Wednesday, November 03, 2010

And My Hands-Down Favorite Book of the Year Is ...



(Image from Barnes & Noble)

In a prison as vast as Incarceron, prisoners don't even bother dreaming of escape. Everyone knows it's impossible. According to legend, only one man has ever made it to the Outside, but that's just a story, told and re-told with endless embellishment. There's nothing left beyond Incarceron anyway, so what's the point of running away? The only thing that matters is survival. And even that seems impossible most days.

Finn hates his hardscrabble life in the Wing. Planning raids, stealing from other gangs, pandering to the sadistic Winglord - it's all so degrading, so pointless. It's a cold, miserable way to live, especially since Finn remembers the light and warmth of the real world. At least he thinks he does. The memories are vague, but they're there. At least he thinks they are. Everyone else laughs at his visions of Outside, scoffs at his desire for escape. Even Finn doesn't know what's real and what's not, he just knows he has to leave the dungeon that's housed him for as long as he can remember. Gildas, an elderly scholar, believes Finn when no one else does. Maybe - probably - they're both crazy. Still, Finn can't live the desperate gang life for one more day. He'll either find Outside or die trying.

A startling discovery leads Finn to a girl named Claudia. She claims to be the daughter of Incarceron's warden, professes to live outside its walls. Maybe she's just as deluded as the rest of them, but Finn can't deny the feeling that he knows her - knew her - somehow. Doomed to marry a man she doesn't love, Claudia promises to help Finn in exchange for a favor of her own. The question is how can they help each other when their only connection is a curious bit of magic? Defeating Incarceron will take more than parlor tricks, especially since the prison isn't your average jailhouse. It may be made of steel and stone, but Incarceron is alive and it's not about to let anyone evade its clutches.

Incarceron, a brilliant new novel by Welsh poet and sci fi/fantasy master Catherine Fisher, introduces a dystopian trilogy that's sure to rival Hunger Games in popularity. With fully-realized characters; a mysterious and complex storyworld; constant action; and even some good, old courtly intrigue, it's an engaging mix of everything that makes a book worth reading. I whipped through all 442 pages in one sitting, empty stomach and stinging eyes be darned. If a raging fire had engulfed my house, you probably would have found my charred remains poised on the edge of my recliner, peepers still glued to the page. And no, I'm not exaggerating. Incarceron is, hands down, the best book I've read all year.

P.S. I know some of you were worried after this post, but I'm happy to report that a copy of Sapphique, the next book in the series, is winging its way to me even as we speak. My wonderful friend Amanda secured me a copy, earning my absolute, undying devotion. Click on over to her fabulous blog and show the girl some love. She deserves it!

(Readalikes: the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and The Maze Runner by James Dashner)

Grade: A

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for mild language (no F-bombs), mild sexual innuendo, gore, and intense action scenes

To the FTC, with love: I bought Incarceron with some of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.

9 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed Incarceron, too, but I "read" it in its unabridged audio form on my daily commute. I'm a bookseller, so I was lucky enough to get my hands on the ARC of Sapphique already. I'll be curious to get your take on that one, too.

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  2. Woo! Always glad to see others get excited and happy about this one!

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  3. Adding to my wishlist RIGHT NOW! Your review is awesome and can't wait to read this one!! Hope you are feeling ok and things are getting back to normal for you.

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  4. Never heard of this book but just put a request into my library

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  5. I really liked this one too. It made me a tad claustrophobic though! LOL

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  6. I'm completely with you on this one. Loved it! And have a copy of Sapphique that I haven't started yet...

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  7. I've heard great things about this but haven't been able to read it yet. Definitely getting it from the Library soon! You have convinced me. :)

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  8. I just finished this book today. I listened to it on CD. At first I really didnt like the book. I was so confused about what was going on. But it sucked me in and I had to hear what happened. Have already requested the next book. Not "my hands down favorite" this year but definitely a good one.

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