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(Incarceron #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  60,173 ratings  ·  5,443 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 458 pages
Published May 3rd 2007 by Hodder Children's Books
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Kaylene P. It took me a little while because it's a little confusing at the start, but by halfway (it was before, probably like 5 to 10 chapters in) I was invest…moreIt took me a little while because it's a little confusing at the start, but by halfway (it was before, probably like 5 to 10 chapters in) I was invested, and it just gets better with the second book(less)
Montgomerie I can't imagine why it's on a required reading list. I don't see how it could be inappropriate for an 11 year old to read, but it's dead awful and not…moreI can't imagine why it's on a required reading list. I don't see how it could be inappropriate for an 11 year old to read, but it's dead awful and not the kind of book I'd use to inspire young kids to want to read.(less)

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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  60,173 ratings  ·  5,443 reviews

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Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
I know many of you are staring at my two star review with amazement. I imagine you're thinking, "Cory, how could you?! This is one of the greatest steam-punk novels ever written! How can you rate it without even finishing it?"

To that, I have a simple answer: I wasn't impressed.

This book, like many fantasy novels I've ignored for the past few years, follows the Hero's Journey like a bible.

Of course we have a mystery revolving around the hero's past. Of course the hero has to be of royal blood bec
Charlotte May
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Year by year Incarceron tightened its grip. It made a hell of what should have been Heaven."

Loved revisiting this world! I read this first when I was in my teens and I remember enjoying it wholeheartedly; years later and that opinion hasn't changed!

Claudia lives in a dystopian future, where there have been such advances in technology and science, but the leaders have chosen to keep the world frozen in history. They have chosen a medieval time period, and everything must be kept in 'era'.

Kat Kennedy
Mar 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found it difficult to enjoy Incarceron at first.

You know that saying, Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it? Ya, this is Incarceron all over.

So there's two worlds in this one story. There's the "real" world and the Incarceron world.

The real world is a futuristic world with fantastical technologies - which are not used much because the King of that world decided that change was bad, progress - demeaning and invention - unsafe. So he reverted the whole world to a pre-regenc
Mike (the Paladin)
I finished this book last night but waited till this morning to review it. Had I not, I suspect that the review would have been a bit more...vitriolic.

I've run on several mediocre YA novels recently and that not only disappoints me, but gives me pause. maybe I'm getting harder to please?

Having just gone through the Percy Jackson series and found it disappointing and reading a book by Tamora Pierce which I found mostly stultifyingly dull, I was rooting for this one. Unfortunately it just didn't w
Holly’s Mom
Where to begin? I just loved this book so much. Reading it was like drinking a white chocolate mocha, oh so delicious.

Maybe I'm really weird, but I've always thought prisons were kind Not the modern day kind, but the medieval types. Strange, maybe, but I just find dungeons really interesting. ANYWAY, Incarceron is the ULTIMATE prison. It's alive, and it has a perosonality, which is just so unbelievably awesome.

I must admit, the twists were very predictable, but I didn't mind, becaus
Abandoned at about page 90.

Reasons: general disinterest in the story, the fantasy world and the characters' fates; unappealing writing style; strong suspicions that Finn is the "dead" prince; painful flashbacks of The Maze Runner, Matrix, Robocop and some apocalyptic B-grade movies whose names I can't recall.

Lessons learned: science fantasy might not be my cup of tea.
 Danielle The Book Huntress
Disclaimer: It was hard to convey my overall views on this book. I feel like this review is very much a 'I can't put my fingers on what was wrong' type of review, so I apologize if it seems rather chaotic.

Incarceron is a book with some interesting ideas, and some intensely visual imagery. Catherine Fisher put some imagination into crafting this story, and I tip my hat to the author for that. However, my overall feeling after finishing it is disappointment. Unfortunately, there were aspects that
Amelia, free market Puritan

If Incarceron was a school subject, it would definitely be science. I love science, I find it fascinating, but I’m not very good at it… kind of like this reading experience!
First of all, this book is fascinating, captivating, the type of story that sticks with you to the point that you’re forgetting everything else you have to do because you’re so obsessed over what happens next! But, on the other hand, it’s really confusing, and to be honest, I had a hard time digesting all the intricacies of
Megan Baxter
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it
How many different forms of imprisonment are there? How irrevocable are they? What does living in that kind of prison do?

