May 18, 2012

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron (Incarceron Series #1) 

Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells, but also metal forests, dilapidated cities, and vast wilderness. Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, has no memory of his childhood and is sure that he came from Outside Incarceron. Very few prisoners believe that there is an Outside, however, which makes escape seems impossible.

And then Finn finds a crystal key that allows him to communicate with a girl named Claudia. She claims to live Outside- she is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, and doomed to an arranged marriage. Finn is determined to escape the prison, and Claudia believes she can help him. But they don't realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost more than they know.
My Thoughts:
Wow, I was not nearly prepared for this book. 
I've had a long hide and seek game with this book in the library. I kept finding the second book in this series, but not the first so when I finally (and I do mean FINALLY) I grabbed it without thinking about it.

And of course, out of my library stack I kept picking this book up and looking at it. Then I decided, oh what the heck, I'll read it now. I love the cover, the intrigue behind what will happen, and I love the idea of the prison being alive.

Then I read it. And couldn't put it down. This book is just ridiculously good.

And yes, I said it: This book is ridiculously good.

Now why did I say, good instead of great? Well, I have one huge issue, but I think it could just be me. 

So let's tear this book apart and analyze it! Yippee!
Character: I love all of the characters and the role they play. The main characters that I really like are: Claudia and Finn. I especially love Claudia since she's so tough and when she cracks open and displays some emotion, it becomes beautifully awkward. 
I actually like her father too, The Warden. I know that he seems like such an odd character to like, but near the end (which I won't spill everything to you), I really grew to like him. And even though, like Claudia, at first I disliked him but as the story continued and more of his character was shown, I really grew to like him. 
Now Finn, I kinda liked. I really liked him at first, but just the opposite effect happened. As the story continued, I grew to like him less and less just a bit. He's a great character, but I'm glad to see him evolve through the book. At the end he reminded me why I liked him, but it just seemed like he was so naive and trusting. And the other characters, the friends, he picks (or not pick) kinda revolve around his own naivety and ignorance. 
But overall, Catherine Fisher developed interesting, colorful and identifiable characters throughout the story and I really appreciate her for that.

Dialogue: Realistic. Interesting. Love the interchange with Claudia and her father. It's not even what was said mattered, but how they acted with each other and how they said it. It's so interesting to read.

Anyway, great dialogue. I could hear every individual voice of each character. They all sounded different and I could hear them easily.
Plot:  I was kept on the edge of my seat for the second half of the novel. The first half, I was on the edge but not entirely gripped. At the beginning I was. Leading up to the climax, I was considering hopping off. But once I got to the climax, I was glad I held on. 

It's a great roller coaster. And some of the twists and turns I definitely did NOT see coming.

Ending: The ending is pretty darn close to perfect as possible. Some people may not like the ending, but I think it gives the reader just enough to be satisfied. 

Setting: This is where I had the problem. 

I don't know why, but I had the HARDEST time imagining the setting.

You see, there is two settings. There's the first one with Claudia and basically it's a historical setting with science fiction aspects. If you read Wither, then that's basically the setting of this novel, except it's more concrete and there's different layers of the Inside versus Outside.

Basically, there's Outside and Inside. Claudia is outside of the Prison/Incarceron. I could easily imagine the outside since I've read so many historical romances it's not even funny. Then of course, the science aspect (since the setting looks like it's from the 1800s but in actuality it's really set in the future with great technology that projects this 1800s historical look) was pretty easy to come with since I've read Wither and it had the same sort of feel to it.

Claudia's setting overall was believable and I imagined it easily.

It's Finn's setting that made me really work my imagination. Inside of the Prison is where Finn is so intricately and descriptive that it was really hard for me to form a concrete image. And then of course, Finn travels so it becomes even harder to conceptualize the fact that he's in Prison but somehow there's a town? I don't know, but I was confused at the beginning so it just didn't make any sense until Catherine Fisher explains it more thoroughly which happens at the end.
Ultimately, I had to use some sort of connecting thread and for me, it's The Matrix. I thought, okay Finn is in The Matrix, obviously the One and knows he's stuck in The Matrix. Claudia is Infiniti and Outside of The Matrix.
And yes, it helped me out a lot. 

Anyway, this problem could have been just my problem. I don't know why I struggled so hard with it, but I did enjoy the challenge. At least partially.

Overall: Would I recommend this to anybody?

Almost. I would hesitate to give this to younger readers only because it's a bit difficult, but other then that yes. 

Additionally, I would hesitate to give this to someone trying fantasy for the first time since it's very intricate and descriptive. I would probably give them something a bit easier and build them up for this book. 

Overall, though I would definitely recommend this book. It's great (good for me since the setting gave me a difficult time) and I would love to give this book to someone to enjoy!

Additional question: Would I read Sapphique, the sequel?

Sapphique (Incarceron Series #2)

Absolutely! I would love to find out what happens to the characters! Especially since Catherine Fisher left us off on a mild cliffhanger. :) Just not now. My brain hurts, lol.

Anyway, love this book, I would give it a chance if want something of a challenge. 

Now I am off to go relax my brain with some lovely comic books I bought on Free Comic Book Day!


  1. What? Free comic book day??? I'm sorry. Beautiful review. I'm so glad I saw your blog, and can't wait to read your Cedardale Court review, but seriously, where are the free comics?

    1. Hey Nathan! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      Yes, on Free Comic Book Day (the first Saturday of May of every year) I collected 22 comic books for free. And I bought 10 comic books for like one dollar. So I like to brag about a good deal when I get one. And I'll probably tell my students about it, if I manage to stay in countries where Free Comic Book Day is practiced. Anyway, if you want to learn more, check out this website here:

      Thanks for the compliment about the review. I've read almost half of your book, and I have to say, I like the book so far. There are a few things I'm going to nitpick (what can I say? I'm a perfectionist), but overall I'm pretty happy when I read it. Hopefully I'll finish it this month, if editing (Angel Diaries) goes as planned.