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 appals her, tangled in an assassination plot she both dreads and desires.
One inside, one outside
But both imprisoned.
Imagine a war that has hollowed the moon, seven skullrings that contain souls, a flying ship and a wall at the world's end.
Imagine the unimaginable.
Review: This is one of those books that has received mixed reviews: people either hate it or love it.
I'm part of the group of people that absolutely love this book. This is a dystopian novel and, being a fan of the genre, I adored how the author managed to twist a little bit that concept. Because, you see, unlike regular dystopian novels where we are showed and confronted with the repressive and controlling government that exists almost instantly, in Incarceron that is something that is showed to us bit-by-bit. You don't exactly understand every single concept, or term, right from the beginning but, as you keep on reading, your understanding and knowledge of how this futuristic world and society work becomes clearer. It's not a fast paced book, but it's slow paced narrative allows you to enjoy the characters, their personalities, their interactions with each other and the world they are inserted in much better.
Since this book is narrated from two different points of view (Claudia, the girl from Outside, and Finn, the prisoner) we, as readers, are constantly being thrown from setting to setting, from situation to situation, but as soon as you get immersed in the plot this only adds to the complexity of the story.
Claudia's side of the story, which is personally my favourite, is filled with the usual scheming and plotting that is a daily element of the lives of every single nobleman and noblewoman. Her side of the story is the one where you learn about the apparently tranquil, happy and free of hatred, wars and problems, society. About the façade of coldness, morality and righteousness they all hide their true personalities behind. About the Queen, the King, the dead Prince and the current Heir to the throne of this realm. It's where you learn how Incarceron, the prison, was created, its purpose and how it should have stayed like throughout all the centuries after its creation.
Finn's side of the story, is the action packed one. It's where you learn about how Incarceron really is, how everything inside the prison works and how everyone lives. It's where you learn about certain myths and where you are confronted with the inhumane situation all the prisoners are subjected to constantly, where you actually understand the dimension and the extent of what our society came to if there was a need to ever create something like that.
Characters are incredible, they are well thought of, well developed and I immensely like how your first impression on almost every one of them slightly changes until you reach the end of the book and you know exactly who they are. The best example of this is Claudia, whom we first might think is a shallow girl but as the pages keep turning we realize just how bright, intelligent and strong she actually is.
I adored this book with every fibre of my being, and once I started I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it.
Overall, I give this book 5 out of 5★.