Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review + Giveaway: Sapphique

SAPPHIQUE (Incarceron #2)
Catherine Fisher
Young Adult
460 pages
Releases December 28, 2010
Received from publisher for review

For so long Finn dreamed of escaping the sentient prison he and his oathbrother Keiro battled on a daily basis, knowing all the while they might not ever reach what lies beyond it's ever-changing walls. With the help of Claudia, a young girl from Outside, Finn has finally gotten his taste of freedom, only it's sweetness is not quite as potent as he imagined.

Things on the Outside aren't much better than the brutal reality of Incarceron, and while Finn knew how to battle the prison, the world of politics and the social etiquette expected of him as the long lost heir to the throne is baffling. Add in the guilt of leaving Keiro behind, and his dream has turned into a nightmare.

To make matters worse, a new young man has stepped forward claiming to be the lost prince, and he has the memories Finn has long since forgotten, though visions of his former life still plague him. While Finn deals with a potential usurper, Keiro and companion Attia try to find a way out of Incarceron on their own, realizing it's watching their every move but unaware of the prison's own plans for escape. Soon the separate worlds in which Finn and Keiro reside will collide, allegiances will be severed, and nothing for either reality will ever be the same.

The sequel and conclusion to Incarceron, Sapphique continues to build on the astounding world introduced previously, a world where surety is replaced with possibility and concrete knowledge with ambiguity. We straddle two radically different environments while reading, both which should be pristine, unblemished paradises where virtue and magnanimity flourish, but have instead been infected by greed, ambition, and the desire to rule no matter how small the territory under their thumbs. In this world, complacency doesn't exist and the most basic human desire of wanting rather than needing is prominent. The want of power. The want of control. The constant, nagging want to acquire new things without heed to the consequences of such inclinations. These intriguing musings and profound questions regarding our own natures are coupled with a world of limitless creativity, a combination that holds us in a fascinated stupor we're in no hurry to shake off.

Just as with Incarceron, Sapphique is predominantly story and world-driven, the characters distanced from us and seemingly devoid of deep emotion as they've been forced to survive in separate but equally stifling worlds that have stripped them of anything other than an instinct to survive. Because of the nature of the worlds in which they live, the cold and aloof demeanor is understandable and, in Incarceron, was easily explained away in that context. However, in this second installment, the lack of an emotional connection is a more significant barrier, one we struggle to traverse but are ultimately unable to do so. Where we had a spark of life from Finn previously, one that could have guided us to the attachment for which we so desperately search in this book, it has now been thoroughly doused by the guilt of his escape and his decision to leave his friends behind with what he's quickly realizing may have been an empty promise of return. The shiny newness of the world, though it still holds us transfixed, is unable to satisfy us completely, and there is a noticeable vacancy where our welcome entanglement with Finn, Claudia and the remaining characters should be.

Additionally, where the open-ended nature of the conclusion of Incarceron wasn't bothersome since we knew a sequel was coming, the questions we are left with at the end of this story are far more troubling. Not only is the end open to interpretation, which is absolutely fine, it's crowded with blatant and perplexing enigmas in a world already blanketed in the endless blackness of possibility. Every door we walk through to search for answers transforms into a false passageway, a conjured illusion to keep us guessing, and we realize our questions in fact have no answers and no solid form to be revealed, they only change shape along with the prison itself to present us with a different facet for examination, but still one that yields no absolutes. Every character we meet is peering out at us through a mask, and beneath it is yet another mask, this one more detailed and convincing than the last as their identities, motivations, and allegiances are more difficult to decipher than ever. Though allowing us to form our own conclusions is welcome, a bit more information and just a couple of answers would have been appreciated after such an arduous journey.

The world of Incarceron and Sapphique is truly breathtaking; a marvel of imagination and creativity that seems to make the depths of our own minds shallow in comparison. Though this second and final installment is not quite as strong as its predecessor, it's still an intriguing read that raises powerful questions and delights us with fantastical elements we won't soon forget.

Rating: 3.5/5


The fabulous Sandy over at Pirate Penguin's Reads has generously donated her ARC of Sapphique and offered it as a giveaway to accompany my review, so a huge thank you to Sandy! To enter, just leave a comment with your email address so I have a way to contact you if you win. Contest will run through December 30th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Because I already have this ARC in hand, the contest is US only, so sorry to all my international readers, but stay tuned for my New Year's giveaway January 3-9 as it will be international! Good luck everyone!


  1. ohh I cannot wait for Sapphique! Incarceron was amazing and i hope the movie adaptation is as amazing as my visual imagery while I was reading the book. Thanx for putting this out there for us all. Happy holiday reading!

