Book Review: Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

9:32 AM


So! I'm doing a book review today. This was the first book on my TBR pile last week, when I blogged about said TBR pile, and obviously I've gotten to it since then.

This book is Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, and you need to go read it now.


It looks a little sci-fi, a little fantasy, and a little steampunk, and one of the main characters is named Finn. Just my kind of thing.

That's what I said about it last week, and it was absolutely true! Except it was a lot more steampunky than I though. Being a steampunk writer who's always trying to find more to read, I had absolutely no problems with this.

It's actually really, really hard to sum up this book without giving away spoilers, at least for me. But it's about a steampunk prison, Incarceron, that's more than a little alive, and some of the prisoners inside using knowledge from old prison lore to escape. It's also about a girl and her amazing and smart tutor Outside the prison, fighting an arranged marriage and evil queen and trying to find the prison and all that fun. It's steampunky and sci-fi-ish and I enjoyed the setting to pieces.

Somehow, it always comes back to Doctor Who.

I loved the characters! Every single one of them was adorable and broken and needed a big hug. The main characters, Finn and Claudia, were both likable, which is unusual in my experience! Finn was loyal to his friends and very caring and brave when it really counted, and he wasn't the stereotypical guy MC, which is always nice. Claudia was also not a stereotypical YA MC - she was whip-smart and had a brutal sense of sarcasm and didn't take nonsense from anyone and was vastly insensitive, which is always hilarious and nice as well. And they weren't together for most of the book. There's some romance, but it wasn't a huge part of the story, because it would have felt slapped in there because reasons. I was a fan. I loved the side characters, too! They all needed hugs. Between all of them, there was lots of sass and snark and brokenness and ~friendship and backstabbing and all the things I love out of good character interactions. Win. 

The plot was...confusing. I feel like I need to read it again, because the world and the story were so big that I got lost a lot of the time, and lost track of what was happening and who was where and all that. It was partly because I read fast, but I think the pacing was pretty breakneck - not a bad thing, just makes it hard to keep up with all that action! 

There was lots of running about. 


The setting was gorgeous. Oh goodness, I was a fan. Inside Incarceron it was all dark and brutal and steampunky and full of gangs and customs and did I mention backstabbings? Poor Finn navigates it pretty well, all things considered. He deserves cake for that. I wouldn't want to be put in that prison, which I guess is kind of the point. Outside, in Claudia's world, it's a lighter sort of steampunk, with people trying to live in the older ways blended with technology, and there is lots of royalty and 'Protocol' and manners and tutors and more backstabbing. An outrageous amount of backstabbing was in this book and I was wildly pleased with all of it. Another win. 


AND THE PLOT TWIST. I won't even spoiler tag it because it's too incredible and tempting and I was flailing wildly. Basically, I went right to the library the next day and checked out the sequel, Sapphique, right away because I needs it, precious, yes I do. THAT ENDING. *flails*

I also brought my TBR stack back to 18 books, but we don't need to talk about that.

So. If you're a fan of steampunk and fantasy and sci-fi, especially blended together, and can handle a confusing plot and a big world and Every Term Capitalized Because Reasons, and snark, and feels, and backstabbing, this is the book for you. I certainly enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would!

I gave it four stars on Goodreads. Because of the confusion.

You tell me. Have you read Incarceron? Have I maybe convinced you to give it a go? What book(s) are you reading this week? How big is your TBR? Comment away. 

12 comments

  1. I haven't read Incarceron. I keep getting it out, but my TBR pile is so big I have to keep taking it back before I can even look at it. Then I kept not getting it out since it'll be so long before I can get to it.
    I suppose that sort of answers the 'how big is my TBR pile' question.

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  2. Glad you liked this. I really wanted too. But it was so boring, I saw everything coming before it happened. So I was like so bored...lol and then I didn't like the characters. BUT I did think the world was cool. :)

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    1. Ah, I can see that...I'm sorry you didn't like it! But glad you appreciated the fantastic worldbuilding. xD

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  3. Well I'm sold!! Here's to gorgeous covers and plot twists and RELATABLE MAIN CHARACTERS WHO DON'T FALL IN LOVE IN CHAPTER ONE.
    Ahem. :) :) I'm glad you liked it.

    Chloe | Curious Ramblings

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  4. I haven't read much steampunk, but I think it's a really interesting genre, especially when mixed with sci-fi. I quite like complicated books because they beg for rereading, and I love rereading books. Every time I reread a book, I find out more and more about the plot and characters and world, and it's just a wonderful feeling. :)

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    1. Oh, all of this...yes. I agree with ALL THE THINGS, Ana. Steampunk is my most favoritest x3

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  5. Yet another book to add to my TBR! Yay for books! :)

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  6. Ooh this sounds excellent! I've heard of this one once or twice ages back but I never really gave it a second thought. I'm definitely curious now! I do adore reading steampunk--there's not enough of it! I'm glad that you found most of the aspects in the story to be captivating.

    Nice review, Aimee <33

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    1. I know...I kept hearing about it, and finally a friend pressured me into it and I actually enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. It's AMAZING. Confusing, complex, but very good when you have the time to think about it.

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hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.