Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher - Book Review #48

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron is a prison unlike any other: Its inmates live not only in cells, but also in metal forests, dilapidated cities, and unbounded wilderness. The prison has been sealed for centuries, and only one man, legend says, has ever escaped.

Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, can’t remember his childhood and believes he came from Outside Incarceron. He’s going to escape, even though most inmates don’t believe that Outside even exists. And then Finn finds a crystal key and through it, a girl named Claudia.

Claudia claims to live Outside—her father is the Warden of Incarceron and she’s doomed to an arranged marriage. If she helps Finn escape, she will need his help in return. But they don’t realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost far more than they know.

Because Incarceron is alive.

Are you ready to explore the possibilities? Are you ready to build the world using only tiny clues? Are you ready to do that by yourself without someone guiding you? And are you ready to do all of that while in the middle of fast paced and action packed story? If you are, Incarceron is for you. If you like the story to be chewed out for you, if you like that everything is explained to you - Incarceron is not for you.

When I started to read Incarceron, I thought I had a good understanding about the world it is set in and the characters. However, every ten pages Fisher threw some clues, some facts that made me rethink the whole world, its structure, characters and their motivations. It was an amazing ride. Fisher kept me on my toes, making me flip pages like crazy, just to see what happens next, just to see how she is going to twist the plot once again to rock my world.

I read that a lot of people were confused with Incarceron and didn’t like it because of that. I can see why and how this can happen. But for me it felt like Fisher was challenging her readers - challenging to think, to analyze, to try to make a sense out of the events while the initial conditions keeps changing and evolving.

Incarceron is classified as a YA book, probably because the main characters – Finn and Claudia are seventeen years old. I always was against classifying books based on the age of the protagonist. And I disagree with classification in Incarceron’s case. First of all, neither Finn, no Claudia ever felts like teenagers to me. Based on their maturity, decision making and reactions I would give them twenty –twenty-five years. Second, the story isn’t about contemporary teenagers and their problems. It is a since-fiction/fantasy, so I think it might be interesting for the wide age group.

When I finished Incarceron, the thought that I would have to wait for a year to read a sequel – Sapphique - hurts as hell. So I went to and bought the British edition. I just couldn’t stop reading it. No wonder Times called it –“One of the best fantasy novels written for a long time”.


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