Monday, December 27, 2010

Perfect read for a snowy day

 On Sunday afternoon and evening, while the wind was blowing at 40mph and the snow was swirling around my house...

... it was the perfect atmosphere for finishing the ARC of Sapphique by Catherine Fisher (Dial, pub date: December 28, 2010 -- tomorrow! -- and fine for ages 12 and up).

Wow!  What an exciting read!  Catherine Fisher does an excellent job of world-building. This is the kind of futuristic fantasy novel that makes me despair of ever being able to write well.  Several storylines interweave to create a richly-textured narrative that makes us question everything. 

First, we see Attia and Keiro, still trapped within the dark, chaotic world of the living prison that is Incarceron.  They'll do anything to find a way Out.  They meet an eccentric magician named Rix who claims to have the glove of Sapphique, the legendary prisoner who Escaped long ago.

Next, Claudia tries to prepare Finn for his coronation as Prince Giles.  But is he the true Prince Giles? Why can't he remember more of his past? How will he prove he's the real prince when a Pretender, supported by the Queen, appears and claims the title for himself?

Finally, Jared, Claudia's tutor and a Sapient, who is struggling with his own illness, attempts to find a way to fix the portal, damaged by the Warden when he disappeared into Incarceron.  Jared thinks he may have an answer to all their problems, especially when a disaster occurs in the Realm.

The living prison of Incarceron is, of course, amazing, especially when it begins to search for a way to escape itself, but what I find most fascinating about Fisher's world is the Realm, a vaguely-18th-century world where since the Years of Rage, nearly everyone observes Protocol, wearing long gowns or breeches and powdered wigs, riding in horse-drawn wagons, and ignoring the techno-gadgetry behind it all.  Kind of a Williamsburg gone mad.  Do you think people would ever be willing to go back -- or pretend to go back -- to a simpler time?  

If you've never read Incarceron, you definitely should start there. If you've already read the first book, grab a copy of Sapphique and enjoy the sophisticated plot and the fine writing.

On a side note, a movie is being made of Incarceron, supposedly with Taylor Lautner as Finn.  I refused to picture him when I read Sapphique, because I already had a firm image in my mind from reading the earlier novel, and that image wasn't of any particular film actor.  

Do you picture movie stars when you're reading a book?  Or does your mind create an original image?


  1. Joanne, thanks for swinging by my blog. INCARCERON is on my reading list ... which is now one book longer thanks to you! :-)

  2. Hi Martha! And thanks for the comment. Heh heh, sorry to add to your TBR list. Mine is huge. But I wouldn't know what to do if I ever actually reached the end of the list. Would life as we know it crumble and fall away? Hmm...

  3. If I saw the movie first - which is rare - then yes, I do picture the movie stars. And in the case of Harry Potter I don't think a movie has been better cast in the history of movies. Such spot on casting that the images I had conjured in my head for books 1 -3 matched seamlessly when the first movie came out.

  4. Hi Kate!
    Thanks for your comment. Totally agree with you about the casting of Harry Potter movies. It's perfect. As far as the actors matching the images I had -- for all the grown-up characters, oh yes! Snape, McGonagle, the older Weasleys, Dumbledore, Sirius, and especially Hagrid: precisely the way I pictured them (I still miss Richard Harris, though).

    But Harry, Ron and Hermione all looked way different in my head. For one thing, Hermione's not supposed to be that pretty!


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