by Catherine Fisher
Opening line: “Finn had been flung on his face and chained to the stone slabs of the transitway.”
There is a prison called Incarceron which no one ever enters or leaves. But within that prison Finn can remember seeing stars. On the outside, Claudia, the daughter of Incarceron’s Warden, struggles in a world which has encased itself in the past.
This is a delicious book. Oh, it’s got some dark and gritty substance to it (insert me trying to think of a good food metaphor here and failing), but as a whole it’s delicious.
In a way, it felt like a fairy tale, although it isn’t. I think that’s partly because of all of the titles in the book: The Warden, The Queen. Even Sapphique was a title as well as a name. At the same time, it’s a bit more nuanced than most fairy tales. The Warden in particular is one of the more enigmatic characters I’ve read about recently and I can’t wait to learn more about him.
I liked Claudia a lot. She falls into one of my favorite groups of heroines–the kind that is spunky and courageous without being ridiculous. I do get a little tired of the arranged marriage trope, but here I was willing to go along with it. I’m not quite sure what to make of Finn. In fact, I’m not quite sure what to make of most of the characters. Jared seems pretty uniformly good, until you get to the very end. Keiro? I just don’t know.
So, I can’t wait for the sequel, which will hopefully pin down the characters a little more. Besides which, I found the world that Fisher created fascinating, so I’m excited to return to it.
Book source: public library
Book information: Dial, 2010 (US edition); grade 7 up