Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

The only one who escaped . . . And the one who could destroy them all.
Incarceron, the living prison, has lost one of its inmates to the outside world: Finn’s escaped, only to find that Outside is not at all what he expected. Used to the technologically advanced, if violently harsh, conditions of the prison, Finn is now forced to obey the rules of Protocol, which require all people to live without technology. To Finn, Outside is just a prison of another kind, especially when Claudia, the daughter of the prison’s warden, declares Finn the lost heir to the throne. When another claimant emerges, both Finn’s and Claudia’s very lives hang on Finn convincing the Court of something that even he doesn’t fully believe.
Meanwhile, Finn’s oathbrother Keiro and his friend Attia are still trapped inside Incarceron. They are searching for a magical glove, which legend says Sapphique used to escape. To find it, they must battle the prison itself, because Incarceron wants the glove too.

I spent much time trying to decide how much I liked this story because there were some key elements that either weren't fully realized or didn't make sense.

First, I want to focus on what I liked. I liked that Incarceron itself became 'infected' with Sapphique's dreams. That is a fantastic concept--a machine experiencing dreams for the first time and how it would change that consciousness. But we never find out why the prison became so cruel. What happened to cause it? Not knowing kept me from understanding Incarceron, and it came off as evil for the sake of evil. The Queen was kind of like that, too, but we could at least see her selfishness driving everything. We never learn what motivates Incarceron.

While we're on the subject of the Queen...she was really irritating, and she's not the kind of character that you love to hate. She had too much knowledge that she should never have had access to, and this knowledge was never explained. So, it felt a bit contrived, and I felt cheated that we never found out.

The ending was okay, I guess. I didn't know how to react because I didn't have the necessary understanding of the prison to fully grasp the potential benefits or consequences. I like how things were resolved, and that Finn and Claudia have their work cut out for them. I wasn't sure what role Attia was supposed to play, though. She didn't seem to be part of any of the resolution.

I would have liked to know more about the connection between Incarceron and the real world. It couldn't have been the glove because things were changing before the glove was in a position to influence anything. I wanted to know more about the eyes in the stars, too. That didn't make any sense to me.

An inconsistency that's bothered me in both Sapphique and Incarceron was the whole Prison vs. Paradise Experiment. A prison is where people are put to be punished, and you certainly don't get punished in paradise. So it didn't make sense that Finn and Claudia were constantly referred to as inmates when society viewed them as living in a perfect world. I was disappointed that we never learn what's what.

I'm not sure if there will be another book. I don't really see where the story can go except for Jared's corruption, which I don't find remotely interesting. So I really hope the story doesn't go there. As it is, I was entertained. And if there is another book, I'll still pick it up to see where it goes.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'll have to see if I agree when I read it. It's on my list at the library.

Tabitha said...

I hope you'll come back and share whether you agree or disagree. :) If you loved it, I'd love to know why--when I don't love a book, I sometimes wonder if I'm missing something. :)

Anonymous said...

I've never read Incarceron, which I'm assuming this is the sequel to. For some reason, I just never got into the concept even though some people raved about it.