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Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

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It is the prison that lives, watching all. In this place called Incarceron, built by the Sapienti, it is foretold that there is no escape, of no escape, for any prisoner that steps into it, consequently making the outside a distant dream. Incarceron is what Finn is living in, forced to join a gang of Scum, which are a race of robber-scavengers. However, with the visions that he gets, he believes that he is from a possibly existing Outside. Meanwhile, Claudia, daughter to the warden of Incarceron, believes that she actually lives on the Outside. Throughout her life, she realizes that her arrangement at a royal title with the son of the Queen is an entire game, she being the pawn. With that in mind, she must get Finn’s help, as well as Finn needing Claudia’s.

Incarceron, written by Catherine Fisher, is a fantasy novel that sets up an entire vast world of its own. In the book, Incarceron does not just become a cage for the weak and corrupt and their posterity, but a way of life. At one point, Finn and his group is able to survey the layout of Incarceron: “ They had passed over hills of copper and mountains of glass, whole forests of metal trees. Finn had seen settlements cut off in impenetrable valleys where the inhabitants lived in isolation; great towns; once a castle with flags flying from its turrets” (349). All of those were in one prison, showing complex diversity of life, even separate races and groups to develop, an ecosystem of life that’s grown its roots quite far, for it’s allowed to live and forced to adapt.

However, Fisher does not just show that; moreover, she follows up with the truth: “Once, the ship had drifted very low; Finn had leaned out over mile on mile of stinking hovels, the people running from haphazard dwellings of tin and wood, lame and diseased, their children listless. He had been glad when the wind had lifted the ship away. Incarceron was a hell” (350). With that in mind, one is able to see a whole new world, living and breathing, and most of all, rotting. Catherine Fisher is basically giving us a glimpse into diversities of our own world: there are other countries that suffer the same, while those, like the Outside in Incarceron, have no clue as to the very existence of such places. Thus, Incarceron is a man’s worst nightmare because it is broken down and decrepit, corrupt and uncaring.

















To wrap things up, Incarceron lives as a prison of its people, whereas the Outside is just beginning to understand these things. Moreover, Claudia and Finn are to need the assistance of one another, and thus the journey for both, internally and externally, begins, Incarceron the sole seer of it all.




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