I love this book with a mad passion I could hardly even tell you why, except that the concept of the living and sentient prison that s a whole world in itself is amazing, and the blend of the fantastical fairy tale historical and the high tech aspects of Claudia s world fascinated me, and the Warden reminds me of Jack Bristow from Alias with his grim aspect and habit of keeping dark secrets mingled with a fierce if sometimes oddly expressed love of his daughter, and Jared is GUH and Jared Claudia makes me all kinds of happy even though it s only lightly implied and I have no guarantee it s going to go that way.Boy, that was an incoherent review But you get the idea. Where to begin I just loved this book so much Reading it was like drinking a white chocolate mocha, oh so delicious Maybe I m really weird, but I ve always thought prisons were kind ofcool Not the modern day kind, but the medieval types Strange, maybe, but I just find dungeons really interesting ANYWAY, Incarceron is the ULTIMATE prison It s alive, and it has a perosonality, which is just so unbelievably awesome I must admit, the twists were very predictable, but I didn t mind, because the plot is so rich with fun and original things, from metal forests to flying ships, living, breathing storms, and interesting characters The POV is switched mainly between Finn and Claudia, but also jumps to the secondary characters like Jared, Keiro, and Attia I loved getting the different perspectives, especially since each of them has a very distinct personality, some so unlikable they became likable I guess you could say the book is pretty dark, what with chaining people up and treating them like dogs, but this darkness is overshadowed, because Finn is not alone he has friends At first, he questions whether or not his two companions actually care about him at all, thinking they re using him only as a means to escape the prison etc.., but over the course of the novel, as the characters grow,he realizes that they really are his friends they may not be perfect, but they do care about him What I can t stand is when a character has no friends IMO, a book is only really too dark when the main character is alone But Finn isn t alone, and there s always the hope of escape Action is on almost every page, and if not action, there s serious character interaction going on Since it s hard to get a feel for how the characters really ARE on the inside, it was always so exciting hearing their conversations with each other and seeing how they helped each other in dangerous situations, because I could never be sure what was coming next, how they would react The characters were unpredictable, but not inconsitent they felt extremely real, and their emotions were raw I could relate to each of them, despite their extreme differences Outside of the prison, we get somewhat of a breather from the non stop intensity with Claudia, the prison warderns daughter She wasn t unlikable, but I can t say I really loved her, either She was real, though, which made me actually CARE what happened to her She had good characteristics to balance out the bad ones, though Her protectiveness of Jared, her tutor, was honest and kind of cute I got the feeling Jared really LOVED her..LOVED her LOVED her I know he s older than her and all, but what really annoys me is that Fisher never actually says how old he is He could be anywhere from 20 to 40 She should have at least narrowed it down Also, his disease She should have explained that , because it seems kind of randomunless it comes up in the next book From where I stand, though, it seems kind of pointless, since the story doesn t really need any sadness The writing was smooth and not distractingnothing remarkable, but good I was dragged in from the very first sentence, because I HAD to know what would happen next Not only in relation to the plot, but in realtion to the characters I kept thinkingIs he really as bad as he seems Or, Is she really as nice as she seems It was excitingenthrallingintensecreativeand just really cool Plus, Fisher doesn t sugar coat things I ve seen read tons of characters who wake up with no memories whatsoever, and they usually act normal, just getting up and walking straight into life as if nothing is wrong That always pissed me off I meanif I woke up with no memories at all I think I d probably be at least a little creeped out, if not terrified I d be sad, at least With Finn, finally, I get my realistic reaction Waking up in a dark, dirty, prison cell with no memorieswhat do you do Cry yourself into a vomiting fit, yes Get up and explore while humming a cheerful tune, no So, thank you, Catherine Fisher, for making it realistic Also, if someone had their mind wiped, you d think it would have some type of effect on their brain With Finn, with each memory that tries to wriggle back into his mind, he suffers seizures, which ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE OH MY GOD Something realistic Thank you SO MUCH Basically, I adore this bookI need to read it again asap. Incarceron A Futuristic Prison, Sealed From View, Where The Descendants Of The Original Prisoners Live In A Dark World Torn By Rivalry And Savagery It Is A Terrifying Mix Of High Technology A Living Building Which Pervades The Novel As An Ever Watchful, Ever Vengeful Character, And A Typical Medieval Torture Chamber Chains, Great Halls, Dungeons A Young Prisoner, Finn, Has Haunting Visions Of An Earlier Life, And Cannot Believe He Was