The Children's Book Compass

A Fantastic Read

Posted on: April 30, 2010

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.  (2010).  Dial.  442 pages.  Grades 7 and up.  Fantasy Novel.

This complex fantasy grabs the reader’s attention on the very first page.  “Finn had been flung on his face and chained to the stone slabs of the transitway.” The transitway is a highway inside the prison, Incarceron.  But this prison, Incarceron, is unlike any known to the reader.  No one comes in or leaves this prison.  The prison has been sealed for centuries and some of the people inside have become savages.  The prison is ruled by an all-knowing eye that watches each prisoner and deals out punishments.  Seventeen year old Finn and his friends try to escape Incarceron.

The story of Finn alternates with that of Claudia’s who lives on the Outside.  Claudia is the daughter of the highest official in her world, the Warden of Incarecron.  She is resisting an arranged marriage that will elevate her to Queen.  Fisher skillfully entwines the two stories when Finn and Claudia both discover a crystal key that allows them to communicate between their worlds.  How Claudia helps Finn and his friends escape from Incarecron makes an entrancing fantasy. Readers will be glued to each of the 442 pages as the author keeps the tension and the excitement high.

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