Book Review: Incarceron

By: Kestrel K.

Finn, an inmate of the living, breathing prison, Incarceron, is on a mission to escape. When Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, contacts him, he decides to discover his past and escape the Prison.

There were many issues raised in this book. The most important issue that was brought into this book was the fact that mankind prefers to turn a blind eye to the flaws found in society.  Humans prefer to believe that their world is perfect, even though people can often look just a little farther into the world and find problems.  Incarceron, the prison, was created to house the “bad people” in, and it was to be a paradise, with plenty of food and a good society.  But something went wrong, and the people ruined the world.  In the world we live in now, we continually tell people not to let society change them, when we don’t realize that we are society.  If we all made one little improvement to our lives, society would also improve.

Incarceron can be compared to Uglies, by Scot Westerfeld.  In both worlds, there is a place that is believed to be paradise, even though it is not.  The people who know the truth about what really happens inside this “paradise” feel that they should not ruin what people believe it to be, so they keep the truth hidden.  Finn and the main character in Uglies, Tally, both believe the world that is just out of their reach is much better than where they live now, especially the society.  However, both are disappointed to find that there is a society to abide by everywhere, and that it is inescapable.  What Finn doesn’t realize is that society binds everyone, wherever they go.  This is a disappointment to Finn, because he always believed that “Outside” would be better than the Prison he always knew.  Tally and Finn both begin to realize that society is like a prison, and that it cannot be escaped from.  It can be found in every world that is existent.  As time progresses for both characters, they begin to learn how to deal with their problems, as well as how they can help change society.

One interesting aspect that is brought to the reader’s attention throughout Incarceron is the fact that the life of a royal is believed to be much nicer that the life of a commoner.  There is very little truth to that.  The real idea is that underneath all of the posh, fluffy gowns, and heavy wigs is a cruel person, who trusts no one, and is trusted by no one.  Some of the manipulation royals deal with is what makes the courtiers sad.  As Claudia says throughout the book, “I am but a piece of my father’s game, of the queen’s game, of the Steel Wolves’ game.”  She means that while one person may think they are using another to do what they want, they are really being manipulated to do what others want.  Some of the people in the court call it the game of life, because many of the royals end their days planning and plotting against others in the court. 

Catherine Fisher’s writing style is all about the dramatic side of the story.  Incarceron continually switches back and forth between the two main characters, Claudia and Finn.  If something exciting happens, which it almost always does, Fisher makes sure to stop right before you know what is going to happen.  She switches the point of view to keep the reader turning the page, and interested.  Along with that, Fisher’s writing is meant to influence the reader to feel sorry for the characters in danger.  She is very persuasive, showing her audience only the things she wants them to know.  After the action scene is over, then she reveals the rest of the facts, and the reader finally understands the true nature of the character.

Fisher also sculpts her characters so her audience can relate.  Every author’s goal is to create at least one character that their readers can relate to.  Catherine Fisher uses the weaknesses of the human mind to create her characters, especially the prison, Incarceron.  Incarceron can understand what every one of its inmates is thinking, and it uses these thoughts against them.

Society binds us all, and Fisher that to weave the story within Incarceron.  She used the idea that no world is perfect, and her talent of finding cliff hanger moments, to write a story that readers who love adventure would enjoy.  Her characters are relatable, and she uses facts from history to weave a story of fiction, making an interesting twist between real and fake.

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