Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

(Cover picture courtesy of It’s All About Books.)

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.

My thought process throughout the novel basically sounded like this: Okay, that’s interesting…Huh?…What’s going on?…That was random…What the heck?…I don’t get it.

It is very rare that I have absolutely no clue what’s going on in a novel, but I admit I had no idea what was going on in Sapphique half of the time.  There was no real explanation for why Incarceron turned so evil, how it made those horrible creatures and the humans within it, what happened before Protocol in Claudia’s world, what the warden’s motivations were…there were so many questions that were never answered.  I don’t need to have all of the answers, but some of them would be nice so I could understand the novel.

Once again, I couldn’t really connect with the characters.  Claudia I sympathized with a bit in the beginning, but was utterly bored by her near the end; Finn was horrible and Attia didn’t have much depth.  The only character that managed to interest me in the least was Jared and he wasn’t the greatest character I’ve ever read about.  It’s like Verdi’s opera Don Carlo, in which the only remotely sympathetic character dies.

The world of Sapphique and Incarceron had so much potential, but there really was no depth to it.  To me, it felt like Catherine Fisher assumed readers knew as much about the world as she did and didn’t bother with any explanations.  It’s very frustrating and about halfway through the novel, I was mentally calculating how much time I had left to finish.

I give this book 1.5/5 stars.

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