Sunday, December 4, 2011

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Publisher: Firebird, February 8th, 2011
Pages: 464
My rating: 5 stars
Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells and corridors, but metal forests, dilapidated cities, and wilderness. It has been sealed for centuries, and only one man has ever escaped. Finn has always been a prisoner here. Although he has no memory of his childhood, he is sure he came from Outside. His link to the Outside, his chance to break free, is Claudia, the warden's daughter, herself determined to escape an arranged marriage. They are up against impossible odds, but one thing looms above all: Incarceron itself is alive… [book description from Amazon]
             First off, there are two things you must know about me:
1) I try not one to judge a book by its cover…it’s a tough thing to conquer, and one must have the utmost self-control when in places like Barnes and Nobles or the library. I’m a work in progress. J
2) I’m not one to start out a review talking about the cover of a book. But this review is going to be an exception to that rule.
I believe that the cover of Incarceron couldn’t be more perfect for the book. It depicts the key, which is the central symbol of the novel. The background, which is an assortment of clogs and other clock-y stuff as well as some dead leaves, represents the mechanical-ness of the Prison, and the dead leaves denote the hopelessness of escape and death that emanates with life in the Prison.  It’s not a pretty cover, but it’s a fascinating and thought-provoking one, and one of the best I’ve seen in a while.
Ok. Enough about the outside- now let’s delve into the inside (“delve” is my new favorite word, by the way, so beware- I might use it excessively in this review. Forgive me in advance).
Incarceron is a dark story, indeed. When I first started it, it seemed almost like a steam-punk novel. I didn’t think it quite was steam-punk, though. It had all the aspects of a steampunk aside from the use of steam. J A very essential aspect for a steampunk, indeed. But what it is is one of those books that sucks you in, and you can feel everything. I felt the heaviness, the taste of the metal in the air inside the Prison. I felt the red eyes watching me, all the time, everywhere. I could feel the darkness envelope me, literally and figuratively, as it did Finn. It’s one of the best written stories I’ve read in a long time. Ms. Fisher did a magnificent job weaving this intricate saga- that’s one of the ways that it’s mind-blowing. I can’t imagine ever dreaming up such a brilliant tale.
One thing I didn’t really like, though, was the switching back and forth from Finn’s account to Claudia’s account. I never like that kind of switching back and forth in books- it confuses me and it’s frustrating. But I understand that it was really the best way to write the book, since Claudia and Finn were in different worlds (I hope that’s not giving away anything- it’s kind of obvious from the beginning though…). Also, the book was kind of lengthy. 464 pages is a pretty long novel. It wasn’t that I got bored with it. It was just that…well, it seemed stretched out. It was beginning to get tiring. But it’s not reason enough to not read the book. I still have a high regard for Incarceron and its creator, the marvelous Catherine Fisher.  
In conclusion, Incarceron was a refresher. I haven’t read a fantasy that great in a long time (though I don’t read a whole lot of fantasy in the first place…but I digress. Again.) I hear that there’s a movie coming out in 2013, and to be honest I’m itching to see it! And me, being ignorant, didn’t know that the sequel to Incarceron, Sapphique, was already out. So now it’s on hold for me at the library, and I’m dying to find out what crazy, impossible, mind-blowing thing happens next for Finn and Claudia.
And I guess you’ll have to wait and read my next review to see if I like Sapphique. J
Quick Content Review:
Profanity: Minor- Mild (Four uses of the b-word)
Violence: Mild- Heavy (More on the mild side, but the heavy rating is just for the one scene with Jormanric (sp?) before Finn and his companions leave for their journey. It was a bit descriptive…and bit of a stomach churner. But aside from that, there were only a couple other very mild scenes…a death of a woman by falling down a ravine and someone else is stabbed. No description.)
Sexual: None- Minor (only a brief comment from Casper about him being ok with Claudia having lovers after their wedding, which is clearly something she wouldn’t do. Some people insinuate that Jared and Claudia have a sexual relationship, but that is entirely not true and the idea disgusts both of them.)

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