Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book Review: Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

As I was purchasing books for my daughter for Christmas, I noticed a lot of hyp for Catherine Fisher's new novel Sapphique. I sounded intriguing. But I figured I'd better read the first book in the series before I delved into it, so I purchased Incarceron.

Incarceron takes place in a far future world where the privialged few have reverted back to Victorian-type living and the rif-raff and rejects of society have all been taken care of so life will be grand. These less desireables have be placed in a large self-sustaining prison that is supposed to provide them with an almost paradisical environment and give them everything they need. But life in the fake Victorian setting is anything but grand, and life within Incarceron is far from paradise. Claudia lives on the outside, destined for an undesirable arranged marraige. She feels her true husband to be, and the real prince has been wrongfully locked up in Incarceron. Quin lives on the inside. He feels he belongs on the outside and begins a quest to find a way out, something no one has accomplished, except for the legendary Sapphique.

The story was very difficult to get in to. If I hadn't purchased the book, I'm afraid I would have given up at page 100 and never finished it. True, it is a fantasy and had need of a fair amount of world building, but it shouldn't take me until page 150  to put the pieces together and make sense of the setting and characters. Perhaps an excess of literary descriptions slowed down the process for me. But I had to admit, once I waded through the flowery descriptions and cemented the characters and settings in my mind, I really began to enjoy the story. After page 200, I couldn't put the book down. I will most likely read the next in the series, Sapphique. But I'll wait for it to become available in my local library.

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