I admire Incarceron for trying something that felt a bit new, and I generally enjoyed the story. I'm not sure I'd go back to reread it, though, so that's my personal line for a four-star book. But although this is a three-star review, it's worth checking out.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read wh
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love this book with a mad passion. I could hardly even tell you why, except that the concept of the living and sentient prison that's a whole world in itself is amazing, and the blend of the fantastical/fairy tale/historical and the high-tech aspects of Claudia's world fascinated me, and the Warden reminds me of Jack Bristow from Alias with his grim aspect and habit of keeping dark secrets mingled with a fierce (if sometimes oddly expressed) love of his daughter, and Jared is GUH and Jared/Cla ...more
Rusty's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
I'm finished. Done. Turned the last page.

And I'm so glad.

What a royal waste of time it would have been better spent sleeping cos yup this book was as boring as watching paint dry lol.

For a long time I've been excited about the premise of this book and ordered it from my library being very excited to read it. While it did start off promising with the promise of shocking revelations to come, the book soon went down and by the end it fell flat on its face.

Okay the characters. Finn had so much pot
Jul 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
Basically, it's Escape From New York, except with fantasy instead of post-apocalyptic trappings. The characters are stock, and the action is propelled along by a lack of information and dull action setpieces that transpire without any real sense of excitement or danger. I never got a visceral—or even bare-bones visual—sense of what the living/mechanical/whatever prison of Incarceron is supposed to be like. And, as with far too many YA/fantasy/sci-fi/action/adventure books I've struggled through, ...more
Colleen Houck
I really like the idea of a sentient prison. The mystery of Claudia and her relationship with her father is something my mind worked on through the entire book. Claudia's tutor was my favorite character. ...more
Sadly, I was unable to really get into Incarceron, let alone finish it. (Gave up on page 221) The main problem with the story was believability. Incarceron is a self-sustaining prison experiment that is in a secret location and sealed off from the rest of the world. Presumably the prison holds the normal thugs, rapists and thieves. But it also holds political dissenters and volunteers. Volunteers to…. Well this, like many other things, was never actually explained. The idea is interesting, but I ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Amber Gibson for

Above all, Time is forbidden. From now on nothing will change.

After the Years of Rage, King Endor's Decree bans progress, pausing the world in an old-fashioned era of medieval dress and travel by horse-drawn carriage. Though advanced technology exists, it is expressly forbidden, and everyone must abide to Protocol.

Incarceron is an exception to this rule. A prison that some are born into and that nobody ever escapes, Incarceron is not a building, but a
Seth T.
This prison is alive.

That pretty much sums up Incarceron's selling point. It's probably even a better marketing line than the book's actual hook, "a prison like no other"—which could really mean just about anything, from a prison made of pineapples and everything-bagels to a prison in which the cells are made of popular song lyrics to a prison that is an exact replica of the First Continental Congress. At least with "This prison is alive," you have a pretty good idea of what's special about the
Ashley Daviau
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I found this book a bit slow to start, I did end up thoroughly enjoying it! I thought the world building was truly great and loved the world that the author created. And the concept of the prison being alive really intrigued me as I haven't read anything quite like it before. I also very much enjoyed that it was a fantasy/steam punk novel, I rarely come across them and I do so enjoy them! The story took many twists and turns and kept me guessing as to what would happen next. And then th ...more
Mar 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow this book is one hell of a ride. Non stop intensity, suspense, and action. Frankly, not only is it a great book it would be an awesome movie. This craziness made for a great twisted plot but did leave a bit to be desired when it came to characterization.

This book is about a melding of 2 worlds. Finn from the prison Incarceron, and Claudia from 'Outside' who also happens to be the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron come into contact through a communication device in the shape of a crystal
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give half-stars, because this is really 3 1/2.

I thought the ideas in this book were rich and innovative, and the plot twists near the end were what made me round the rating up to 4 stars instead of rounding down. I definitely want to read the sequel to find out where this story goes. (Update: I recently moved my rating down to 3 stars because as time has gone by I stopped caring about reading the sequel! Just didn't resonate with me, I guess.)

The big negative for me was that this
Elizabeth Ross
Jul 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1-star
"Only the man who knows freedom can define his prison."

