Book Review: Incarceron

Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher, is about a prison—vast, sentient, and possibly malicious—and two people desperate to unlock its mysteries: Finn, a prisoner who believes he came from Outside and longs to Escape; and Claudia, the Warden’s daughter, who’s doomed to an arranged marriage and life in the stifling falseness of the Queen’s court. Connected by identical copies of a mysterious crystal Key, both Claudia and Finn begin to dream that Escape is actually possible…

There were a number of things that impressed me about this book. One was Ms. Fisher’s deft handling of POV changes and snappy scene divisions; the two main voices are Claudia’s and Finn’s, but occasional viewpoints of other key characters are woven in seamlessly. Her pacing is extremely impressive, as are her settings: the dark menacing weirdness of the prison and the glittering facade of the Outside world. Though the first part of the book didn’t suck me in quite as quickly as I’d anticipated, I was pleasantly surprised by the plot twists and unexpected revelations in the last hundred pages or so and accidentally stayed up until 1:30AM the other night finishing it. I’m not at all sure I can wait until December for the American version of the sequel, Sapphique, to be released, so might have to dig up a British copy online. We’ll see. 🙂

One other thing: I’m curious as to how people are labeling this, genre-wise. To me it comes off firmly in my pet genre, science-fantasy; I really don’t feel like it’s one or the other. What do you think?

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