Tuesday, 13 March 2012

[REVIEW] Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Published: 2007
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Age Group: Young Adult - Dystopia
Series: Incarceron #1
Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ... (From Goodreads)

"A prison like no other. It gives life. It deals death. It watches all."

Incarceron is a book about a prison named Incarceron, that was created to house all the criminals in the world and see if they can create a perfect society when given the materials. The experiment turns out completely wrong and the prison comes to life. 

There are two main characters, a boy named Finn who is apparently born from the prison itself but has reoccuring visions of life "outside", because of that people call him the starseer. He has an eagle shaped mark on his wrist. The other main character is a girl called Caludia who is the Warden of Incarceron's daughter, and lives on the outside. Claudia is currently engaged to the current prince but finds out that the first prince, her first betrothed that was declared dead in an accident, is actually hidden in Incarceron due to a conspiracy planned by the queen, who is the first prince's step mother, and the Warden himself. On the other hand Finn found a crystal key with the same eagle shaped mark that he has and had a vision from Sapphique, the only prisoner to escape Incarceron, showing him the way to escape Incarceron using the key. Thus Finn and his oathbrother, a slave girl that he saved and a Sapient (think very wise, all knowing men) embark on an adventure to escape Incarceron. Claudia too finds a key and it is revealed that the two keys act as a sort of communicating device. When Claudia sees Finn, the bearer of the other key, she immediately believes that he is the lost prince. So starts the adventure of two people, one trying to escape from Incarceron and the other attempting to find Incarceron and save the lost prince.

Catherine Fisher is very ingenius. The imagination it would have took to come up with this story is outstanding. This book is completely fantasy and adventure. There's action in every page and you can feel both character's determination to either escape or save. Sadly, there isn't much character development although through their actions, it is clear that Claudia is a very stubbern and determined girl and Finn to is a determine boy believing that their is a way outside. 

What I found intesting was that at the beginning of most chapters, there would be an excerpt, either a sniplet from the "legends of Sapphique" or from a private letter from the Queen to the Warden. These excerpts explain some of the questions that arise and also helps in foreshadowing what is going to happen next. This book is completely different from the ones i usually read but i really liked it. 

Fisher's writing is very powerful and i remember when i was half way through the book, it got so exciting that i even got scared to continue reading because i dind't want to know what would happen to them in the story, in the end i did of course and i must say the ending is a complete shocker.  So be prepared if you're going to read this book and i definitely recommend this to all fantasy and adventure readers (of course) or those that just want to read a good book this summer.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

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