13 novembro 2010

Review: Incarceron (Catherine Fisher)

Publisher: Hodder's Chidrens Books (2007)
Format: Paperback | 464 pages
Genre(s): Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Description: "Finn knows he doesn't belong in Incarceron. Although he has no memories of anything save the last three years of his life, he has flashes, visions of things that couldn't possibly exist in the gloomy halls of Incarceron. His wing's Wise man says he's a Starseer, a special human that can lead them out through his Visions; but Finn isn't so sure. When he comes into possession of a strange crystal object - which he somehow knows is a Key, although no-one in Incarceron even knows what a key is - he starts to believe he can actually Escape the supposedly inescapable prison.
Claudia Arlex leads a charmed life... at least in appearance. Daughter of the powerful Warden of Incarceron, she feels trapped by her upcoming marriage to the Crown Prince and the unending "Protocol" which dictates that all progress is forbidden and that all subjects must emulate the lifestyle of the 17th century. So instead of high technology and comfort, Claudia lives with candle light, carriages and corseted dresses. But one day Claudia breaks into her fathers study and finds a crystal Key; one that she believes, might lead her to Incarceron, the famed prison built 160 years ago to be a paradise."
Well... this book had quite an abrupt start and quite an abrupt ending... I hope more books follow, because there are a few questions left unanswered!

I must say that I was pretty curious about this book. It's story reminded me a bit of John Carpenter's Escape from New York since an enormous prison and an escape were involved. But it's actually quite different, although the ambiance of Incarceron is very similar to the one we encounter in the prison from "Escape from New York".

We follow the adventures of Finn, an inmate of Incarceron and Claudia the daughter of the Warden while they try to find a way out (or in) of the prison.

While this book had changing POVs (sometimes Claudia, sometimes Finn), the author managed to make it work, because both stories were connected. I really liked the pacing of the story (despite it's abrupt start, ahah) and how Claudia and Finn discovered more and more about the prison's origins as they progressed in their quest to find a way out. The texts presented at the beginning of each chapter were a clever way to present the reader with more background information about the purpose of Incarceron and how all went wrong.

The only problem I had was with Finn. He was pretty one-dimensional; while Claudia and all the other characters (Keiro, Attia, etc) seemed to have hidden motivations, flaws and qualities and grew a bit as characters as the story progressed, I thought Finn didn't particularly stand out and wasn't really fleshed out as the protagonist.

Overall this was a pretty interesting read. The author gave us all the relevant information about Incarceron and why it was built (something that isn't very common in YA sci-fi books where lots of things are left unexplained), the characters were likable but not overly perfect and the world-building was pretty good. I am interested in knowing more about "The Years of Rage" and what happened before that so hope this is just the first book of a series.

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