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.

Books I Want to Read

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I’m officially stuck in a dystopian rut. Every single one of these books is some kind of post-apocalyptic dystopian YA novel. But I really want to read all of them! See, t his is what happens when I spend my lunch hour surfing Amazon. You know that lovely little program that recommends similar items to what you’re looking at? Bane of my productivity.

Incarceron and Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

This looks amazing. A self-aware prison full of creepy metal forests and recycled cities, a young prisoner with no memories, and an escape plan. There’s also a magic key that the main character uses to communicate with the daughter of the prison warden, a young lady destined for the prison of an arranged marriage. Sounds like something I ought to be reading. The sequel Sapphique will soon hit stores, so I’ll probably be forced to pick it up too.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

The forest is full of zombies! The main character lives in a village surrounded by a chain link fence in the middle of a forest infested by the undead. These are books 1 and 2 of a series, and it’s getting raves from one of my favorite authors, Scott Westerfeld. At some point, I will get my paws on my own copies. I have Max Brooks to thank for my recent unexpected love of zombie fiction.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

In the future, Mom and Dad can have you dismembered for spare parts. Be too big of a brat, and when you turn 13, they’ll “unwind” you and give your liver to somebody else. How’s that for being grounded? I think I have a taste for creepy fiction. I’m less certain about wanting this book than the others. There’s some parts of the premise that could ruin the book for me depending on how Shusterman handles it. I’m probably going to borrow this from the library instead of buying it.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

This book hits stores August 24. If I somehow got my hands on an advanced reader copy (completely not happening, but oh the bliss of the thought), I just might be the happiest person alive. This is the final book of the Hunger Games trilogy, and I love the series so much, I’m tempted to have a release party. Or at least attend one.

After my eager raid of Half-Price Books this evening ended in empty arms,  I plan to plunder Amazon for most of these books and probably a few other titles that little “Recommended for You” box plants in my psyche.