Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron is every criminal’s worst nightmare: a sentient, ever evolving prison that morphs and grows according to its dark needs. Prisoners are born, live, love, fight and die in its depths like fleas on an infinite dog. Like the Christian hell, it is endless and full of nothing but sadness and pain. Originally intended to be a utopian miracle of technological reform where criminals would be reborn and remade, the prison instead grew a cold intelligence and turned on it’s makers and the poor creatures trapped within it. Those on the Outside, in a parallel universe where humans have chosen to live like medieval villagers in an attempt to escape the anxiety of change and technology, still believe it is a paradise, while those who languish within do nothing but dream of escape. Only one man knows the truth about Incarceron—it’s warden John Arlex. He possesses one of two crystal keys that allows communication between his world and the galaxy of the prison. Despite his best efforts to keep it hidden, it falls into the hands of his clever daughter, Claudia, who quickly uncovers its powers. She discovers she can use it to speak to a scrappy, desperate inmate named Finn, who has found the other key and claims to have been born Outside. They soon find out that they share a secret that could undo the crushing bonds of both their worlds, but first they must engineer Finn’s impossible escape. But Incarceron loves its son Finn. It doesn’t want him to go. And did I mention that no one has ever escaped? Like, EVER? This astonishingly original sci-fi thriller is like a grimmer, grown-up version of The Giver—only with lots more blood, guts, and breathless escapes. Seamlessly melding  philosophy, politics, culture and mythology, this super smart fantasy is like nothing I’ve ever read before, and it will have you in it’s iron grip from page 1. There’s tons of cool twists–just when you think you’ve got it figured out, the plot takes a 180–and I just WISH I could see your face when you find out just where Incarceron is, and how it was created. SO COOL! Count this fab fantasy one of my first major favs of 2010.

20 thoughts on “Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

  1. I had read another review of this somewhere else and had decided to skip reading it, but I have to say your review is making me rethink my decision. 😀 thanks Jen

  2. I am a little more than half way through the book right now. I’ve been trying to decide where Incarceron is located. I figured it was going to be a shocking!
    Thanks for the review.

  3. This was one of my favorite books probably ever! It is a must read. For those who read the reviews that said that it was hard to connect with the characters, it’s not! I felt like I was in they’re footsteps. I recommend this book to any and all. 🙂

  4. Am putting it on my to read list for next month. I remember looking at it when my library’s copy came in and I didn’t have time for it then, and after your review, I am definitely looking forward to reading it.

  5. It seems all I ever do this day is troll around the web finding positive INCARCERON reviews and leaving “Yes! Yes! YES!!!” comments on every one. I’m currently reading this one for the third time as I read it out loud to my son, and I think there’s a good chance that when we’re done he’ll want to tackle the sequel SAPPHIQUE as well. Great stuff.

  6. R.J.,

    Yep, it’s a winner. Loved it, so inventive! Good to know it stands up under repeated readings:)

  7. Just finished and love, love, love this. Loved the mythology. Loved that its science fiction. Hate that I have to wait till December for the sequel!

  8. Liz, I know, I know! Really inventive storytelling, I have always been a Fisher fan since the Oracle Prophecies.

  9. I can’t wait to see what the kiddos think. I just gave it to my first reader. I’ll be reading this one with some teachers. They tend to dismiss fantasy over here and I know this one will change their thinking! Looking forward to the sequel.

  10. Maybe its just me, but I was really disappointed with this book… I was expecting it to be really imaginative and intriguing and… well, amazing, but it fell extremely short of my expectations. The characters were really flat, the plot was extremely predictable… I was just plain bored reading it. It wasn’t great, I’ve read better books and yet I’ve read books that were far worse.

  11. Sorry this one was not a hit for you, Emma. Hopefully you’ll be able to find something else you enjoy on Reading Rants!

  12. I loved it,so creative. When I saw it at the libary I just thought oh what the heck, why not .After reading FIVE hours later(from front to back all 464 delicious page) I biked the THREE miles to the libary full-speed ahead and ran breathlessly into the wrong section. So i had to run around until i asked for help but it was worth it all loved it

  13. After reading it, I was not quite as blown away as I was after finishing The Hunger Games for the first time, but I was rather intrigued. I actually bumped it up my reading list because I wanted to get it before it was unavailable from the library for months on end (as I type, it is, yet again, not on the shelf – I looked.) Certainly looking forward to Sapphique whenever it comes our way, and I’ve added it to my recommended reading list for all those fans of Hunger Games and fantasy/adventure stories.

  14. I just finsihed reading Incarceron tonight. This is one AMAZING book the plot was great! I didnt really understand what was going on until the 100th page but then once it clicked i just couldnt get enough! I wish there was a second book to this because what happens to The Warden, Attia and Keiro? wow such a great book!

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