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Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

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Have you ever wondered what it was like to be born in a prison? And not just any prison—a prison like no other?

The other day, I was in my local library, wondering what to read next. I picked up a copy of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I’ve never read her works before. I was captured by the ornate design on the cover: a silver Key, the head of which was decorated with a bird of some sort. Cracking open the book, I was flung into a world of mystery and awe.

Incarceron takes place in a world where Time has been, by decree, stopped. Old pictures are to be re-created, technology is almost completely banned, and the citizens of the Realm are forced to live by the Protocol—the feudal system is almost in complete control, with one or two exceptions. The people of the Realm wonder what ‘beauty’ lies in the depths of the titular Prison. Inside Incarceron, however, the Inmates are forced to live out their days in a world contrived by centuries and centuries of the Prison, Recycling dead materials to make food and (rarely) more inmates. But more and more mistakes come around, making half men (Half man, half machine), half animals, and dividing the groups of Inmates. Incarceron tortures those within its walls with random blackouts, Prison-quakes and the quality of the resources.






Two storylines take place, closely correlated. In the Realm, a girl named Claudia Arlex is the daughter of the Warden. She, unlike her father, John, doesn’t know where Incarceron is, or what lies within the Prison’s walls. She dreams of fantastical worlds of wonder and excitement. Sadly, she may not be able to, as her father has betrothed her since birth to the royal family. When she was young, her original fiancé, Prince Giles, passed away, so she is destined to marry his younger brother, Caspar, Earl of Steen. Claudia and her Sapienti (Sapienti are the technologically advanced—before Protocol was introduced), Jared, want to stop the wedding, and want to find a way into the elusive Incarceron. They find a Key, which is made of crystal and emblemized with a bird, and communicate with someone who says they are an Inmate.

In the Prison, a seventeen-year-old boy named Finn the Starseer is believed to be just like Sapphique—a man fabled to be the only Inmate in history to Escape. In hopes of Escape, Finn and his oath-brother, Kiero, bring a Sapienti, Gildas, to leave their group at the Civicry and follow in the footsteps of the first Starseer. In their adventures, they find a strange Key, emblemized with a bird and made of crystal. Eventually, during Lightsout (the Prison’s equivalent of Night), Finn hears a voice, who says she is from the Outside.

To not add any spoilers, I will say that the plot and character developments are amazing and so in-depth that I couldn’t put it down (though when I did put it down, I lost it…). The characters seem so believable that I could feel myself trying to Escape. Along the way, I did find some… unwelcoming characters, but they were made up for—and excused—by the And so, as I leave to look for the sequel/finale of the series, Sapphique, I say to you this: Read this book. Watch your back. And don’t let the prison get to you, because (quoting the summary)...

“…Incarceron is alive.”


All photos are ©http://bibliomantics.com/2011/03/13/cassie-wa-reviews-incarceron-by-catherine-fisher/





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TheMistress said...
May 13, 2011 at 10:44 am
I loved this book and I loved Sapphique more. It's a really good series, but I'm disappointed that there is no book three (yet?).
 
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