Incarceron Book Review

Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells and corridors, but metal forests, dilapidated cities, and wilderness. It has been sealed for centuries, and only one man has ever escaped. Finn has always been a prisoner here.

–Amazon Book Description

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher


Incarceron, first off, is a wicked name for a book. It’s a wicked name for prison around which this story revolves. That’s right. This is a story about criminals. Kind of.

You see, Incarceron was created by the Outsiders to be a paradise, an experiment of sorts. A couple hundred people were placed inside, along with a bunch of Sapients (the wise men of the story). Theoretically, they were all supposed to live in harmony and create a perfect world. But you know how these things work.

Incarceron failed to be a paradise. Inside, with its metal forests and great starless sky, the prisoners have broken down into a several different social groups, all primitive and crude in their own way. It’s a dark and violent world down there. And it’s not made any better by the fact that Incarceron is alive.

That’s right: it’s alive.

The prison controls the lives of the inmates and only one has ever managed to escape, a guy named Sapphique. He has long since faded into legend and his manner of escape lost, but that’s not going to stop our hero, a seventeen year old named Finn, from trying.

Finn has been having dreams of another world ever since he woke up in Incarceron five years ago with no recollection of who he was. He is convinced that there is a world outside Incarceron, one where there stars twinkle in the skies and people aren’t always killing each other for gold and food. And he is convinced he can get there.

Enter Claudia, a young lady doomed to marry a spoiled prince she doesn’t care for. Her father is the warden of Incarceron Claudia is determined to upset any plans her farther has for her future. With the aid of her tutor, she manages to steal a key from her father’s study, a special sort of key that somehow allows her to communicate with the one who holds its copy: Finn.

From here I think you can see where this is going. Claudia convinces Finn that she can help her and together they work out a master escape plan, but things are never, ever that easy. Adventure follows.

Kind of.

I think Incarceron was a book with a lot of promise and a very interesting concept. However, it think it was badly executed. I started off with a lot of gusto, still riding high from my last book the Maze Runner, but my enthusiasm disappeared pretty early on. The beginning of the book was confusing, a little like Fisher’s other novels, where she starts off in the center of the action, leaving explaining for a little later. However, in this case, the explaining never really came. So many things are still fuzzy, even after you finish the book.

There were also a lot of overwhelmingly boring parts, things I just didn’t care for. Claudia’s pieces were like that a lot of the time, but Finn had his moments too. Action would build up and then it would change scenes to something dull. The book seemed overly long. It took the characters a lot of time to mostly just wander around. There were parts that I think were supposed to be exciting, for instance where Finn is going to be sacrificed to a beast (that turns out to be Incarercon which makes no sense because Incarceron is the whole prision) that just end up…well, trippy for lack of a better world. I was left wondering, “What the heck just happened?” And I never really understood.

The characters I must say were rather bland. Finn and his friend Keiro have promise, but they are never built up until the very end. Claudia is frankly annoying. Her problems seem petty and she never does anything surprising or interesting, she’s just your average “bold” female stereotype.

The ending was not only confusing, but boring. I had guessed what was going to happen a long, long time ago. The only surprise was the totally un-foreshadowed and confusing disappearance of certain characters and the random way in which things were resolved.

Incarceron had promise. There were many interesting concepts that never went anywhere, but that I wish had. This book ended up being a disappointment, and there is a sequel coming out, but I think the only thing that’ll get me to read it is boredom, and not any desire to know where the plot is going or how events unfold.

Amazon link.

Ri’s Rating



0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

Leave a comment


  1. John

     /  July 14, 2010

    I agree with everything you mentioned

    • Ri

       /  July 22, 2010

      thanks for commenting :) and even more thanks for agreeing :)

  2. Sara

     /  August 31, 2010

    I completely agree as well. I read a lot of reviews on for this book and was pretty excited to start reading it. From the get go, it seemed like I’d be captured, but that quickly faded! I felt like things, characters, events and most all other important details were shady if non-existent to say the least. I guess this kind of book isn’t for everyone and certainly I’m one of the few who didn’t even slightly enjoy it. I don’t care how bored I get, I will NOT be reading the sequel when it comes out!! Thanks very much for your review!! I’m glad to know I wasn’t alone!!!

    • Ri

       /  August 31, 2010

      I’m glad you feel the same way about me– a suprising amount of people really like this book and I don’t understand why. I am on the same ship as you because I definitely won’t be reading that sequel. Thanks for commenting because comments seriously make my day :)

  3. soske

     /  January 29, 2012

    i decided to buy this book coz i read some nice reviews. when i started to read it, it took me a long time to finish the book. lots of parts got boring. yup, claudia is annoying.

  4. Antonia

     /  March 12, 2012

    I dissagree, i think it was one of the best books i ever read. It made perfect scence to me, and i loved every minute of reading it.

    • Ri

       /  March 15, 2012

      Thanks for being brave and sharing your opinion– I love it when commenters don’t agree! It always makes for a good discussion :). Did you read the second book in the series? Is it worth me trying again?


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