Thursday, December 16, 2010

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Description from Good Reads

“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..”

It is hard to describe this book.  Is it fantasy? Is it dystopian? Fantasy for sure and but a little dystopian as well.  Imagine a world where things are so bad those in power consider living in a past era without technology to be the only course to take. Claudia lives in a re-created 17th century (one created and maintained by technology). It is forbidden to “break protocol.” It’s like dress up lay that never ends.

The characters are well developed. Claudia makes an excellent heroine.  Betrothed to a spoiled prince who is only heir to the throne because his brother died mysteriously, she longs for an escape from her own prison.  Meanwhile, Finn, struggling to learn about himself, is stuck in Incarceron and longs to escape.  He is convinced the answer to his visions is outside Incarceron.     

Fisher weaves a fascinating tale of intrigue and imagination with haunting and vivid prose.  It was easy to picture the dark interior of Incarceron in contrast to the bright outside world in which Claudia lives. 

Both Claudia and Finn are likable characters surrounded by a cast of villains who are supposed to be their friends.  You can’t help but root for this pair.  The story does not end at the close of Incarceron.  There is still much to be told.  The sequel, Sapphique is due out this month.  I’m looking forward to it.

1 comment:

melissa @ 1lbr said...

I loved this one as well, mostly for the totally crazy story and genre blending, not to mention the sentient prison! I've got Sapphique on my shelf right now and totally need to get to it.