Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
published January 2010 by Penguin
448 pages (hardcover), YA
Incarceron is a prison, an experiment to create the perfect world gone wrong. While the world Outside believes that Incarceron is paradise, the Prisoners form gangs and cults and resort to violence and thievery to stay alive. Finn awoke in Incarceron some three years ago with no memory of his childhood, but with the rare ability to see - a Starseer - visions of the past and of Outside. He needs to find a way to escape. And then there's Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, privileged and educated living in a castle Outside, but in a world governed by Protocol, stuck in the past with no hope of technological (or any) innovation. But Claudia is completely oblivious to the truth of Incarceron until she steals a key from her father's study, a key that enables her to communicate with Prisoners inside of Incarceron, which is how Finn and Claudia come to know one another and the truth about their world.
What can I say? I didn't love it. At times, I didn't even like it. I was confused most of the time, and then, finally, at the end, when everything seemed to be coming together, it was over. I don't like to wait until the end of a book for the pieces to come together. That's just not my preference. Some people love it, but it drives me crazy. The concept, though? I do quite enjoy it, and I will definitely read Sapphique. Because I want to know more! There was a very slow build-up, but now that I'm into it, over 400 pages later, I'd like to know how this world came to be and whether or not it will be fixed.
What was most jarring/unappealing/annoying to me in this book was the constant switching of perspectives - the story alternates between Claudia and Finn, but it happened too quickly for me. I didn't feel like I stayed with either of the characters long enough to get to know them or their stories. Again, personal preference. I'm also one of those people who can't stand large casts of characters.
So, no glowing review from me, even though I did like the book.
Others who liked it better:
One Librarian's Book Reviews; A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy; Teens Read and Write; Presenting Lenore; Reading Rants!; Guys Lit Wire; Fantastic Book Review