Aaron's Reviews > Incarceron

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
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Sep 23, 10


This interesting dystopian novel is one part fantasy and two parts fantasy. Claudia lives in a world with a medieval social structure. She lives in a kingdom that is ruled by a (evil) regent queen. The Court is filled with intrigue including a secret society with hopes of assassinating the Queen and her son Caspar, the soon-to-be king, with the hopes of returning the kingdom to the good old days. To make matters worse, Claudia is sworn to marry Caspar and rule the kingdom with him.

Claudia's father is the influential Warden of Incarceron, an experimental, enclosed community that was set up 100s of years earlier with the hopes of allowing humanity to progress without any needs. All of those living in Incarceron were provided with everything from all the food they need to survived. The community is filled with artists and other folks who are without any of the negative aspects of community. At least, that is what everyone in Claudia's world is supposed to believe.

Claudia shares billing with Finn as the star of this show. Finn lives within Incarceron, it is as far from utopia as anyone could thing. Incarceron is actually a giant prison that has its own sentience. It uses everything within its power to control and keep the prisoners on the inside. In order to provide for the prisoners, Incarceron recycles everything that is discarded, including the dead.

Finn has his own little mystery. He doesn't recall anything prior to three years ago. He has formed friendships with a few others within the prison and hope to duplicate the actions of Saphique, a folk hero who supposedly escaped from Incarceron years earlier.

While there is no interaction between those within Incarceron and those on the outside, Claudia and Finn are able to connect when each comes into possession of a crystal key marked with the emblem of the royal family. Through, their keys they are able to start talking. Before long, they are working together to try and help Finn and his friends escape, something that could affect everyone in both worlds.

I really enjoyed this one. While there were a few "mysteries" that I was able to figure out pretty easily early on, that did not distract from the storytelling. I wanted to see how things were going to turn out for both Cluadia and Finn.

In some ways, this novel really reminded me of the universe of Dune by sci-fi mastermind Frank Herbert. Each of our heroes are join and assisted by a monk-like intellectual from a secret society. They hold all of the secrets of science and technology in their worlds. It also mirrors the court intrigues that were evident in that series.

There were also a lot of parallels to the old British court in the time of the Tudors. Many of the characters are willing to do whatever it takes to stake a claim on the ultimate power in the form of the throne.

I totally can't wait until Saphique comes out in December.
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