Born Here And Has Always Been Here In The Outer World, Claudia, Daughter Of The Warden Of Incarceron, Is Trapped In Her Own Form Of Prison A Futuristic World Constructed Beautifully To Look Like A Past Era, An Imminent Marriage She Dreads She Knows Nothing Of Incarceron, Except That It Exists But There Comes A Moment When Finn, Inside Incarceron, And Claudia, Outside, Simultaneously Find A Device A Crystal Key, Through Which They Can Talk To Each Other And So The Plan For Finn S Escape Is Born I finished this book last night but waited till this morning to review it Had I not, I suspect that the review would have been a bit vitriolic.I ve run on several mediocre YA novels recently and that not only disappoints me, but gives me pause maybe I m getting harder to please Having just gone through the Percy Jackson series and found it disappointing and reading a book by Tamora Pierce which I found mostly stultifyingly dull, I was rooting for this one Unfortunately it just didn t workout, at least for me I m a fantasy fan so, while the reality in this book requires some heavy duty suspension of belief, that s not in itself an insurmountable problem The biggest problem s is are in the story itself and the characters who populate it Most of the people here I just either couldn t care about, or I just didn t like Finn wasn t too bad except for the failings everyone has here, but Claudia Claudia is petulant yes I said petulant , willful, somewhat thoughtless and then when you roll all that up and make her thoughtlessness grow into either stupidity or foolishness it can bethan a person can bear I know you don t ask for reality in a fantasy story, but there has to be a certain reality a form of logic within a book s own reality Time and time again Claudia does things that had she really done them, the story would have ended early in some form of disaster for her and or her tutor Some times she makes anlets be kind, an unwise decision, and it just sort of goes unnoticed or something, the ax never falls.There are problems with the story telling itself also Several times for example there is a tense situation, something is crashing or exploding and debris is falling all around, danger is everywhere Or, possibly the characters are somewhere and enemies, guards etc are closing in and something must be done Or, their barricaded in a room and the battering ram is smashing down the doorwe have to do something and do it NOW And you ll get a line like this he she stood staring off into the distance for several minutes, saying nothing What Oh come on.All in all the book escapes the one star rating as I ve read worse, but I don t plan to follow the series If you enjoyed the book I m really happy for you, I really wanted to like the book, but it just left me cold and by a little over half way through I was simply skipping ahead sorry.Some of this it will be argued is simply characteristics of a given character , but if the action continues throughout the book, thoughtless action after unwise decision it gets old, not endearing or cute or brave I was just tired by books end Maybe you won t see the book this way but I just didn t like it At this point, I have oneYA book, that I ve been asked to read by someone, and then I think I may do some nonfiction only reading for a while and after that get to some of the books that I ve been wanting to read for months or years that aren t for reading groups etc The ones on my own shelves Some adult level, non YA reading as it were Maybe I m just burned out. If Incarceron was a school subject, it would definitely be science I love science, I find it fascinating, but I m not very good at it kind of like this reading experience First of all, this book is fascinating, captivating, the type of story that sticks with you to the point that you re forgetting everything else you have to do because you re so obsessed over what happens next But, on the other hand, it s really confusing, and to be honest, I had a hard time digesting all the intricacies of the plot I would respectfully point out that this book is way closer to Science Fiction Fantasy than just regular Fantasy be prepared for lots of technology and science Okay, so in a nutshell how about I go ahead and set the stage for you, and maybe save your brain some racking I have no idea if this is supposed to be Earth or if this is an entirely fictional universe, but whatever it is, it s sometime in the future after a major war has taken place Sounds pretty Dystopian 101, right Well, this society decides to halt progress of any kind technological, mostly and return to a simpler way of life thus the society is 18th century based, with some contraband technology thrown in sidenote I really, really do love this concept I love the blending of the old with the new COOLMeanwhile, the powers that be created Incarceron an experimental prison that they populated with criminals, political prisoners, and all other kinds of undesirables I say prison because it s not the bars and cells kind that you see in Man in the Iron Mask or Count of Monte Cristoit slike a hellish society One of these prisoners, a 17 year old boy named Finn, truly believes that he does not belong in Incarceron he is convinced that he came from Outside When he finds a Key that allows him to communicate with a girl on the outside, Finn launches a desperate escape plot all the while attempting to unravel the secrets of his past From page 1, Incarceron hits the ground running I