Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Review: Incarceron

{Note: I've heard rumors that "Incarceron" is soon to be a movie, starring Taylor Lautner. Not sure if it's legit, but I might look into it some more and let you know ;)}

Title: Incarceron
Author: Catherine Fisher
Stars: 3.5
Less-Than-500-Word Review in Short: “Incarceron” is a completely original and fascinating tale, however the plot and character development could have been improved.
Back-of-the-Book: “Incarceron is a prison unlike any other: Its inmates live not only in cells, but also in metal forests and dilapidated cities. The prison has been sealed for centuries. Only one man, legend says, has ever escaped.
Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, can’t remember his childhood and believes he came from Outside. He’s going to escape, even though most inmates don’t believe Outside even exists. Then Finn finds a crystal key and through it, a girl named Claudia.
Claudia claims to live Outside—her father’s the Warden of Incarceron and she’s doomed to an arranged marriage. If she helps Finn escape, she’ll need his help in return.
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.
Because Incarceron’s alive.”

I Say: It’s rare to find a book that’s truly original. You can put an original spin on Cinderella; you can write a fantasy with vampires as good guys; you can create futuristic gadgets that MAYBE no one has thought of; but it feels like almost everything—in one way or another—has been done.

Fisher found something that has not been done before. “Incarceron” was so imaginative and original that I felt I was hearing a story for the first time. There was always more to learn, more to understand, because you couldn’t see anything coming any more than the baffled characters could. Fisher surprised me again and again.

However, Fisher fell a bit into the trap of SHOCKING CLIMAX after SHOCKING CLIMAX, almost to the point where the reader was tired of being surprised. Although the book can’t be called too short, it felt like the pacing was off.

Other things that kept me from loving the book: 1) The story is so original that it’s difficult to understand immediately. You spend the first hundred pages trying to figure out how society works, what so-and-so means, and what this-and-that is. Some of this might be intentional, but I found it a little jarring.

2) I didn’t think the character development was completely…developed. The main characters (with the exception of Claudia and maybe Keiro) fell flat. No one had a catch-phrase, an especially unique personality, or a well-developed internal conflict.

Still, those things might improve after a second read. Once I know the story, it might not feel like SHOCKING CLIMAX after SHOCKING CLIMAX. Once I’m familiar with the society, it might not seem as frustrating trying to understand. Then once I don’t have to concentrate so hard on the lingo and plot, I can focus more on the characters themselves. Maybe then they won’t fall flat.

I Liked:
- Original
- Thought-provoking

I Didn’t Like:
- Poor character development
- Lack of tight plot

Audience: “Incarceron” is appropriate for all ages content-wise, but it’s possible younger kids wouldn’t enjoy it because it’s confusing and not always immediately exciting.

I think “Incarceron” is worth the read!

1 comment: