Incarceron is a prison unlike any others. Its inmates live not only incells, but also in metal forests, dilapidated cities, and unbounded wilderness. The prison has been sealed for centuries, and only one man, legend says, has ever escaped.
Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, can't remember his childhood and believes he came from Outside Incarceron. He's going to escape, even though most inmates don't believe that Outside even exists. And then Finn finds a crystal key and through it, a girl named Claudia.
Claudia claims to live Outside--her father is the Warden of Incarceron and she's doomed to an arraged marriage. If she helps Finn escape, she will need his help in return.
But they don't realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost far more than they know.
Incarceron is so good. I would go so far as to say it's the next Hunger Games, because I think this is a book that will appeal to both girls and guys, teens and adults. At the very least, I loved it.
The world of Incarceron is brilliantly imagined. At some undefined point in the future, things got so bad that half the population was put into Incarceron, a social experiment that was supposed to cure humanity's ills and turn everyone into scholars and philosophers. Instead, the controlled world became a prison, and bands formed, creating gangs and violence. Generations later, what was built to be heaven has become a hell.
The other half of the population were forced to live in a historical Era (think doublets, swords, tapestried hallways) because progress and change resulted in too much pain and strife. I cannot emphasize how cool this world is, because even though the veneer of Protocol is very old-world, technology still exists to those who know how to hide it. Brilliant.
And that's just the setting. The characters are awesome, each with their own hopes and their own secrets. Finn and Claudia are the main characters, and I liked them very much. But it was the side characters--the Warden, Jared, Keiro, and Attia--that I was most fascinated by. I need more of them in the sequel, please!
I could go on about so much more: The intros to each chapter were awesome glimpses into their mythology and political plots. Incarceron was nicely creepy. The plot twists were...well, I thought I saw most of them coming, but the story never actually confirms if the twists were twisty or misleads. Which is awesome.
I would really like to just rave about all my favorite parts, but I try to keep these reviews mostly spoilerfree. Suffice it to say: Incarceron is super awesome great, and I am about to walk across the library to get its sequel, Sapphique, right....now.
Five out of five glowing keys.
Release Date: January 2010
Reading Level: Grade 7+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: YPL FIS