Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review of Incarceron

Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ...
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Steampunk junkies, dystopian fiends and fantasy fans
High point: Incarceron--it never ceases to amaze
Low point: Some of Claudia's story dragged
Reader maturity: 13+

Incarceron is a wondrous blend of science fiction, fantasy and steampunk, all whirled together in a dystopian society, where the rich don't have to abide by the rules. The commoners are required to dress and live according to an old-fashioned code of conduct and technology, while the wealthy can afford contraband medicines to fight the old-fashioned sicknesses. In this land, there exists a prison, Incarceron, a social experiment of epic proportions, gone wrong behind the prying eyes of those Outside. Claudia, the Warden's daughter, discovers a key and through it is able to talk to Finn on the Inside. Claudia tries to escape a prison of her own as Finn fights for his freedom from Incarceron.

I loved every minute of Incarceron! The book took me some time to finish because I was trying to draw out my enjoyment of it. Claudia is a headstrong and willful character, and the reader learns about her strengths and ambitions slowly. She starts out two-dimensional, the face that she shows the world, but quickly reveals herself to retain her humanity. Finn was the more interesting of the two, as the reader tries to piece together his past along with him. His adventures and travel companions were also more entertaining and dangerous than Claudia's.

Parts of the ending were predictable, especially those regarding the Queen's behavior, but the ending as a whole was a grand finale, leaving the reader satisfied but eager for the sequel, Sapphique.

Incarceron is both an epic-style read and a fun one. The world is completely different from our own, but we're not tugged along on a gut-wrenching journey. Part of the fun is figuring what's going to happen next and trying to discover the mysteries of Incarceron and the Outside before the Claudia and Finn do. I can't wait to get my hands on Sapphique!

Title:  Incarceron
Author:  Catherine Fisher
Genre:  Teen Fiction, Fantasy
Year:  2010
Book Source:  Won from Loves to Read


  1. Oh I want to read this book so badly! Glad you liked it, that just makes me want it even more :). Great review!

  2. I've been wanting to read this one since I saw the cover...it sounds so good! Brilliant review :)

  3. This book sounds good and I just love the title! The sequel's as well...I usually avoid books that are too futuristic but this one sounds very good!

  4. Great review! I thought Claudia dragged a little, too, haha!
    And I'm giving away my copy of SAPPHIQUE over at my blog if you're interested :D

  5. My sister gets annoyed with me because everytime I see this book I have to remind her how much I LOVE the cover and how pretty it is! Thanks for helping me see that book is good too ;)

  6. Your blog is gorgeous! So different from any I've seen. This book sounds awesome. I'm going to add it to my TBR list right now.

  7. i just love the cover on this. glad to hear you gave it a good review.