can definitely say that there are no dull points in this riveting, action packed story I think, though, that the fast paced action comes at the expense of character and story development There s so much action in this story, but it seems like you learn things in fragments But hey, this book is incredibly fast paced and so you don t stay in the dark for long D I really liked the two main characters, Finn and Claudia, and I thought that their respective storylines were pretty interesting I loved seeing their separate lives start to blend and was definitely cheering for them the whole way As usual, I m divided on the supporting characters Because there s so much action in this 400 book, characterization seemed to take a backseat That s not to say that characters weren t developed they just didn t really seem explored Incarceron seems like a very psychological novel, and I honestly could have done within depth character exploration And Finn and Keiro s weird, warped relationship confused me Keiro was just aggravating through and through So to summarize VERY GOOD characters they re all interesting and useful to the plot no filler characters, in other words SOMEWHAT LACKING on how these characters are explored and their emotional development Final Rating 4.3 in between my 4 and 4.5 star rating I know, I can t make up my mind Incarceron is an awesome plot with great characters, but it could have been better explained and explored. Disclaimer It was hard to convey my overall views on this book I feel like this review is very much a I can t put my fingers on what was wrong type of review, so I apologize if it seems rather chaotic Incarceron is a book with some interesting ideas, and some intensely visual imagery Catherine Fisher put some imagination into crafting this story, and I tip my hat to the author for that However, my overall feeling after finishing it is disappointment Unfortunately, there were aspects that worked for me, but as a whole creation, I wasn t impressed.One could argue that the disconnect might be due to having listened to this on audio, but I don t think that is the cause I liked the narrator, and this would have been apleasant listening experience if everything had madesense and tied togetherfluidly My biggest issue I felt that the ideas didn t come together coherently I continued to listen, hoping that I would gain that clarity I was seeking Sadly, further listening didn t correct this deficit, and I gained little to no further evolution in my understanding Unfortunately, my interest level suffered as a result.I never realized the author s end goal here I realize this is a series, but I am a big believer that books in a series should end in such a way that they are self contained, even if one doesn t continue the series I hate that emotional blackmail of a cliffhanger ending or feeling I need to readto get that total picture It leaves a sour taste in my mouth I think Fisher is a good writer when it comes to imagery and ideas But the overall plotting and story structure of this novel was weak, in my opinion Perhaps I am being too harsh, but this is my overall perception Expectations are a powerful thing For me, at least, they can make or break a book I found myself wantingthan I was getting from this story because of the interesting ideas stimulating my imagination to believe in its potential That was an emotional failing for this book On an analytical level, I felt as though my thought processes were pulled in too many directions, like a flow chart that goes all wonky and it never gets to the final destination Instead, I was on a wild goose chase to find out the overall point of the story Other Things I Want to Touch On 1 I really liked the concept of the self aware prison that had developed its own ecosystem and many generations of inhabitants The idea of the prison recycling its inhabitants and using inorganic components when necessary was rather twisted, but it makes sense The prison as a great experiment microcosm does shine light on the inherent flaws of any so called utopian ideal, which I believe is doomed to fail, due to the flawed aspects of human nature 2 I liked the idea of the lost prince who finds himself living as a pauper, with a secret destiny that calls him to something bigger 3 There are mystical aspects with the legendary Sapphique, who is the only person who has successfully escaped the prison But I was left with a big question mark that felt like a set up for the next book As I said, that is a Major pet peeve of mine.4 The concept that a futuristic group of peoples might reject the ideals of scientific progress and retreat to the classic archaic modes of living that gave me something to think about, and I felt it was pretty clever 5 I loved Claudia s relationship with her teacher, Jared Jared is probably one of my favorite characters, in fact Their relationship was a substitute father daughter bond teamed with a level of deep friendship and mutual respect This was one of the most well developed relationships in the book, and part of why I would give this book three stars rather than 2.75 stars, which I was leaning toward doing On the downside, I wanted to know what his chronic illness was That lack of explanation really nagged at me as I read about his symptoms suffering.6 I liked Attia a lot She was feisty, resourceful, and loyal She turned out to be a lotcomplex character than I expected I would have liked her as a romantic interest for someone, be it