Monday, August 6, 2012

Incarceron - Review


By: Catherine Fisher

Published: January 26th 2010 by Dial (first published May 3rd 2007)

442 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells, but also metal forests, dilapidated cities, and vast wilderness. Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, has no memory of his childhood and is sure that he came from Outside Incarceron. Very few prisoners believe that there is an Outside, however, which makes escape seems impossible.

And then Finn finds a crystal key that allows him to communicate with a girl named Claudia. She claims to live Outside- she is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, and doomed to an arranged marriage. Finn is determined to escape the prison, and Claudia believes she can help him. But they don't realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost more than they know.

Incarceron, oh Incarceron. The originality of the idea of a prison being alive and a few of its inmates planning to escape is what drew me into this book. It’d been on my TBR list ever since the first time I saw the cover and read the description. However, the idea didn’t pan out as well as I’d hoped.

I’ve been finished with Incarceron for several days now, but I’m still finding it hard to put my thoughts into words. More importantly, words just aren’t coming to me. The pacing of the book felt slow. I wasn’t really hooked. I forced myself to keep reading hoping that eventually I would get hooked. There were small pieces that kept me interested to see if they were going to hook me, but they never really did. Like a string being dangled in front of a cat—I kept pawing at it, but I was never really able to grab on.

Other than the pacing feeling incredibly slow, the swapping of narrators was also a bit…annoying for me in this one. Sometimes I love books that swap narrators, but it has to be done just right. Incarceron doesn’t land into that group for me. Not to mention that I never really connected with any of the characters on an emotional level.

But above all of that, probably the biggest criticism I have for my experience with this book was that I had a hard time picturing what I was reading. It’s almost torture for me to read a (storytelling) book I cannot picture in my head. I wondered if maybe it was because the story included so many elements that I haven’t personally experienced in my life, but then I figured out that wasn’t it. Because believe it or not, I’ve never experienced a wizarding world such as was created in the lovely Harry Potter series (and plenty of others) in my real life. So that leaves me with the author’s descriptions/writing to blame for this. Plus we all know that I’m not a fan of “portals” (alternate worlds, dimensions, universes—not to be confused with other planets or different worlds entirely. I think it’s the travel aspect that bothers me more than anything.) discussed in my review of Wilde's Fire.

So yeah. I mean I didn’t hate the book, I just really don’t have much “feeling” toward it at all. It won’t be one I want to re-read. It probably won’t be one I remember very much about as the years go on and I read more and more. And while I’m completely OCD about finishing a series if I’ve started one, I honestly have no desire to pick up book 2, Sapphique. Incarceron ended in a way that I honestly felt closure with it. And while I’m also OCD about reading the first chapter of the next book if it’s included at the end (and was the case this time as well), I didn’t even feel the slightest pull towards reading Chapter 1 of Sapphique.

I know there are people out there that loved this book, and while I’m glad they were able to enjoy it, this book just wasn’t for me. Have you read Incarceron? What did you think? Let me know! (2.9 Stars)


  1. You captured my thoughts about Incarceron exactly. I couldn't get into it, and besides the pacing problems, I think a big part of it was that I just couldn't picture any of it. For a book where the setting is so important - almost like a living character - you'd think the author could give us a better picture of what it's like in there.

    I was disappointed that such a good idea for a book was executed in a way that made it so... meh. I'm glad someone else shares my opinion!

    1. It's definitely nice when someone else feels the same way about a book that you do. Especially when others seem to like it so much. You make a great point about the prison being such an important part that it's almost like a separate character and not being able to picture it just doesn't work.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Bummer..the synopsis grabbed me as this was new to me...but your attempts at trying to get into the book..have me steering clear..since I like you keep trying to connect. I need to learn to DNF but sadly i always fear missing something. Awesome review, with valid points.

    1. I know, right! It was such a promising concept. I've only ever DNF'd one book and that was more because of formatting than anything else. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!