Fisher, Catherine. Incarceron. New York: Penguin Group, 2010.
He froze. He couldn't move. her fingers were cool and clean, and she had touched him on his skin, between the torn sleeve and the glove, and she was looking at the tiny tattoo of the crowned bird.
She frowned. "That's not a Civicry mark. It looks like..."
"What?" He was alert at once. "Like what?"
A rumble miles off in the Hall. The chains at his feet slithered. Bending over them the man with the cutters hesitated. "That's odd. This bolt. It's loose..."
The Maestra stared at the bird. "Like the crystal."
A shout, behind them.
"What crystal?" Finn said.
"A strange object. We found it."
"And the bird is the same? You're sure?"
"Yes." Distracted, she turned at looked at the bolt. "You weren't really--"
He had to know about this. He had to keep her alive. He grabbed her and pulled her to the floor. "Get down," he whipsered. And then, angrily, "Don't you understand? It's all a trap."
Finn is a prisoner, believed by most to have been a product of Incarceron itself--though he doesn't believe it for a moment. Even if he can't can't remember his past, he knows he had one before the prison. Claudia is the Warden of Incarceron's daughter, destined to be the next queen of the world Outside, where new technology is forbidden and the populace is kept in specific Eras. All she knows of Incarceron is that it is a centuries-old experiment, a utopia created to keep all the convicts and madmen out of the way.
What a brilliant novel. The writing is exciting, the plot fast paced, and the characters vibrant. If you're feeling the dystopia genre right now, this novel is a must. However, if you're looking for romance, not so much. There's less romance here than there was in Hunger Games. Not that that's a problem, it just seems that many people reading teen right now want romance.
On the other hand, the lack of romance means that this is a great choice for boys. I know it's been hard to find anything for all the kids that loved the Eragon series, and this is it. It's definitely written in the style of high fantasy, but it has all the excitement of teen dystopias.
One thing I particularly loved about it was the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. In Inkheart-style, Fisher has chosen made-up quotes from ancient texts, folk songs, diaries, and letters to start off each chapter. And each one relates to what is happening in the chapter, providing information that is essential for us to know. Also, I loved the cover art. It's just dark and abstract enough to capture the feel of the novel, yet doesn't give anything away. Plus, it's shiny, and I like shiny things...