Monday, October 25, 2010

Dystopian Fiction Pick

Incarceron (Incarceron, Book 1)

by Catherine Fisher
Dial Books, 2010 (orginally published in Britain in 2007)
442 pages

Provocative, compelling, thrilling, dark, dangerous, gritty, and disturbing. This is a book that I dreamt about for a week after reading it. Not a novel that one will soon forget. Although it takes about thirty pages to set up, from there on, the reader will be enveloped in a fantasy world gone wrong. Creatures beyond description haunt Incarceron's walls.

The setting acts as a character in this dystopian fantasy. Incarceron is a prison that was set up to house the worst of all society--it has been sealed up for centuries and has evolved into a living, breathing, thinking entity. Like Hal, the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the prison takes over. It sees all and knows all. No one has ever escaped except one man; one man who has become a legend, a myth, and a fairy tale. Only Sapphique has escaped and knows the way.

Finn is not like the other prisoners; he remembers Outside. He is sworn to his oath brother Keiro and is tied to Gildas, a Sapienti who seeks the Outside. Because Finn sees visions, he is known as a starseer. He even has dreams of Sapphique leading him from Incarceron.

The warden of Incarceron holds the fate of the prison, and his daughter Claudia will marry and become Queen of the realm. That is, until she finds a key that unlocks Incarceron. Claudia and Finn are able to communicate through this key.

On the Outside, life seems perfect, and it is except that there is no freedom. "We are chained hand and foot...enslaved to a static, empty world where men and women can't read, where scientific advances of the ages are the preserve of the rich, where artists and poets are doomed to endless repititions and sterile reworkings of past masterpieces. Nothing is new. New does not exist. Nothing changes, nothing grows, evolves, develops. Time has stopped. Progress is forbidden." (Incarceron, p. 243)

Once Incarceron is threatened, the realm will tremble.

Book Two: Sapphique due out December 2010.

Highly, highly recommended grades 8-up. May not be suitable for younger readers due to violence. No sex, no language.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I bought this book for my library. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review.

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