Author: Catherine Fisher
Publisher: Firebird / Hodder Children’s
Release Date: 2011 / 2007
Source: Giveaway – Pretty Deadly Reviews
Buy the Book: Amazon
Finn cannot remember his childhood. He cannot remember his life before Incarceron – a prison that has been sealed for centuries, where inmates live in cells, dilapidated cities, and unbounded wilderness. No one has ever escaped. But then he finds a crystal key and a girl named Claudia.
Claudia’s father is the Warden of Incarceron. And Claudia is about to become a kind of prisoner herself, doomed to an arranged marriage. If she helps Finn in his escape, she will need his help in return.
But they don’t realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost far more than they know . . . because Incarceron is alive.
Incarceron, wow! I have never read a book quite like this one. The anachronistic absurdity of Protocol intrigued me as much as it repulsed. I can, sadly, imagine a world where the leaders truly did lose their senses and came up with such an illogical and controlling decree.
The world of Incarceron, the prison itself, is dangerous yet compelling and at times beautiful. Forests of metal trees, cells, rotting filth, strange cities and even a tower in the sky. While the world inside seems cobbled together out of different dreams, horrors, and times, it fits perfectly within the reality of what Incarceron is.
Claudia is a wilful, strong, and intelligent girl that is trapped in the world of corrupt politics. Finn is trapped in the corrupt Incarceron and in his own being as he has no memory from before awaking three years ago in a cell. Through a strange happenstance they end up meeting, virtually, and in a very short time, are both risking everything to find a way to get Finn Outside. The prison doesn’t want to loose Finn, yet just as determined is Claudia to rescue him. Her determination increases when she comes to believe that he is her lost betrothed.
The characters are likable and you quickly get drawn into caring about them and hoping for their future. Even the lecherous Earl, grasping yet stoic Warden, and the wicked oathbrother Keiro are endearing in their own strange ways. The Queen is a definite exception – vile creature she is. But in a world of archaic politics, are you ever truly free? Is there a way to even save the would be prince (and no, I’m not telling whom that would be)?
This was a combination of fast action-paced and slow intrigued-pace, blending to create an inviting and engaging world where you hate to have to pause in your reading. The end was definitely left as a tease for the sequel, Sapphique. I hope there is more development with Jared (Claudia’s very ill tutor) in the next book. There is just something compelling about him that I can’t quite explain. My only real complaint is that I was able to figure out who the prince was too early in the book. But all around I loved the book and give it 4.5 drops!
Thankfully I have that book also so I will be beginning that next and posting its review next week.
About the Author
Catherine Fisher is the New York Times best-selling author of Sapphique and Incarceron. She is “one of today’s best fantasy writers,” according to the London Independent. An acclaimed novelist and poet, she has written many fantasy books for young people, including The Oracle Prophecy series.
Please visit her website for more information, updates, or to contact Catherine Fisher.