  2. haha I hit send but did not give my info.
    Teri C

  3. OO, I would love to be entered! Thanks for the giveaway.

    Kristy @ Dreaming By Day

  4. Looking forward to this one! Thanks ^.^

  5. I haven't read Incarceron yet but I've heard good things about it. One of these days I'll get around to reading it hopefully.

  6. I seriously can't wait to get my hands on this book! I just have to resist buying it until this contest ends D:

  7. I would love to read this ARC!

  8. Awesome!!


  9. Man, I really need to work on my TBR list and read Incarceron! Please enter me :) Thanks!


  10. I read Incarceron not too long ago and thought it was amazing. I'd love to get Sapphique! Enter me please! :) Thanks.


  11. I have been waiting to read this one! Thanks for hosting - please enter me. Happy Holidays.

  12. Another great review and another book to the list. I want to read about this breathtaking world :)

  13. I tried not to read too much since I haven't finished Incarceron yet (I'm terrible, I know.) But I did see the bit about it ending with lots of questions and not knowing if there's another book. Eep!

  14. Thanks for the giveaway!


  15. Thanks for the giveaway, please enter me!

  16. OMG! So jealous you read this, Thanks for the review. Enter me please!!!

    bwithbite (at) gmail (dot) com

    Thanks Jenny and Sandy!!!

  17. Ugh...I hate conclusions that leave you feeling like something's missing. I wonder if there will end up being a third book after all. I loved Incarceron and hope that I enjoy Sapphique as much.
    One thing that I noticed when I read Incarceron is that the points of view changed from Claudia to Finn and back very quickly - sometimes every page or so. I liked the quickness of this, but some people found it disruptive or confusing. What did you think?

  18. I haven't read this series yet, but I've seen a lot of buzz for it around the blogosphere, so I may just check it out at some point.

    I see you have Unearthly up next. I just finished that book and OMG! I'm in love. Amazing! :)

  19. I'm absolutely dying to read Sapphique because I really enjoyed Incarceron. I'll definitely keep your thoughts in mind though because I was super confused for a lot of book one. Excellent review, Jenny :)


  20. I would love to read it, it sounds so good.

  21. I loved Incarceron and would love to read this second book! Thanks so very much!

    mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

  22. Yay! I've been looking forward to this one for a while. Thanks for the chance to win!

  23. I've never heard of this series before, but it sounds so intriguing! I am going to have to check it out!

  24. I have not hear of this series, but from you review I want to know more.

    Bhitwr at gmail dot com

  25. Great review, Jenny!

    I read these books back to back and couldn't connect to the character for the reasons you said, the world driven nature of the stories. I thought it to be an interesting concept, but falling short on execution because the dueling nature of living in Era and technology.

    I agree that there was some great stuff done with imagery, still, I felt confused by some of the muddled details of what was going on.

    Clearly, I'm not suited for this world. LOL

  26. Would love to read this book!

    DreamyCowgirl @

  27. I CANNOT wait to read this. Thanks for the giveaway and review!
    adannabanana at hotmail dot com

  28. I would love to be entered.

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

  29. I've been meaning to read this series, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I mean, it sounds like something I would really like, but... It isn't at the top of my tbr. xD Maybe I'll read it in the New Year or something. :) Anywho, lovely review, as always! ♥


  30. great giveaway
    follow via gfc

  31. I can't wait to read this book, but I'm a little worried about the open ending. What would you say disappointed you the most, Jenny?

  32. I haven't read the first one, but I still want to read both of these! Thanks for the balanced review.

    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

  33. For some reason I really couldn't get into Incarcaron. But I did finish it and your review has convinced me to try Sapphique. Thanks for a great review.

  34. I loved the first book and have been dying to read Sapphique. Thanks for the chance to win!
    melodiousrevelry (aT) gmail (dot) com

  35. Oh I loved the first one. Can't wait to read this one!

    chellie83 (at) gmail (dot) com

  36. Thanks for this opp! I did eventually enjoy Incarceron. It's a unique story, for sure. I hope Sapphique expands more of the world.

    SmashAttackReads at gmail dot com

  37. Oooh exciting! I'm in. Thanks! annareadsbooks (at) gmail (dot) com

  38. Thanks for the opportunity!

    imagesandwords at optonline dot net

  39. Great review! I have Incarceron on my TBR! =)

  40. Haven't read this series yet, but boy do I want to!
    I follow on GFC.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  41. Thanks for the giveaway!

  42. I'd love this ARC! Please count me in. Thank you!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  43. I really want to read this one, thanks for the giveaway!

  44. I would love to read this!
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  45. Looking forward to this one!
    thanks for the giveaway