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Review: Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

So sorry for taking so long to get this review up, but with this passed Thanksgiving weekend being so hectic, I barely had time to sit down and read...

Author: Catherine Fisher (SiteFacebook)
Release Date: 1/26/10 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Dial Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult (13+)
Pages: 442
Source: Public Library (Schooll)
Overall Feelings: Immensely creative and unique!
"To free herself from an upcoming arranged marriage, Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, a futuristic prison with a mind of its own, decides to help a young prisoner escape." (1)

(Goodreads) Incarceron was definitely an intriguing, bizarre read filled with constant action, a dazzling adventure, and a strange, perplexing mystery behind it all. It's a fast-paced, intense novel that kept me on my toes from start to finish.

Honestly, I had absolutely no idea what this novel was really about, besides what I had already read about it (summaries, descriptions, and so forth). But, I truly was not expecting such a fierce, consuming story line. As soon as I opened to the first chapter, I was instantly thrust into this huge, hazardous scene that I was completely unprepared for. It was so deliciously confusing and scary; I felt like I was apart of the mass chaos going on. There was a lot of pretense in this novel as well, coming from all directions; I never knew who to trust, what was real and what wasn't. Suspicion tagged along with me as I read.

As for the characters...I liked them, but I didn't love them, and here's why: I couldn't really relate to any of them, which is understandable since I've never been in situations remotely similar to those faced by the characters, HOWEVER I just couldn't get them all. Then, to add to that, I didn't feel as though I got to know any of them, really know them. Even as they switched third person POVs between Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of the prison Incarceron, and Finn, a significant prisoner living inside Incarceron, I didn't unearth anything pertaining to their personality, their inner core. And that's imperative to me.

Besides that, I delighted in Fisher's diverse collection of characters in the novel. There's Finn the Starseer, a boy with dreams of going Outside, who has peculiar visions and dreams, and is adamant about Escaping; Claudia, the stubborn, reckless daughter of the Warden, who is being forced into an arranged marriage as a way for her family to gain power; Gildas, the Escape-obsessed, healing Sapient accompanying Finn on his quest for freedom; Keiro, Finn's oath brother and an arrogant, narcissistic thief also tagging along with Finn; Attia, an erratic, dedicated girl who sticks by Finn's side as a servant; John, or the Warden of Incarceron, the cold, grave, power-hungry father of Claudia who's incredibly successful at creeping me out; Jared, Claudia's loyal, intelligent Sapient tutor who backs her up in all her unusual ploys; and the mystical, mysterious Sapphique, supposedly the only known man to ever escape Incarceron. They make an excellent cast for this special, unique novel.

My only real complaint with this novel is it's lack of comic relief. Incarceron is very...serious, for lack of a better word, than most books and I hardly, if ever, had a chance to laugh when reading it. Even in crucial, dangerous, life-and-death situations, I think it's important to have those few moments randomly yet strategically placed in a novel designed to make the reader relax and perhaps laugh a little. I didn't get that, at all. By the time I finished, I was so wound up and tense. And, in a way, I guess this goes back to not really knowing the characters and not loving them...Maybe if there'd been a little dose of humor, I would have favored the characters more. *shrugs*

But, Incarceron served as an entertaining, intense read that I didn't put down until I got to page four hundred and forty-two. I definitely recommend reading this fascinating, uncommon novel.

Thanks for reading!

Be sure to check out Fisher's next book in this series...
(to-be-released: 12/28/10)


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