Incarceron is a prison unlike any other: Its inmates live not only in cells, but also in metal forests, dilapidated cities, and unbounded wilderness. The prison has been sealed for centuries, and only one man, legend says, has ever escaped.
There is nothing outside of Incarceron. At least that's what most of its prisoners believe. But seventeen-year-old Finn is crippled with visions of a place outside of Incarceron. A place that doesn't have artificial light or watchful red eyes. A place where in the dark, stars fill an endless sky. Finn the Starseer and a few followers -- some that believe, some that don't -- set out on a journey to escape.
Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, has been groomed to take the throne over the Realm since she can remember. But even all the comforts of high society that she's been given aren't enough to squelch her hatred of the politics and mind games surrounding her, the required adherence to Period thought and style, nor satisfy her curiosity about the one thing that has preoccupied her father's attention for so many years: the hidden prison, Incarceron. Trapped in an arranged engagement, Claudia clings to the hope that Incarceron holds a secret that could devastate the Realm. And change her future forever.
When Finn and Claudia's world's meet they find the other could be the only hope they have of escaping their prisons.
Fisher's vivid descriptions of a futuristic technology blended with the historic setting that is the required Protocol for the Realm's inhabitants is almost as flawless as the duality existing between Claudia and Finn's worlds. Both are strong characters, bravely refusing to accept what others insist is their destiny and determined to discover who they really are on their own. The alternating between coinciding journeys of Claudia discovering the truth about Incarceron and what secrets it holds, and Finn as he unravels the truth about his visions, made this book impossible to put down.
INCARCERON is no simple fantasy. The unexpected twists and turns of a rich mystery and awe-worthy world-building are layered with a dystopian theme of a paradise gone awry, leaving the reader to ponder which imprisonment is worse. Whether evil is a product of man, a product of the world, or simply a product of Incarceron itself. Because the deeper Finn and Claudia are pulled into the web of secrets surrounding them, the more they realize Incarceron has a life -- and a mind -- of its own . . .
Fantasy lover or not, INCARCERON will draw you in and keep you reading. The ending satisfied but left enough open questions that I quickly searched for a sequel. Thankfully, it appears SAPPHIQUE is set to drop this December.