Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ...
The opening chapter of this book is one of the most exciting first chapters I have ever read. In fact, I was hooked after the first sentence. If you are a writer you need to read this book for that reason alone. The rest of the story did not keep pace with the excitement we got in the first chapter yet it was still exciting enough to keep me reading.
While in the prison we follow Finn. He is a great character. He is smart, tough, sympathetic and I was genuinely concerned for him throughout his journey. His little band of followers admire him and follow his lead without question. While in the "Era" we follow Claudia. She is just as smart, brave and driven to discover the truth no matter what the consequence.
Catherine Fisher intertwined a futuristic dystopian novel with an old english environment to create an interesting mix. That was good and bad. The good part about it was the originality factor. The characters forced to live in the "Era" were very aware of the technology that could exist for them. But an evil sorcerous, acting as their Queen, finds it easier for her to control the population if they are secluded from it.
The bad part was.....since they were aware of the technology they talked about it a lot. That made it hard for me to form a clear picture in my head when they were in the "Era". Now the parts when they are in the prison are very easy to picture.
I liked this story, it was entertaining from start to finish and had an ending I did not see coming at all. It is the first of a two book series. Incarceron left a cliff hanger to lead into the second book but had an ending I was very satisfied with.
Over all I can recommend reading this book. Plus it has a really cool cover. (I know, your not supposed to judge a book by it's cover but to be honest, that is why I picked it up in the first place.)