Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Incarceron

Book cover
Title: Incarceron
Author: Catherine Fisher
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasty, Dystopian
Pub Date: January 2010, Dial Books
Hardcover, 442 pages
Book Source: Borrowed from my aunt, who wanted to know what I thought of it.


Incarceron is a prison unlike any other: Its inmates live not only in cells, but also in metal forests, dilapidated cities, and unbounded wilderness. The prison has been sealed for centuries, and only one man, legend says, has ever escaped.

Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, can't remember his childhood and believes he came from Outside Incarceron. He's going to escape, even though most inmates don't believe that Outside even exists. And then Finn finds a crystal key and through it, a girl named Claudia. 

Claudia claims to live Outside--her father is the Warden of Incarceron and she's doomed to an arranged marriage. If she helps Finn 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.


My Thoughts

Clearly I have fallen so far from regular book-blogging, because I had never even heard of this book until my aunt handed it to me and wanted me to read it and let her know what I thought. I searched for reviews and saw so many out there I realized I must be missing a pretty big read. Of course, I was immediately intrigued by the cover and the synopsis inside the front cover, so I put my other books aside and decided to give this one a whirl while on vacation.

I am definitely glad that I did so! A mix of fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopian fiction, Incarceron is an incredible story that is told from several angles. You have Claudia's story and point of view, along with those of Finn, but you also have the general history of the world itself, which is also unique and fascinating. While clearly a world in the future, those in charge decided that they wanted to take life back to what they considered simpler times: the 17th century. Everything about everyone's lives must conform to this Protocal--dress, everyday practices, entertainment, food, you name it... It ultimately makes for an interesting mix of sci-fi and high fantasy, while providing a study on the idea and need for conformity, as well.

While I admit it took me a few chapters for the book to grab me, once it did I didn't want it to let go. the only reason I can't bring myself to give it a full five star rating is because the first third of the book is a bit slower and perhaps a bit more difficult to follow what exactly is going on. I was still intrigued by the premise, however, and the rest of the book certainly does not disappoint. While readers of fantasy and sci-fi will probably be the most likely to enjoy Incarceron, I think it could appeal to a broader audience. If you haven't given this book a try, I highly recommend it--I can't wait for the U.S. release of the sequel, Sapphique, in December!

My Rating: 5 stars

Other reviews of Incarceron:

If you have read this book and would like to see a link to your site above, please leave a comment with the link to your review!


  1. I am guessing that it has only just been released in America by your publication date, yet it has been out in England for quite a few years. In fact I would say it is one of her older books. I have read quite a few Catherine Fisher books and really enjoyed them. I have this one but haven't read it yet.

  2. So glad you liked it! It's one of my favorites this year - definitely surprised and satisfied me. Now, I need that sequel!

  3. I have this on my shelf, but haven't had time to read it yet! My dad borrowed it and loved it - I need to find time soon. :)

  4. I read it and completely agree with your review. In the end I thought it was a fantastic adventure, but the first third of the book was so slow that I was wondering why everyone loved it so much. Can't wait to read the next book!

  5. I have this out from the library and had started it, but haven't got very far into it! I must try again!

  6. I've been wanting to read this one, so glad to hear you liked it.


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