Ahhhh! So technically it is after midnight, but I’m going to pretend that I operate on Pacific time, so technically I’ve got some time.
So Incarceron. By Catherine Fisher. First, a quick description. The book follows two main characters, Finn – a prisoner of Incarceron; and Claudia – the daughter of the warden of Incarceron. Now what I am about to write may seem spoilery, but I hardly think it can be since it’s first mentioned in the beginning of the book and then again throughout. I’ll put up a *spoiler* when I get to the part though. Claudia is engaged to the Queen’s son, but this is only because her first engagement (to the King’s son, Giles) ended when Giles died at age 15. Claudia and the King’s son had been engaged since Claudia’s birth. Fastforward 3 years after the death of Giles and that is when the book starts. Claudia is about to be thrown into her wedding to the spoiled and awful Queen’s son (I can’t remember his name). Finn, the prisoner in Incarceron, is about 18 and can’t recall anything that happened to him over 3 years ago. Coincidence, no? Anyways, Finn is looking to escape Incarceron, while Claudia is trying to figure out her father’s secrets and to discover just WHERE Incarceron is.
The setting for this book is in the future, however the people dress and act as if they are in 1700’s or possibly 1800’s. I’m not sure and it’s never specified. I’m sure someone who knows their periods better than me would be able to pinpoint the era these people were aiming for. They are set in this era because some years ago, a couple of centuries they believe, their king decreed that they would freeze themselves in a simpler time in order to survive. I gathered that there had been a great war that had devastated the world (and moon too), which is why the king deemed it necessary to revert their ways.
The time concept seems fascinating to me. However, the way it was executed did not feel right to me. The problem, I think, is that all of the characters knew that they had regressed and were not allowed technology. I’m not sure how this problem would be dealt with successfully – it seems that in order to understand that they had regressed, the technology had to be present, but taboo or something. I doubt many authors could pull this off well.
Another problem I had was the imagery. I felt like a lot of detail was given to the places, but not the characters. Or at least not to Claudia or Finn. I think the most detail was given to Finn’s oathbroather, Keiro, and also to Claudia’s father’s beard. Seriously, I had such a hard time visualizing anything in this book. Usually I don’t even stop and think about what things look like, but with this book, I just stopped and thought about it for a while. It was kind of weird. I think with most books the imagery translates directly to my head and I see the story happening naturally. This was not the case with Incarceron.
But the real problem with this book is that I never cared for any of the characters. The connections between the characters, their relationships, just didn’t jump off the page and engross me. I set the book down numerous times and could have easily not been bothered had I never come back to the book (the only reason I did come back was because I wanted to be a good reporter for my librarians!). Even now that I’m done, I see that this book is only book 1. There is a sequel, Sapphique, which I don’t think I will bother reading (plus I don’t think it’s out in the US, and by the time it does come out, I most definitely will not want to reread to remember).
That’s all I’ve got for you. If you’ve read the book and liked it, speak up in the comments! Maybe I was jaded from the beginning and just didn’t give it a fair chance. Certainly the idea behind the book was fascinating, if not carried out the best it could have been.
P.S. I mean absolutely no disrespect to Catherine Fisher. I will most likely pick up another one of her books, just not Sapphique.
*EDITED TO ADD* So I realize I never put any spoiler alert up. I’m sorry, but I really didn’t spoil anything at all.