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Incarceron (Incarceron, Book 1) Hardcover – January 26, 2010

287 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Incarceron Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2010: The shifting landscapes, unexpected plot punches, and bold, brave characters found in Catherine Fisher's Incarceron are nothing short of thrilling: fans of Garth Nix and Suzanne Collins will take to this epic, twisty fantasy instantly, but it's also the kind of book that will draw in the most hesitant fantasy reader. The mysterious world of Incarceron—and its factions of daring Prisoners, led by an incorrigible team in Finn and Claudia, who are both searching for a means of escape—is wonderfully imagined, at once frightening and full of seduction, and marks the beginning of an addictive new series. --Anne Bartholomew

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 7 Up—Catherine Fisher's intelligent, genre-bending tale (Dial, 2010) will fascinate teens looking for something new and different. Finn is a 17-year old prisoner of Incarceron. His memories begin and end there. He knows nothing about his heritage except for vague memories that tease at his mind. The teen is determined to escape the prison fashioned centuries ago as a solution to the chaos created by man. Now Incarceron is self-sustaining and self-perpetuating—prisoners are born there and they die there. Legend claims only one man has ever escaped, Sapphique, and Finn is determined to follow in his steps. Claudia, the warden's daughter, lives sequestered in a castle surrounded by servants. But she, too, longs for escape—from a father who frightens her and from betrothal to an insipid prince. Finn and Claudia each discover a crystal key and are amazed to find that they can communicate with each other. As their trust in one another builds, each pledges to help the other. The two stories emerge, intertwine and, by the end, unwind in startling twists that will astonish listeners. Kim Mai Guest delivers an amazing, fully-voiced performance that vividly paints each character. Her pacing is impeccable and, in the last chapters, she delivers a one-two punch that will leave listeners breathless for the sequel, Sapphique, to be released in December.—Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books; 1st edition (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803733968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803733961
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (287 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Catherine Fisher is the New York Times best-selling author of Sapphique and Incarceron. She is "one of today's best fantasy writers," according to the London Independent. An acclaimed novelist and poet, she has written many fantasy books for young people, including The Oracle Prophecy series.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 83 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Incarceron: it's a vast intelligent city-prison, sealed off from the outside world and hidden from everybody except the Warden.

So it's pretty much inevitable that one day, a way out -- or a way in -- will be found. Catherine Fisher's "Incarceron" is a hauntingly original sci-fi/fantasy story, setting up two very different characters in two parts of a stagnated future world. It's kind of confusing at times, but it smoothly clicks into gear after awhile.

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.
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87 of 97 people found the following review helpful By kbaccellia on January 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Flinn has no memory except bits of pieces from Outside. He lives in a vast prison where cruelty and danger is the norm.

Claudia lives in a manor house stuck in a 17th century world run by computers.

A world were artists and poets are doomed to endless repetitions of the past.

Her life is about to change as she's about to marry a spoiled prince and enter a society filled with whispers of assassination plots. Her father is Warden of Incarceron, the prison which is tucked away. No one can enter and no one can leave.

Or so they thought.

Flinn and Claudia's worlds collide when they both find a key. A key that might be the way out of the prison for Flinn and inside for Claudia.

Both will be surprised at the secrets hidden in Incarceron. As will be the reader on this very imaginative, exciting tale.

I loved this book. The author does a great job of introducing the reader to both worlds--the one inside Incarceron and the one outside. Both POV's flow seamlessly in this tale. Flinn's struggles to find out if he does belong Outside are powerful. He refuses to accept the belief he can never leave. Both worlds are rich with detail. I can't help but wonder if there's a sequel in the works?

I highly recommend this book! Right now it's only available in the UK but I'm sure it'll be coming here soon. It's well worth the wait!
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Ithlilian on April 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Incarceron is a very original story unlike any I have read. One main character, Finn, is stuck in a prison, trying to escape, slowly reclaiming memories. The other main character, Claudia, is stuck in a prison of her own, an arranged marriage to someone she despises. She is living in a technologically advanced society that has decided to revert back to the time of kings, queens, and formal court life. My main point of interest was the plot. I wanted to know why the ruling king decided to force everyone to live in another time period, why they decided to build such a strange prison system as Incarceron, and I wanted to know what exactly Incarceron was. I don't think the plot was fully realized. There is so much potential in the setup, but the novel felt mediocre.

There are 400+ pages in this book, and a large part of it takes place in Incarceron. Therefore, I should be able to describe what Incarceron is like. That is not the case. The escapees were traveling along some course that was not plotted out, over land that wasn't described very well, to a destination that was completely unknown. I can't say what Incarceron looks like in general. There were plenty of descriptions of metal trees and a few cells, but everything else just seemed like a blur. I've never read a novel where I understood so little about a place. I have no problem not having the answers to the questions I posed in the first paragraph, but I really did want to get a good feel of what Incarceron was like, and I didn't get that at all. What is daily life like for people on Incarceron? I have no idea, and I don't like that.

Another issue I had was the way certain secrets were handled. As a reader, I enjoy when the author keeps me guessing and doesn't reveal everything about a character's past outright.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Su on January 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
There are two kinds of great novels. There's the kind that you can't put down, an addiction running through your bloodstream, the kind that, time permitting, you inhale in one single reading. That kind would be those rare books like The Hunger Games.

Then there's the other kind of great book. This kind shakes the foundations of your literary beliefs. It haunts your dreams, your thoughts during the daytime, and may even give you nightmares. But you can't read this in one sitting, so intense it is, so much figurative weight it holds.

INCARCERON is this type of novel.

18-year-old Finn was "born" three years ago in the massive prison Incarceron. He can't remember life before the prison, but he is sure that, unlike nearly everyone else in Incarceron, he came from somewhere else, somewhere Outside. Aided only by strange visions, a mysterious crystal key, and the legend of Sapphique, the only man who ever escaped Incarceron, Finn is determined to escape as well.

Outside Incarceron, in a world trapped in time by the royal dynasty's will, Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is about to undergo an arranged marriage that she has no desire to be a part of. She steals her father's key to Incarceron, but what began as an act of petulance soon gives way to something more sinister and significant when she discovers that she can talk to a boy named Finn through the key, and a boy who is trapped in Incarceron and asks for her help to escape.

Neither one of them, however, can begin to imagine the scope of what they're dealing with. There are plenty of people who want to keep the teens in the dark about Incarceron and court politics. And the prison itself is alive, and it is not so willing to aid them...
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