Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Age Group: Young Adult
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 ..._______________
I didn't love Incarceron-but that doesn't mean I hated it. Throughout the whole book, I thought there was something... missing, I guess, from the story (Real specific, I know.) I was first compelled by the interesting and original plot line-a living, breathing prison? Count me in! However, as I got deeper into the story, I found the characters and writing unable to support this amazing story line.
First, the characters: I thought both Claudia and Finn were somewhat, well, iffy. Sometimes they annoyed me, sometimes I loved them, and sometimes I wanted to snap my fingers in front of their faces and say "Duh!" Usually, this is what I think of as a good character-someone who has flaws but overall is interesting and captivating. However, that's not what I found with Claudia and Finn. They were too one-dimensional for my mind to wrap around and connect to.
The writing was okay. I could see patches and spots of beautiful literature, but otherwise it was mundane. I would've liked a lot more description-most of the time I couldn't follow the plot because there were gaps here and there. Speaking of the plot, you don't need much brain-power to know what's coming next. This is a book where the author underestimates what the reader understands, and I didn't enjoy it, but it only took a little bit from the story.
Overall, I would say this book was okay. I would love to see what Catherine Fisher does with Sapphique, though. I hope this is one series that improves with age.