Review: INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron (Incarceron, #1) 
Catherine Fisher
442 pages
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: January 26th 2010
Source: ARC from Library
Rating: LOVED

Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells, but also metal forests, dilapidated cities, and vast wilderness. Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, has no memory of his childhood and is sure that he came from Outside Incarceron. Very few prisoners believe that there is an Outside, however, which makes escape seems impossible.

And then Finn finds a crystal key that allows him to communicate with a girl named Claudia. She claims to live Outside- she is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, and doomed to an arranged marriage. Finn is determined to escape the prison, and Claudia believes she can help him. But they don’t realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost more than they know.

Incarceron is a prison, but unlike any other prison, Incarceron is alive, and is much like another world. It was created hundreds of years ago by the wise council of the Sapienti. Now, no one is allowed in or out of Incarceron, but legend says, Sapphique tried and succeeded in escaping. Seventeen year old Finn is told he is a cell-born, but has visions, and knows that he is from the Outside. After an encounter with the Maestra, however, he takes matters to the next level, and tries to find the way out of the ever-watching prison.

Outside, Claudia, the Warden of Incarceron’s daughter, is preparing for her dreaded wedding to the Prince. Her father has his own plans, and has been preparing to make her the queen for a very long time. When the Warden leaves his home to visit the Queen yet again, Claudia comes into possession of a crystal key – coincidently, so does Finn. Using the twin keyes, Claudia and Finn can contact one another, and Claudia believes Finn is the lost prince everyone thinks is dead.

With her marriage only days away, Claudia is determined to find a way to get Finn out of Incarceron. But a conspiracy is taking place in the royal court, and Claudia’s hopes may just end with whatever happens. And she needs to find the entrance to Incarceron, but if its so big, where can it be? Just when she thinks she’s found the way in, she learns startling secrets about the court, Incarceron, and her own origins.

Will Claudia find the door to Incarceron? Will her wedding take place just as the Warden planned? Author Catherine Fisher weaves a suspenseful and dangerous fantasy with Incarceron, that will capture your interest from the very first page. I think the plot is expertly written. The rich, intricate cover makes you want to pick it up and start reading right away. You won’t be disappointed with this future-based must-read.

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Disclosure: This review is based on an advanced copy of the book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received.


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply


    January 30, 2012

    I recently read this book and I really loved it. I thought it was great and there were so many things that took me by surprise. I can't wait to read Sapphique :-)

  2. Reply

    Alyssa Susanna

    January 28, 2013

    I loved this book! I read it a longgggggggg time ago, but I remember it pretty well (that was back when i could still re-read books about 50 times in a row!). Sapphique was a great ending as well. I haven't read anything else by Catherine Fisher, but this steampunk duology is definitely a great one by her! Great review! :)