Wednesday, June 30, 2010

HBIC Review: Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron (Incarceron, Book 1)Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Review copy provided by (after I paid them)

PJVS QUICKIE POV: Incarceron is mad mix of science fiction, steampunk, fantasy and adventure. A thoroughly entertaining read that I had to read from start to finish with only a few breath in between. A YA novel that reads more like a Big Girl book, Incarceron had me biting my nails until the end. Not a perfect novel, I did find some of the secondary characters quite annoying, and the main characters often acted out of character and quite juvenile, but overall I'm happy with the outcome and hope to read Sapphique very soon.

REVIEW: After years of war a tyrant took the crown and declared that TIME was to stop. There would be no progress, and technology no matter how helpful would be rendered illegal. Mankind must go back to the age of innocence, a time of manners and protocol and courtesans. A good majority of the population that was considered troublesome will be incarcerated forever in a place called Incarceron. Yet, this is not a prison... it will be paradise.

Finn Starseer awakes in Hell. A chamber where the walls are alive and they watch him. He has no past, all he knows is that he is imprisoned. When he is released from his cell he enters the world of Incarceron, which is far from a paradise. Warlords reign, and chaos breeds disease, death and hatred. Finn knows but one thing, he wasn't born in Incarceron - and he must escape.

A very unique tale, Incarceron is a blend of different genres and styles. The novel is a mish-mash of gritty dystopian and frilly historical steampunk. I've never experienced anything like it, yet the flavor reminded me of Dune. The background itself seemed almost too robust for the YA tone and innocence. And I almost think it might have been better served wrapped in an adult SciFi package. I found myself almost awed by the background, the world building and the prose - but at different points I would be shaken by some of the more juvenile behaviors of the characters. One being the almost infantile reactions Claudia had. She was bred for court politics and it was reiterated how cold, detached and manipulative she could be - yet she reacted at moments like a spoiled child, her and Jared whispering their findings where they knew there would be listening devices. They would often spew out their plans to relative strangers and their attempt at political maneuvering was sometimes silly. Then there was Finn, whom I really pitied through half the book. He was such a pathetic creature, a complete victim, definitely not someone I saw as hero material. Then there were the secondary characters. I really liked Jared he was probably my favorite but all the rest could have dissipated for all I cared. Keiro, well he was made to be unlikeable. Attia, I would have left her in the tunnel, especially after that end bit and her all with-holding vital information, what was that about? These short-comings did detract form the novel, but in a whole it was quite good and I look forward to reading #2.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Innocent enough for younger teens. Fans of The Hunger Games, Uglies and SciFi tales such as Dune will enjoy.

BWB 3/4

1. Claudia was portrayed as a very strong character, did you think bravery lead her steps into Incarceron or do you think she just played a card in the prisons hand?

I think Claudia was forced on us as a strong character. *IMHO* They kept on saying, O Claudie, U so strong. But unfortunately I found some of her actions were just manipulative or spoiled rich girlesque. I think she really didn't want to marry Caspar and it was a very impulsive step on her part. I mean really she tore up the dress like a child! I didn't get bravery, I got impulsiveness and her only ticket out of the crazy princes bed.

2. Although Jared and Claudia's relationship is purely student/ teacher....did you pick up any undercurrent of sexual tension between them?

Well, yeah. They kept on accusing them of it...and then Claudia would get all huffy and self-righteous. There was a weird blur between age in this novel - so by all means Claudia could be hot for teacher, but I think she is just stubborn enough to deny herself a match made in heaven. Plus, I think her eyes are on the crown...

3. Spill! What are your predictions for the next book {Sapphique}? What are you looking forward to/what do you hope gets explained before the grand finale?

I think most of the book will be them trying to get back into Incarceron - just as all of Incarceron was spent trying to get out. I think Finn/Giles will be used as a pawn and there will be more doubt shed on him that he isn't actually Giles. I also think Claudia and Finn will try to force a relationship, but it might be awkward, with Claudia always running to Jared and Attia always in the back of Finn's mind. 

4. What do you think of the relationship between the Warden and the Queen in regards to the big picture?

I think the Queen might have a little more than adoption papers to hold over the Warden's head.

5. Do you think that Finn is the only one besides Sapphique who has escaped or left Incarceron?

Well, actually there was a third right? That little girl child... *spoiler*

6. What is your take on the futuristic aspects mixed with the period clothing and mannerisms? Is this what would be considered Steampunk or is it more Science Fiction? 

I thought it was a good and incredibly intelligent blend of steampunk (futuristic gadgets in period world), Science Fiction (futuristic), Dystopian (tyrant Queen enforcing oppression with one girl pushing back) and adventure (the quest for Escape).