Joaquin’s DJ name, “spins” contemporary music. Beatriz is an engineer, a thinker, and devoid of feelings.  Daniel was a troubled child turned saint.

People seek out Daniel for a miracle.  They are troubled and Daniel helps them by essentially making the pilgrims literally wear their problems on their sleeves.  It is up to the pilgrim to figure out how to solve their own problems and all the pilgrims live nearby the Soria’s until they can resolve their issues and move on.  The Soria family is forbidden to help the pilgrims and will be plagued by their own darkness if they interfere.  There are about six pilgrims featured in the novel with varied demons that range from possessing a coyote’s head on a human priest to being a ten foot giant. Daniel violates the don’t-get-involved rule and runs away for fear of bringing darkness to the Soria family.

Once again remember that Saints is COMPLETELY character driven so don’t expect a fast moving high adventure plot.

I really enjoyed Crooked Saints, not as much as Raven Cycle, but I liked it a lot.  I prefer a character driven plot and I thought all the characters (there were a lot of characters) were extremely well developed and likable.  Beatriz is my favorite character because she’s complex and logical.  This is a wonderful book for teen and adult book clubs because of all the themes and symbolism. EVERYTHING Stiefvater writes is significant and essential to the plot and that’s why I love her writing.  Long after you’ve finished the novel, you get to look up meanings of owls and black roses and coyotes roosters.  I like when an author challenges the reader to think and research and discuss and this is why Stiefvater is one of my favorite authors.  I can’t say too much because it’s spoilerish so to see the spoilers, click here.

For me to give a book five stars, I have to have an OMG moment and didn’t have one with Saints.  I was also a bit bummed by the ending.

After discussing All The Crooked Saints with my coworker/copodcaster and reread the ending, I did have an OMG moment so I changed my rating to 5 stars.

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