Friday, February 11, 2011

Book Review--Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher

Synopsis: (ripped from Ms. Fisher's own website

Imagine a living prison so vast that it contains corridors and forests, cities and seas. Imagine a prisoner with no memory, who is sure he came from Outside, even though the prison has been sealed for centuries and only one man, half real, half legend, has ever escaped. 

Imagine a girl in a manor house in a society where time has been forbidden, where everyone is held in a seventeenth century world run by computers, doomed to an arranged marriage that appals her, tangled in an assassination plot she both dreads and desires. 

One inside, one outside

But both imprisoned.

Imagine a war that has hollowed the moon, seven skullrings that contain souls, a flying ship and a wall at the world's end.

Imagine the unimaginable.

Imagine Incarceron.

My own summary of the book:

Finn is trapped inside a prison while Claudia's living in the 17th Century splendor of Protocol on the Outside as the daughter of the Warden.  Finn's life is rife with problems between escaping the psychotic whims of a self-aware prison and the power-hungry (and often drugged-up) rulings of a Winglord.  Claudia has only one problem:  She has to marry the prince.

Except the prince she's supposed to marry might be stuck in the prison.

What I liked:

The plot is actually pretty unique, and there are a lot of twists and turns that caught me by surprise.

I especially enjoyed Finn.  I thought he was a great character full and depth and genuine emotions.  

The settings were spectacular both Inside and Outside Incarceron.  I often felt like I was literally inside Ms. Fisher's world.

What I didn't like:

Oh dear, there were a few things, unfortunately.

For one, I couldn't stomach Claudia.  My dislike for a character doesn't usually sway my opinion of a book (after all, unlikeable people are very realistic), but she started out as a stuck-up snob from her first page and stayed a stuck-up snob even up to the last page of SAPPHIQUE.  And considering I really did like Finn, I ultimately ended up hating Claudia's treatment of him. 

I also found myself wondering what POV Ms. Fisher was trying to write in.  She seemed to start out in strict Third Limited with POV shifts separated by chapters.  However, as the books (INCARCERON and SAPPHIQUE) went on, the POV shifts started happening within scenes and then from one paragraph to another.  I found I had to backtrack a few times to even understand whose voice I was in.  And considering she started adding more and more POV characters as time went on, it became increasingly difficult to stay rooted in the story.

The twists and turns may have been fascinating, but by the time I finished SAPPHIQUE, I still had questions (questions that will forever go unanswered).  Perhaps this isn't such a big deal, but I do like to have everything wrapped up nicely by the time a story is finished. 

My Rating:

1 star: Don't even bother
2 stars: It may be your cup of tea, but it ain't mine
3 stars: Pick it up at the library some time
4 stars:  Go ahead and buy it.  You might like it!
5 stars:  What are you doing still reading this post?!  Go out and buy it NOW!

I give the INCARCERON series...

2-3 stars!

Ultimately, I may not have liked it as much as I would have hoped, but there IS a lot of positive buzz for Ms. Fisher's books.  

So, it may be your cup of tea, but it ain't mine. :)

For your purchasing convenience, click this link to order INCARCERON!  


  1. It's too bad you didn't really enjoy it! I have to say I'm in the opposite camp, because Incarceron is one of my favorite books. :P

  2. I've read this too, recently! Like you, I loved the settings and details of the 2 worlds. I didn't really have a prob with Claudia, but I haven't read Sapphique (and don't plan to; Incarceron was good enough but didn't make me want to read the sequel). Incarceron felt a little loose or up in the air by the end; I guess I wanted more things answered, even if it is the first book in a series. I thought Claudia's father was an interesting character. :)

  3. Hey Emily! Thanks for following. Bet you really like the next book you review.

  4. nice review, Ems, you do know that the film is coming out too :) You have posts on it over at my site :)

  5. Hmm, almost interesting.


  6. Golden Eagle--Well, you're not alone. I know of a lot of people who love this series. I wish I could have been one of them.

    Carol--I LOVED Claudia's father. In fact, I'd have to say I liked all the characters EXCEPT Claudia.

    Alex--I'm surprised I hadn't followed a long time ago! Actually, I thought I was. :o


  7. I switch POV characters often too and add more as the book progresses. I recently went through and arranged scenes into chapters where the POV characters fit together nicely. I hope that helps people know which character's head is currently their home.

    Sounds like an intriguing storyline despite the failed character development.
    Funny Stuff I Write And Draw

  8. the plot sounds really good- but i stuck-up personalities drive me nuts!


Yay! Comments! Oh, how I do love them! :D