Thursday, November 3, 2011

Incarceron & Sapphique

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher                                         

I assumed Incarceron would be artistic, but predictable. I was wrong! 

Incarceron is layered with mysteries that left me guessing at every step. I learned with Claudia, discovering the prison from the outside while experiencing the prison from the inside through Finn. Each character is flawed and they question themselves, leaving the reader as hesitant as real life regarding the truth of everything. Guessing at the prison is only a small part of the whole. So reading this book was exciting, often thrilling. I love the way it is intricate and mysterious and I love the real characters. The enemy is just as full of real layers as the hero, leaving neither an absolute winner.

The idea of the prison is intricate in detail.  Huge. Impossible. Totally believable. The prison being alive adds another layer of mysterious complication. It has it’s own preferences and frustrations along with chance.  It is an additional cold-hearted player in the maze with overwhelming power. Fascinating.

I want to read Sapphique immediately.  (Minor Spoiler Alert!)  I want to know how Finn’s life works out and how he can live with the ending of Incarceron. I want to see if Claudia is as strong as her closest councilors think she is, or if she finds herself digging a hole even she can’t get out of. I am curious if she finds herself as ruthless as the queen, or if she is really made of different stuff. And I want to know what the warden has done, what Jared can do and how Attia and Keiro fare. Everyone is so flawed, so real, I don’t feel I can assume anything.

MY RATING:  Pretty Darn Good (4.5)

This is a very interesting book, I think. 

Incarceron was so dark, I was shaking the cobwebs of the Prison for days after finishing it.  I needed to know whether Finn was really Giles, whether he would ever get Keiro and Attia out of Prison, whether he and Claudia would fall in love.  I had so many questions after Incarceron that reading Sapphique was not an option, it was a necessity (not like water or shelter or chocolate, but up there with popcorn, certainly.)

The premise of the Prison, including it’s personality, plus the coldness of the Warden, left me completely uncertain of the grand finale.  Usually I have hope at the very least, but reading this book was another dive into the depths of uncertainty.  

To be honest, I am still not sure who Sapphique really is or was or will become after reading this final installment.  I’m not entirely certain the Prison will become a Paradise or the person of the Prison will be happy enough or Jared strong enough.  How open is the Portal?  And who will try to overlay control next?

The story is exciting.  The reader hops from adventure to danger to discover every page.  No characters are wasted, which is intriguing.  The Warden won’t go away, Jared never gives up, Finn grows up and the Prison changes.  Pretty much everyone nearly dies or does die.  So, it’s an exciting read, for sure. 

But... I am not sure I’m ready to be done even though I reached the last cover and closed it.  (Spoilers!!)  I don’t see Finn and Claudia understanding each other let alone falling in love or cooperating with each other.  Keiro is not so tolerant of Attia, nor is Attia changed in her devotion of Finn.  I am left feeling there is a weird quadruplet of leadership remaining to rebuild the former Realm.  And I am utterly sad for Claudia and Jared, that their devotion to each other will progress to what?   Either both her fathers have just ditched her to make her own way, or her father and lover have abandoned her to a higher calling.  Regardless, she is set up to be miserable.

I want to believe people are who they became in the end… and I really enjoyed the clips taken from letters, poems & stories at the beginning of every chapter… but there is no way legends had time to grow in the one lifetime.  So, I have to believe generations past and people dreamt and changed to become players in the stories they believed.  Or maybe… time folded in on itself and returned the players to live out their grand finale.  Or… the Prison shared more than it let on, creating the wonderful Sapphique out of it’s own dreams.  

In the end I still don’t like the Warden.  He is too arrogant and too much a part of the cynicism of the Prison.  If I was a part of any of it, I would want him removed from the Prison, as in banned, to give it a chance to be as wonderful as it wants to be.  

Or, why didn’t everyone leave to begin altogether in the destroyed realm?  

And where is it exactly?  Inside Sapphique?!

Yea, ok.  I’m more confused after finishing this series than I was before I started.  I think I’ll make up my own conclusions and they’re going to be a little different and more gracious than what what’s in the book.  ‘Cause that’s just… just… WHAT?!

MY RATING:  Confusing as Heck (1.5)  (yes, I just made that up.)

Book Covers:  I totally LOVE these covers.  If they had looked as confusing as the innards, I wouldn't have read them, but how could I pass up a series with a key and key hole?!?!  I hope someone made good money on those covers, 'cause that's the best part about 'em. (Too harsh?)  

PS - borrow, don't buy!!  (Ok, I'll stop ranting, now.)

No, wait... one more.  Anyone love any books by Catherine Fisher? Or is this typical?!