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Incarceron Paperback – 3 May 2007
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One of today's best fantasy writers...readers can look forward to a deliciously dark and scary ride (The Independent)
Complex and richly imagined (New Welsh Review)
Imaginatively drawn and vividly described (School Librarian)
Catherine Fisher is an artist with words -- a brilliant writer and of fantasty and Incarceron maintains the high standard set by The Oracle and The Snow Walker trilogies...An engrossing, intricate story of an extraordinary journey undertaken by richly imaginative characters (Carousel)
Complete and believable. The story is wholly engaging and rushes along at a breathless and nail-biting pace with plenty of heroic moments and near misses...A gripping read that should enthral both young and old fantasy fans alike. (Buzz)
Beautifully imagined and realised...a barnstorming piece of serious fantasy that doesn't put a foot wrong...tense and fast-paced with a real atmosphere of menace (The Bookbag)
Fisher remains a superb writer (Write Away)
One of this year's most striking fantasy novels (The Times Online)
The plotting is intricate and the levels of legend and action are multi-layered...A tense and complicated fantasy adventure (Books For Keeps)
One novel stands out above all others...thrilling...a modern version of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast, though given a better plot, people we care about and a prose style honed by decades of writing poetry (The Times)
Tackled with creativity, courage and originality (New Statesman)
A riveting book that keeps you turning pages (Wands and Words)
'One of this year's most striking fantasy novels' (Amanda Craig, The Times)
'A far-future thriller combines riveting adventure and masterful world-building with profound undertones. ... Like the finest chocolate, a rich confection of darkness, subtlety and depth, bittersweet and absolutely satisfying.' (Kirkus)
'a tour de force' (School Library Journal)
'... imaginatively drawn and vividly described. ... an exciting adventure story.' (School Librarian)
'... stands out above all others ... It's imaginative scale and gobsmacking finale make it one of the best fantasy novels written for a long time.' (Times, Amanda Craig)
'a deliciously dark and scary ride.' (Nicholas Tucker, The Independent)
'one of today's best fantasy writers ... a deliciously dark and scary ride.' (Independent)
'... imaginative, rich in texture and vividly realised. Catherine Fisher writes with consummate skill and depth of feeling.' (The Bookseller)
'a smart, complex, engrossing and emotionally involving read.' (Bookshelves of Doom)
'a deep and sophisticated adventure story' (Write Away)
'... a riveting book that keeps you turning pages. There are plenty of plot twists, mysteries, excitement, and secrets to hold your attention from the beginning to the very end. Even things that seem obvious may not be as they seem; there's enough ambiguity to keep you guessing.' (Wands and Worlds)
'This gripping futuristic fantasy has breathless pacing, an intelligent storyline, and superb detail in rendering both of the stagnating environments. ... With some well-timed shocking twists and a killer ending, this is a musthave.' (Booklist)
'... brilliantly realized ... reader attention never flags through this elegant, gritty, often surprising novel.' (The Horn Book magazine)
'Complex and inventive, with numerous and rewarding mysteries, this tale is certain to please.' (Publishers Weekly)
PRAISE FOR THE ORACLE SEQUENCE:
'... a rich, resonant conclusion to the series.'
'Vivid, complicated, and thoroughly engrossing, this fast paced adventure keeps readers avidly turning pages until the majestic conclusion.' (Horn Book Review May/June 06)
... an intoxicating world reminiscent of the Arabian Nights. Highly recommended. (The Bookseller)
suspense is constantly built ... rattles along at a dizzying pace ... next volume please. (School Librarian)
A crisp, quick-moving narrative and fully fleshed out characters will keep readers hooked (Publisher's Weekly)
A powerful and very exciting adventure story. (School Library Journal)
'... one of the most skilled and original writers currently working in young adult fantasy' (New Welsh Review)
'Beautifully imagined and realised, this novel of future regression is rich with strong characters, big issues and a compelling plot. It is a barnstorming piece of serious fantasy that doesn't put a foot wrong.' (The Bookbag)
'Catherine Fisher is an artist with words ... An engrossing, intricate story of an extraordinary journey undertaken by richly imaginative characters' (Carousel)
'... wholly engaging and rushes along as a breathless and nail-biting pace ... a gripping read that should enthral both young and old fans' (Buzz)
Oozes a del Toro flick vibe. (SFX Magazine)
Dark, powerful and compelling, from the award-winning author of the Oracle.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
First there's Finn who exists in some kind of huge futuristic prison called 'Incarceron' contolled by the mother of all computers. It has definite parallels to the Matrix in its enormous sense of scale, computer control and the inmates belief that a world outside can only exist in legend.
Then there's Claudia, who does live in a world outside and whose father is the warden of Incarceron. She has no idea where the prison is or how to get inside. But her desire to find out is drastically increased when she comes to believe that a person very dear to her heart was secretly imprisoned after his death was faked in order to remove him as the next heir to the throne.
It's part sci-fi, part fantasy and Finn and Claudia's possible relationship is a strong draw to the story as well. It's quite compelling, fairly original and well written.
The ending? Well there are some good twists and it's not wholly predictable, but it also leaves it wide open for a sequal or two. Whilst this is fine, it does mean that some threads are left hanging, which is slightly annoying. I would have preferred it to stand up as a complete story in its own right. It was worth the read but I'm not sure I'd make time to read the inevitable second installment.
Both Claudia and Finn are trapped. She's the Warden's pampered daughter, and is about to be married off to a playboy prince for her father's benefit. He's an amnesiac boy in the Scum gang, plagued by seizures that give him prophetic visions.
But their lives take unexpected turns when a prisoner taken in a Scum raid on a train recognizes Finn's eagle tattoo, and he manages to get his hands on a mysterious key that might allow him to get outside -- if he can find the door. And Claudia is plotting with her dying teacher to get a mysterious key hidden in the Warden's office.
When the two keys bring Claudia and Finn into contact, Finn suddenly has hope that he can escape Incarceron -- but instead he encounters the true horrors of the secret prison. And in her desperation to avoid marrying the bratty prince, Claudia uncovers a secret plot that her father is involved with... and not only Finn's secrets, but her own.
Metal trees, stagnant royal courts, sorcery, creepy old crones and high-tech prisons that always watch with red camera eyes. The world of "Incarceron" is a pretty weird one, and it works pretty well considering it seems to be cobbled together from all sorts of strange sources -- the only real problem is that Fisher takes a VERY long time to mesh together her two main storylines. And I'm still not quite sure what the Sapienti are.
Fisher has strangely haunting, vivid prose, with lots of tangled plots and motives, and some moments of pure horror (Finn encountering a vast, freakish Beast made of bugs, dead flesh and metal). While it starts off very slow, the plot really starts speeding up when Finn and Claudia encounter each other, both in the keys and in person. And Fisher manages to throw some genuine surprises into the mix -- while keeping the door wide open for a sequel.
Claudia and Finn are likable characters who are both similar and very different -- they're trapped and manipulated, yet they both crave freedom from their terrible lives. Fisher also twines in a bunch of supporting characters whose motives are often murky -- you've got bratty princes, malevolent queens, the icy Warden, the sickly mentor Jared and the tricksteresque oathbrother Keiro.
"Incarceron" is kind of slow-moving through the first half, but fortunately there's enough plot, chills and intrigue to make up for that. And I think the story of Incarceron isn't over.
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