Finn, Keiro, or even Jared since I get the feeling he s not that much older than Claudia Maybe ten years or so.5 Finn and Claudia were okay I agree with my GRs friend Zeek in that they never really touched me Claudia fell flat as a character, and Finn neededfleshing out I was okay with the romantic possibilities between them, but I probably neededromantic tension if that was the author s goal to develop their relationship in this direction.6 Keiro was annoying and unlikable for most of this book The reveal about his anxieties and self doubt didn t endear him to me, because it was came too late and too abruptly His motivations didn t speak to me at all He seemed like a shallow, self serving bully who only cared about two things 1 Himself and 2 Finn I do think he cared about Finn, and that was his saving grace in my mind.Overall, I can t really cheer for this book It left me feeling rather flat and ambivalent, with an If Only feeling Sometimes you wantthan a book can deliver Such was the case here Will I read the next book I m not in a hurry to do so If it shows up at my library on audio, perhaps. Abandoned at about page 90.Reasons general disinterest in the story, the fantasy world and the characters fates unappealing writing style strong suspicions that Finn is the dead prince painful flashbacks of The Maze Runner, Matrix, Robocop and some apocalyptic B grade movies whose names I can t recall.Lessons learned science fantasy might not be my cup of tea. How many different forms of imprisonment are there How irrevocable are they What does living in that kind of prison do I admire Incarceron for trying something that felt a bit new, and I generally enjoyed the story I m not sure I d go back to reread it, though, so that s my personal line for a four star book But although this is a three star review, it s worth checking out.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook Year by year Incarceron tightened its grip It made a hell of what should have been Heaven Loved revisiting this world I read this first when I was in my teens and I remember enjoying it wholeheartedly years later and that opinion hasn t changed Claudia lives in a dystopian future, where there have been such advances in technology and science, but the leaders have chosen to keep the world frozen in history They have chosen a medieval time period, and everything must be kept in era.Meanwhile, Finn lives in Incarceron A vast and terrifying prison, where no one can escape, and the prison itself is growing, and learning, and destroying The only person supposedly to have escaped is Sapphique a legend with an entire belief system built around him.I loved this world, it is unlike any I ve come across before It is clever, and believable I found Claudia pretty damn irritating most of the time, but I loved Finn and his oathbrother Keiro, and their friend Attia.Overall a solid old school YA I found it difficult to enjoy Incarceron at first.You know that saying, Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it Ya, this is Incarceron all over.So there s two worlds in this one story There s the real world and the Incarceron world.The real world is a futuristic world with fantastical technologies which are not used much because the King of that world decided that change was bad, progress demeaning and invention unsafe So he reverted the whole world to a pre regency era and forced everyone to act out his weird fantasy.Okay, first of all, this worked SO well when China did it a few hundred years ago Yeah They really benefited from that one Second of all, it s not like the pre regency era was full of ecstatically happy people either Sad to say but the idea was just dumb Dumb, dumb, dumb.Then you have the Incarceron world which is basically a giant prison where people from the real world sent their thieves, poor people and miscreants Okay, first of all, once again, been there, done that I live in Australia okay This idea is not new Did it make England a happier place No Did it mean that Australia is some demented country full of criminals and wargangs that are bloodthirsty and ruthless Okay, totally not going to answer thatNo, Australia is great Wonderful place and we didn t have all the technology and resources they packed into this place I mean, seriously HOW COULD YOU FAIL They stuck us on this dry, barren continent with pretty much NOTHING Did you know that in the entire fleet that landed in Australia to settle, there was not a single farmer There was almost no trades people, or anybody who knew ANYTHING about livestock, working the land, mining or anything And yet, behold our success So I want to know how these morons fucked up so bad Really, I do.Okay, so other than these two stupid and ridiculous premises, Incarceron is actually a pretty great book I thought at first that all the big surprises were painfully easy to grasp in the first 70 pages but I was wrong I was so wrong I stared open mouthed at the end of the book muttering, Well, flippity doo dah day, you got me there, Fisher Characters are pretty good The two main characters and the big romance aren t really that great They re kind of average and there IS no romance The romance is a lie It s nothing But the other characters are pretty entertaining and interesting.World building is unique and fun.Not much else to say really It was a good read, I enjoyed it I ll read the next one because I want to know what happens I wouldn t say I ABSOLUTELY loved it, but it was pretty good.