By: Jenna Hathaway
By: Catherine Fisher
What would it feel to spend your entire life since birth in prison? Or worse, knowing that you once belonged outside the prison but now you remember nothing of it? Incarceron tells the story of a giant prison—and by that I mean really huge because it’s like a world of its own. There are people living in all corners of it, people who have made journeys from one end to another, taking months and never really finding the edge of the prison, let alone the way out. In a futuristic world, Incarceron was designed to become paradise; where the worst people in the world were thrown together to be rehabilitated and start their new—presumably better—lives. No one else ever goes in, and no one ever comes out either. It’s a world of its own, being watched only by one person who has the key to entering it; the Warden of Incarceron.
Even by reading this description no doubt you already know it’s a bad idea. A secluded world populated by the worst criminals of the world? And they expect those people to be successfully rehabilitated and live in their new paradise with no contact with the outside world? Yeah… that doesn’t seem likely, does it? From our hero Finn’s eyes we get to see that life in Incarceron is horrible. Everyone fights one another, and there are violent groups of people who try to protect their territory and rob and kill others.
Finn belongs to one such group, but he has always yearned to get out. Others believed he was born in the prison, by the prison—oh, did I forget that Incarceron is alive? It watches its prisoners and can even talk to them, and recycles everything. Every death becomes another birth, including new people. But even though Finn’s earliest memory was waking up in the prison with no recollection of who he was except for some numbers that were meant to identify him, he believed he was born out there. He was given the name Starseer because he has visions; allegedly of Sapphique, the only person who has ever successfully made the journey out of Incarceron. Inside the prison, Sapphique is a legend and worshipped by the inmates, many of which hoping they could retrace his steps.
Outside, a girl named Claudia finds herself trapped in an unwanted pending marriage to the Queen’s arrogant son. She may hold the title of future Queen in her hands, but she doesn’t want any of it. She hates the world outside just as much as Finn hates being inside, because the King has decreed that time be stopped; that everyone should live in the selected era and adhere to its ways of living, with no progress, no new technology and no inventions. Change has been halted. When both Claudia and Finn come into possession of a strange key that seems to enable them to communicate with each other from outside and within the prison, their journey to uncovering an intricate plot that will reveal Finn’s true identity begins.
Incarceron is one of those books which genre is hard to pin down. It’s sort of dystopia, fantasy, sci-fi, and steampunk all rolled into one. Maybe it’s the ‘indecisiveness’ that throws people off the story a little. I find it engaging enough, but sometimes difficult to get into especially in the beginning because very little information about the world is divulged and we’re left to discover things little by little on our own as we continue reading. It’s interesting enough, and the twists are sometimes predictable yet sometimes surprising, so for those who like this kind of mixed genre, it might just be a good read.
Topic: Reviews Tags: book, jenna hathaway, reviews