What I’m Reading: Incarceron

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Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

This is the first in a pile of several books I’ve read since my last post. I also finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth and I’ve just started in on Graceling. There’s a bumper crop of reviews coming up, so get ready!

Finn lives in the huge sentient prison called Incarceron, but he thinks he remembers a life before the prison. Some of the other prisoners believe him; others think he is crazy. A few hope he will find the way out of the prison like the legendary Sapphique, the only person who ever escaped Incarceron. Then Finn finds a crystal key.

Claudia lives in a castle in a kingdom where technology is forbidden. She is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron and has been groomed to be queen since birth. She doesn’t want to be queen, but it seems inevitable when her wedding date is moved up. Then Claudia finds a crystal key.

And when Finn and Claudia figure out they can talk to each other through the keys, things get interesting.

My one problem with Incarceron? In Fisher’s world, a king has decreed that society be frozen in an idealized version of the 17th century. No progress or change is allowed, and technology is forbidden, unless it makes the world look more like the Era.

Yeah right.

I just couldn’t buy that idea.  Perhaps if I had heard more about the apocalypse that drove people to it, I might be able to. Because I had a hard time suspending disbelief, the scenes that took place outside of Incarceron were hard for me to swallow. I found myself finishing those sections as quickly as possible to get them over with.

However, the world of the sentient prison was very creative, and I loved the descriptions. Fisher creates a metal forest, enormous hallways, canyons, and animals that are half robot. The prison sees everything through millions of small cameras. Another reviewer on goodreads said the prison reminded him of Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I agree. Incarceron is cold, calculating, and creepy.

Incarceron is a fun fantasy story with elements of sci-fi thrown in.  It’s not as much fun as The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner, and the characters are less convincing, but it is worth a look if you like YA Fantasy with darker themes.

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