Rated Reads

Incarceron (Incarceron, #1)

by Catherine Fisher

Rated: Mild

For some books, the plot summary comes easy. But as I was reading this book, when people asked me what it was about, I was really at a loss. Mostly, I just said, “It’s complicated.”

It’s one part dystopian novel: Incarceron is a prison that the “Outside” designed for the refuse of society as an experiment. They meant it to be a paradise, but over the years, it has degenerated into the worst of hells. Finn has recently appeared; he was “cell born” — he has no memory of a childhood: he just appeared in Incarceron’s cells one day. He struggled to survive and joined a group of thieves, becoming oathbrothers with a man named Keiro. Circumstances happen to push Finn, Keiro and a couple of others to try to escape, and the book is mostly about their attempt to get out of Incarceron.

But it’s also one part political intrigue: Claudia is on the Outside, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron. She’s been playing her father’s game of power her whole life, matching him move for move in his quest to make her Queen. She’s not exactly happy about this; the current Queen is ruthless, and her son is a complete idiot; Claudia would rather have married the original heir, who died in an accident. The only person she can truly trust is her mentor and tutor, Jared. In her end of the game, she desires to know what her father actually does, and in the process finds a crystal Key and ends up communicating with Finn in Incarceron.


Yet Fisher pulls it off beautifully. It’s difficult to explain, but while you’re reading it, the plot makes complete sense. It’s a page-turner of a book; you have to see what happens next. The characters range from the sympathetic to the mistrustful, and yet you find yourself interested in their fates, invested in the outcome. Fisher has a talent for writing action; from the opening scene in the book, she has you completely invested in the book. In addition, the world she’s created is a fascinating one, something that is the product of a very creative imagination. And yet, there’s a balance between the world and the rest, so that neither dominates the book.

And all this means the only thing wrong with the book is that it’s the first in a series, and we have to wait for the rest.

Rated: Mild, for 5 b-words.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

One Response to Incarceron (Incarceron, #1)

  1. […] is the dark and thrilling sequel to the dystopian fantasy novel Incarceron. Incarceron is a living prison, a place of horrid squalor and human suffering. Finn, a prisoner who […]

  • Incarceron (Incarceron, #1)
  • by Catherine Fisher
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: