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Sapphique (Incarceron) Paperback – September 6, 2011

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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Catherine Fisher

In the dark Prison of Incarceron, the prisoners tell tales of a legendary man – Sapphique, the only inmate ever to escape. There are hundreds of tales of his exploits, but are any of them true? Did he even exist?

Attia and Keiro certainly think so, and when they hear that a crazy magician called Rix is using Sapphique’s lost Glove in his magical act, they’re determined to steal it. Meanwhile, out in the Realm, Finn is not finding being a Prince easy, and he’s tormented by doubts about his own identity.

I wanted to explore all our uncertainties about ourselves in this sequel to Incarceron. Who are we? Can we do the things others expect of us? And can we ever escape ourselves?

Expect the terrors of the Ice wing, a chain-gang, a duel, a masked ball, and the fearful anger of the Prison as it prepares to abandon its inmates to darkness and death forever.

--Catherine Fisher

Amazon Q&A with Catherine Fisher

Q: Why did you choose to write a second novel about Finn, Claudia and the world of Incarceron? Did you originally plan to write the story as a duet, or did the idea from Sapphique grow out of the experience of writing Incarceron?

A: Originally I thought Incarceron would be a stand-alone novel, but as I wrote it and it became more complex I came to realize it would not all fit in one book. So it became two. Sapphique carries on almost from the point the first book ends.

Q: Which of the characters from Sapphique was the most pleasure to write?

A: All the characters were fun to write. There was a new one, Rix, who I enjoyed, and Attia has more prominence in the second book. Finn is struggling with his life in the Court, so that was a new aspect, and his relationship with Claudia changes, as her doubts about him grow. The character who perhaps develops most, is Jared, who really gets to be maybe the most important person by the end. And of course there's Keiro, irrepressible as ever!

Q: What do you think makes Sapphique different than other dystopian novels? Do you even consider Incarceron and Sapphique dystopian books?

A: I suppose the books do take place in a world which is dystopian, but it's not a world where all hope is gone. The very end of Sapphique suggests that. Maybe that makes them a little different, and gives the readers a hint of cheerfulness.

Q: You have written many wonderful fantasy novels. What draws you to fantasy as a genre?

A: I like books that have the unusual in them. I like to be pleasantly puzzled when I read, and to have to work things out. Also I feel that the elements fantasy uses--magic, the supernatural, folk tales etc--serve to widen out the story and give it a universal sense. They make the book a sort of myth, where a recurring pattern is re-enacted.

Q: What do you like best about writing for teens?

A: What I like about writing for teens is that teens are so enthusiastic and positive about what they like. You get a lot of feedback, and people use the novels to make their own artwork and stories from, which is great. Also people of this age group are very open-minded and willing to suspend disbelief, which adults sometimes aren't. So I hope to go on writing for teens!

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–Picking up after the surprising revelations of Incarceron (Dial, 2010), Fisher abruptly returns readers to the dystopian world and its living prison. Still trapped inside, Attia and Keiro are doing whatever they can to survive on their quest to find the Outside. Finn, meanwhile, has escaped and is now preparing to take his place on the Realm's throne. Not completely convinced, Claudia and Jared are attempting to groom Finn to take his place as Prince Giles. Things are almost on track when a Pretender makes a bid for the throne, threatening both Finn's and Claudia's lives. Amid the discordance in the Realm, Incarceron itself hunts for Sapphique's famed glove, an object that may help the prison gain a human body. Now, Attia, Keiro, and the Warden are attempting to keep the glove from Incarceron, while Finn, Jared, and Claudia are trying to hold the Realm together from the Outside. Fisher again crafts a dark, interesting foray into vivid imagery, danger, surprising twists, and intriguing revelations. This story is not quite as strong as Incarceron, but return readers will nonetheless enjoy it; new readers should, however, be steered back to the first volume. Readers will be left breathless hoping for another installment to explore the repercussions brought on by everything that happens in Sapphique's final chapters.–Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Incarceron
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Firebird (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142419796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142419793
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By James Tepper VINE VOICE on April 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Sapphique is the second volume of a (presumably) 2-book series that began with "Incarcereron". Both are the first books I've read by British author Catherine Fisher, apparently well known as an author of YA fiction. Whatever. I'm not too proud to admit that I liked both very much (despite my 56 years) so make of that what you will.

I don't want any unnecessary spoilers here, but be warned: - if you have not read Incarceron (which is almost obligatory before starting Sapphique) do so or you will be lost, and possibly suffer some (not fatal) mini-spoilers (of Incarceron) in this review.

