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VINE VOICEon 4 September 2010
Having enjoyed Incarceron I was really looking forward to reading Sapphique because I really wanted to find out what happens to the characters and learn more about the world(s) they live in. And yet despite this, I found the book a little hard to get into at first. Largely, I put this down to a complete lack of my favourite character in the series, Keiro, for a good section at the beginning. The start of the story switches between Finn and Claudia - who didn't hold my attention all that much - and Attia. Attia's sections were more interesting and I much prefer her than the other two. Luckily, when Keiro does show up it's in true fashion to his character. It's unexpected, showy and with a big handful of arrogance. I think the reason I particularly like his character is because while the others spend most of the time talking about what they should do or complaining about what's happened, Keiro just gets on and does something - okay, maybe it's not always the right thing that he does but he takes a chance. I also think he's the most amusing - in a dry, sarcastic kind of way - of the characters.

While Finn and Claudia are probably the most obvious 'couple' in this series - and despite Attia obviously having a thing for Finn - I couldn't help shipping Keiro and Attia once they'd teamed up again. They spend half their time bickering in a way that suggests they really don't want to admit they like each other and despite the number of times they say they don't need each other, they never abandon each other.

The middle section of Sapphique picked up and there was a good combination of action and explanations, moving the story on and starting to tie things up. Towards the end though, maybe the final hundred pages or so I found the story starting to drag a little. I still haven't decided if this was that the story was unnecessarily longer than it needed to be or if it was that there was too much information so I just didn't process it all and started to miss bits. I just felt like I was reading just to get to the end at some points.

All in all, I still enjoyed the book and if you've read Incarceron you'll want to know what happens next. The series is an interesting concept but in my opinion, it wasn't executed quite as well as it could have been.
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Catherine Fisher left plenty of plot threads dangling at the end of sci-fantasy thriller "Incarceron." "Sapphique" picks up where the first book left off, answering countless questions and revealing more about the mysterious cyber-prison and the legendary hero Sapphique. Fisher writes beautifully, and she wraps up the story in a satisfying way.

In the Prison, Attia and her friend Keiro manage to con a crazy magician into giving them the Glove of Sapphique, a magical item that can connect a person's mind to Incarceron. However, Incarceron can only realize its ambitions if it has the glove, so it sends monsters, mayhem and death after the two teenagers -- even as it becomes to fall apart.

In the Realm, Finn is starting to doubt whether he's truly the lost Prince Giles, just in time for the queen to trot out a Pretender who looks exactly like him. Now both he and Claudia are in mortal danger, especially since Jared has become ensnared in one of the queen's malevolent plans -- which might include a civil war.

Somehow I get the feeling that Catherine Fisher was more comfortable writing "Sapphique" than "Incarceron" -- mainly because she gets to reveal pretty much all the secrets of Incarceron and its world. The biggest problem is that this book feels like it should have been split in half and published as two halves; the first and second halves are REALLY different from one another.

Once again, there's one plot set in the mechanical prison and the other in the stagnant Realm, connected but separate for most of the book. Her writing is absolutely exquisite ("They say he is making a man, out of rags and dreams and flowers and metal") and filled with starlight, silver and crumbling ruins where castles should stand. At the same time, plenty of ghastly monsters fill Incarceron, such as the ghastly multi-bodied Chain Gang.

And Fisher drives her characters all the way to the finish line in this book. Finn has to unravel his own past and discover if he truly is Prince Giles, even as he transforms from a confused moody boy into a charismatic young royal. And Jared -- who was mainly the Obi-Wan Kenobi of "Incarceron" -- gets to shine, a wise sage who is facing not only his own death but the death of his world.

In fact, Fisher brings out depths in many of the characters -- the arrogant ruined Queen, the former Warden, the spirited Attia and the completely loopy Rix. Some are limp like Caspar and the nasty little Pretender, but most are excellent.

"Sapphique" would have benefited from being turned into two books, but it's a truly enthralling second part to the story of Incarceron and the people trapped inside it. Lovely.
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The end of SAPPHIQUE's prequel saw Finn released from sentient prison INCARCERON, but life Outside has not brought him the peace of mind he desired. Four months after his escape finds Finn still struggling with the inherent treachery and protocol required by court life. Couple that with the overwhelming guilt he feels for leaving his oath brother, Keiko, and friend, Attia, behind Inside, Finn has sunk into despair.

So deep is his depression, he's become useless in helping the Warden's daughter, Claudia, and her beloved tutor, Jared, search for a way back into Incarceron. The situation worsens when a young man who bears a striking resemblance to him challenges Finn's claim as the long-lost throne heir, Prince Giles.

Back inside the prison, Keiko and Attia search for their own means of escape: Sapphique's legendary magical glove. But Finn's prolonged absence and the increasing desperation of their situation - plagues, scarcity of supplies, entire sections of the prison shutting down - stretches their loyalties to the breaking point. As their enemies close in, each pair is in a race against time to save their very lives.

After reading both books in Catherine Fisher's duology, SAPPHIQUE emerges most decidedly as my favorite. While INCARCERON beautifully established this rich and complex world, the sequel brings more heart to the narrative. In SAPPHIQUE, we get a deeper exploration of the characters, a maturing of their perspectives, and a resolution of plot with the possibility of more stories to be mined in the future.

Reviewed by: Cat
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on 25 September 2014
Had a love/hate relationship with this book.... LOVED the idea which was unique, loved the characters, loved the threads, love the writing style and mystery.... HATED the ending. Such a let down. It was like the writer ran out of time or energy and said` 'meh that will do'. Shame really because I genuinely loved everything else about them. Worth a read for the places it takes your imagination though.
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on 17 February 2013
If you want to read Sapphique you need to read Incarceron first or it just won't make sense. However as a follow on novel it is a great read. It is fast paced and there are just no natural breaks to put the book down, well not for me anyway, it was the sort of book I just want to guzzle.
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on 24 March 2014
During the entire book I kept guessing what was what and how it would work and was intrigued by the twists and turns. I only give it 4 stars instead of 5 because I found some few bits a bit hard to get through (not over 4-5 pages at the time)
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on 8 February 2009
This is an excellent sequel to 'Incarceron', which must be read first. It is basically a sci-fi story in which a prison run by a super intelligent computer which has acquired knowledge that an outside world exists and desires freedom at all costs. The world outside it is frozen in time, and also created by computers with its inhabitants communicating with the world inside the prison. The story moves fast and furiously until it climaxes in a thrilling ending. I can highly recommend both books. Although classified as children's fiction, both can be read by adults.
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on 9 December 2012
Excellent sequel to Catherine Fisher's Incarceron and equally intriguing. The ending suggests there may be further adventures with Finn, Claudia, Attia, Keiro and Jared... I do hope so.
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on 26 December 2012
Anyone with an imagination and interest in intereting plots would like this book. It is a great follow on from Incarceron i really enjoyed it.
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on 13 August 2013
Again a great read. Would have loved the story to continue. Would recommend both books in this series. Really enjoyable.
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