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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..
This book had been sitting on my shelf for more than two years now. I recently ordered the second book in this duology, Sapphique, so that I can read this back to back. The book is over 450 pages but it does not feel very big as it is very fast paced.
This is the first book that I’ve read by Catherine Fisher. What I really noticed about her writing style is that she focuses more on world building and world descriptions than she focuses on character descriptions. Even now that I have finished the book I am not really sure what the main characters Claudia and Finn look like. Consequently I cannot get a good picture of themselves in my head and it really up to the reader to decided what they look like. It is not bothersome but something that stand out from other books.
I really liked that Catherine Fisher eases you into her novels. Often authors spend their first few chapters to really outline the rules and regulations of the world the novel is set in. Catherine Fisher does not do this. Instead she gradually unfolds the secrets of Incarceron’s worldwith each chapter, as you get more information to piece together what this world is like. The narrative constantly makes you question what you really now, and if what you know is real or colored by the language of the narrator.
I really liked the two different point of views in Incarceron. I especially like that Catherine Fisher is not so rigid. Some authors chose to alternate every chapter, but in Incarceron pov’s change every other page. This really fits the plot well as Claudia and Finn’s world is just as fractured. I also really enjoyed the concept of frozen time. Claudia’s world is, ordered by royal decree, frozen in the 17th century, including all the (dis)comforts of that time period. I have a special fondness for historical fiction so details like these are extra fun.
The end did leave me with some questions so I am really looking forward where the story continues in Sapphique. There are some many things that could happen.
I give this book 4 stars because I liked the world and enjoyed the characters. I would have loved to have more information about what the characters look like. This is definitely a nice and easy fantasy novel, if you are just starting to get into the genre.