This is a fairy tale, fit for young and old, that blends good old fashioned SF with fantasy and coming of age motifs. As the story begins (right after Incarceron ends), our hero Finn, has escaped the all-encompassing, break-proof and sapient, prison world, Incarceron, with the help of Claudia, who is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron. Claudia believes Finn is her long lost betrothed Prince, captured and imprisoned in Incarceron 10 years ago, who is destined to rule the "realm" (the outside world) as King by her side as Queen. Where and what Incarceron actually is, is more or less explained in the first book, but no matter.

In "Sapphique" we have a wicked Queen stepmother (more or less) who is scheming to deny Claudia and Finn any chance of happiness, let alone control of the realm. The realm is odd. Everyone is stuck, by virtue of a centuries old "Protocol" in some ersatz 18th century English-type world. Violations of protocol are strictly prohibited (e.g.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Antonia C. Tunis on December 12, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After really enjoying Incarceron, I jumped immediately into Sapphique. I hate to say this, but it didn't quite work for me.

First of all, let me say what I really enjoyed about the book. I loved the plot twists and how Incarceron's power affects the Realm. The switch in narration between the characters in the Realm and the characters in Incarceron kept things interesting. Fisher teases her readers with hints of the answers to the mysteries of who Sapphique really was and whether Finn is actually Giles.

My main complaint is that she never fully answers those questions. Maybe I missed something, but I finished the book feeling frustrated that the hints never coalesced into a full story. While I liked the way the main plot line wrapped up, the lack of explanation of other pieces made this book only worth 3 stars to me. If it hadn't been for these unresolved issues, I would've given it at least 4 stars.

If you liked Incarceron, you'll want to read Sapphique to see what happens with Claudia, Finn, and the others, but be prepared that not all questions are going to be answered. Fisher's writing style is still entertaining, and the characters are still intriguing. However, it just wasn't completely satisfying.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By S. Goodman on December 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
For me, reading Catherine Fisher's Sapphique (sequel to Incarceron, which was a London Times as the Best Children's Book of the Year) had moments that left me dizzy--in a good way-- and others that made me confused and frustrated, looking for answers that weren't there. Considering this is a book with parallel settings in a sentient, evil Prison that wants to build a body and escape itself (!) and a technologically advanced future society that exists in an artificially created and unchanging courtly world of the past, it stands to reason the book is more complicated than the average YA novel.

To sum up what's going on: Finn is on the Outside, but isn't fitting into the fine-leather boots of his pre-Incaceron life as Prince Giles. Claudia's trying to outmaneuver Finn's evil stepmother, Queen Sia, who is determined to prevent him from becoming King. Claudia's job is made more difficult because her father, the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in his own Prison. Finn is primarily worried about rescuing Keiro (his oathbrother) and Attia (a former slave whom Finn freed in the previous book) from Incarceron and doesn't really care if he is following Protocol or acting out his princely duties.
First, the high points: Plots twists galore. I never knew where the author was going with the action, and I loved that. In addition to unexpected events (Example: a second "Giles" showing up to challenge Finn for the throne), there are interesting moments of narrative misdirection in Sapphique, like when the book begins with Attia being chosen at random to participate in a magician's show.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Carina VINE VOICE on September 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
Sapphique picks up about two months after Incarceron ended. Finn has escaped the Incarceron, but as he escaped the warden of the prison enters bring with him the two keys, the only way to enter the Incarceron. With Finn the only one to escape, this left his oathbrother Keiro and Attia in the Incarceron which he promised he would find a way for them to escape as well.

Not only does Finn want to find a way to rescue his friends but he must deal with his own problems in the realm. The realm isn't exactly what he thought it would be. Constricted by the protocol, the realm seems sometimes worse than the prison to Finn. The Queen will do anything to discredit him. And then, another boy announces he is Prince Giles, and Finn finds himself doubting his true identity and Claudia also begins to doubt him. And with no memories of the past, when he use to be Giles, almost everyone else doubts him as well.

In the prison Attia and Keiro try to find a way to escape on their own. Keiro lost faith in his oath brother and is determined to find a way outside. Attia meets up with magician named Rix who is in possession of Saqqhique's glove. Which might be another way to escape the prison and Attia will do anything to possess the glove herself.

Attia and Keiro go through more wings of the prison. Each wing is unique and interesting to read about. The Incarceron itself leads Attia and Keiro through its vastness as they try to find the way to the prisons heart.

There is tons of adventure in the book. It is a quick read with twist and turns. It leaves you hanging with Attia and Keiro and then switches over to Claudia and Finn or visa versa. So, you are always wanting to read more to figure out what is happening to the other characters. The ending is good doesn't leaving you hanging. But, in my opinion, there could be another book.
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