Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review: Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

I took a little trip into a new subgenre a week or so ago and read Incarceron, a steampunk novel. At first it was slow going because I could only read the copy at the bookstore, but then I got it from the library and I flew through it.
Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ... 
I don't even know where to begin. Hmmm . . . which part did I like the most?

Claudia is the female main character, the daughter of Incarceron's stony warden and betrothed to the prince heir. Her world is sculpted to look like (from what I could gather) Edwardian era England (think Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Jane Eyre, etc.) but in reality it is a very advanced society. She lives in a world that is literally not what it seems. But she is awesome because she's strong - not in a macho way, either. Just strong in resolve, courage, intelligence, will, and moral character. She is a character you can really root for, because even though she's adopted the stony expression of her father and doesn't really have any friends. she has a good heart. She doesn't like the idea of court conspiracies but resolves to deal with them. She hates the idea of being part of a plan to assassinate *ehem* certain members of the court. She saves her father despite their icy relationship. She uncovers intrigues and handles all the dirty people around her firmly and decisively. 
So yes. I like her. She is a girl after my own heart.

Finn is . . . interesting. I'm not really quite sure how to describe him. He came across to other characters as silent and severe, but the book revealed that he felt a little unstable mentally because of his visions and wasn't very confident in himself. It was a good contrast. One that created a lot of character depth. And contrary to the tough confident exterior he presented to everyone, he really cared about people - the Maestra, Keiro, Attia - even if he hadn't been given a reason to. And that made him really likable as a protagonist. The selflessness and fear of mental instability combined with the uncaring exterior was so lovable. *squeezes Finn in hugs*

The prison was basically a character in and of itself (which is fantastic set design). It was diverse, forbidding, dangerous, and mysterious. SO MANY SECRETS. We didn't know where it was, we didn't know how to get in, we didn't know how to get out, we didn't know how large it was, we didn't know how many people were in it, WE DIDN'T KNOW MUCH OF ANYTHING, REALLY. But that was fine because it made the setting alive.

There were secrets everywhere. We didn't know who the characters really were until well into the novel, we didn't know what Incarceron really was, we didn't know the details of Saphiqque, we didn't know what had happened to Giles, we didn't know what Finn's past really was, we didn't know if we could trust Keiro, we didn't know if Evian was telling the truth, we didn't know we didn't know we didn't know. And it was glorious because despite that the world building and character development and setting and plot were all perfectly done.

Other Random Things to Love
Jared was wonderful and kind and smart. The warden was surprisingly mutli-dimensional. The queen was creepy. I loved to hate the prince. The world was awesome because it was like Star Wars tech was being hidden under Pride and Prejudice. Plus the very name of the novel and the prison is just the coolest.
It's good and cool and you'll like it. So go read it!


  1. This this this. I was way confused by this book but it was way good, just....what??? xD I adore Claudia, and Finn was...interesting. But my favorite is my babyyyy Keiro. I'm 99% sure he's ESTP and he was GLORIOUS.

    1. Haha, I was so confused by Keiro. Do I trust him, do I not? What is his motive in all this? Would he actually honor his word? WHAT IS HIS DEAL? Seriously, I think he was the most confusing of all. xD

    2. He's a special snowflake but I love him very much. xD Also, he won a thousand billion points from me for being an incredibly accurate ESTP where the dark and manipulative side of us was explored, so. Now you need to read Sapphique because he's AMAZING in that one.

    3. It's on my TBR. xD Which types do you think get portrayed as dark and manipulative most often? Which least often? I wonder, because there have to be trends.

  2. I read this AAAAGES ago and I barely remember it BUT I DO RECALL LOVING IT GREATLY. Finn was adorable and I loved Claudia and the world was so unique. I was just kind of in love with the whole thing. x) Especially how they were like period-era but sneaking trips to the washing machine. AND THE PRISON WAS GREAT. Gah! You've totally made me want to reread this.
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    1. YES THE SNEAKING TO THE WASHING MACHINE. That was funny. xD Haha, yes, reread! And thank YOU for stopping by!