Do you know those blurbs that sound really interesting and make you really curious about a story, just for you to end up disappointed when you actually read the story itself? That's Incarceron's blurb. And yes, I've already find blurbs more interesting than this one, but still. It was intriguing and I was curious to read the story. But then I read it and I wish I hadn't.

Let's start with the plot. It is so freaking dull I am surprised I
Original Review HERE

Incarceron is a vast, encompassing prison. Instead of steel bars and cell blocks, however, Incarceron is a world in itself; it is a metal world where nothing is created nor wasted, where stars and sky are near forgotten fairy tales, where all live in a cutthroat world, fighting for food and survival. Even more than that, Incarceron is alive – it observes everything that goes on within its walls, it’s red seeing eye omnipresent to the mortals within. Incarceron is all they hav
The prison Incarceron reminds me a lot of HAL, the space ship's board computer of Kubrick's "Space Odyssey": Both are fitted out with artificial intelligence and go rogue.

Incarceron takes place in the future. 160 years ago a king decided that cutting off mankind from its strive after one technological improvement after the next would end greed, war and the slow crumbling of society. So he forbid time and progress and switched everything back to an era long passed: An age, when people traveled o
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

If there is one thing I've learned over the years, it's that life is too short to spend on books and things that you aren't enjoying.

DNF @ 19%.

Some people will love "Incarceron". Hell, lots of my friends already do. And I can understand why - it's a pretty unique concept and (so far) doesn't rely 100% on insta-love, romantic plot triangles, and stupid characters. And for people who love steampunk, there's that as well.

But, it really doesn't have the things I like to read in a book.
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youngadult, fantasy
So, a couple of my friends have RAVED about this book, so I thought I'd give it a try. First couple of pages, "La La La, this seems all right, don't know what the fuss is a- WHAT THE?!"

This was a wild and crazy book. Tense. Intricate. Claustrophobic. (So very, VERY claustrophobic.) Basically, in a future where even the moon shows the scars from many wars, peace has been made by taking all the unsavory elements and putting them into a giant, sentient prison. On the outside, people live in a semb
Amber J
I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler-free way. Unfortunately, there is still always a risk of slight spoilers despite my best efforts. If you feel something in my review is a spoiler please let me know. Thank you.

So I really wanted to give this book a 4 star, but after three-fourths of this book being 2.5 stars and only the last fourth being amazing, I just couldn't justify such a high rating. This book took a really long time to get into. I considered not finishing it more
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, but I have always been into reading fairytales and although they don't live happily ever after, this book reads like a fairytale. It's a very imaginative, original and engrossing story that is vividly written with great characters. It has action and suspense, but no romance (thank God, no love-triangle!).I loved every second of it and although I didn't want to rush through it and enjoy it to the fullest, I couldn't put it down until I reached the last page. It' ...more
Mr Brightside
I remember reading this in middle school and really liking it for how unique it was. While I haven't had a chance to reread it and see if my opinion is still the same. But overall I remember liking it because of the blend of genres. I will say that the one thing I didn't really care for was the romance between Finn and Claudia but it is what it is. I liked reading both perspectives but I will say I did like reading Claudia's perspective a little bit more. I like that new age and how she's learni ...more
Sep 20, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was okay - I kept waiting to get sucked into it but that never happened. While I could imagine the intimidating world of Incarceron, it never really struck me as altogether terrifying or mystifying. There was a lot of action, almost too much at some points. The characters weren't defined strongly enough for me, and I never sympathized with any of them.

Overall this book just wasn't for me - I would recommend it to fantasy or science-fiction lovers, however. Not exactly a fan of Catherin
Feb 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Wow! It was VERY imaginative! It took me a little bit to figure out what the heck was going on. But then I got into it. It was a bit long but fun.
Brigid ✩
Mar 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia
3.5 Stars ... And I may bump it down to 3. I'm not sure yet. I have pretty mixed feelings. The concept was really cool, and the world-building had a lot of interesting elements (although a lot of things about it were kind of vague/confusing). I felt like the plot itself was kind of clichéd though, and I didn't find the characters very compelling. I think I'll still read the sequel though.

Full review coming eventually!
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Catherine Fisher was born in Newport, Wales. She graduated from the University of Wales with a degree in English and a fascination for myth and history. She has worked in education and archaeology and as a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Glamorgan. She is a Fellow of the Welsh Academy.

Catherine is an acclaimed poet and novelist, regularly lecturing and giving readings to groups o

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