Thursday, March 3, 2011

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Publisher:  Dial Books (Penguin Group)
Publish Date:  Feb. 8, 2011 (US)
Original Publish Date:  May 3, 2007 in the UK (lucky ducks!)
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3396-1
Pages: 448

A bit of unexpected steampunk-ish mystery.  Nothing is as it seems here.
I think that Catherine Fisher's website has the best synopsis:  Imagine a living prison so vast that it contains corridors and forests, cities and seas. Imagine a prisoner with no memory, who is sure he came from Outside, even though the prison has been sealed for centuries and only one man, half real, half legend, has ever escaped.
Imagine a girl in a manor house in a society where time has been forbidden, where everyone is held in a seventeenth century world run by computers, doomed to an arranged marriage that appalls her, tangled in an assassination plot she both dreads and desires.

From the beginning you want to believe that Claudia is a damsel-in-distress, but she's too strong.

The Warden of Incarceron seems to be the uncaring father and is "in" with the Queen.  But is he?  The father? Under the Queen's thumb?  What a tangled web we weave!

Finn appears to be a child born of Incarceron.  Is he? Or is he a prisoner lately come?

Lord Evian, the Queen's Chancellor, comes off as a silly dandy.  Is he really a dandy or a steely fox?

Why must everything be 17th Century?!  Is Incarceron a Prison or a Paradise? How does the Warden monitor it when he's always either at Court or at home? Why does it need a Warden if it's a Paradise? What happened to Claudia's first betrothed?  Questions upon questions piled up as I read.

Each chapter is prefaced with a quote from an archive or story which add to the mystery.  I look forward to finding out what happens next!  Has anyone read the second book?  Is it as good as the first?

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