Review: Incarceron

The first time I saw Incarceron by Catherine Fisher at the bookstore, I immediately picked it up. The cover looked so intriguing, and the title? What does that even mean?
So when I saw that Blog with Bite had chosen it as their YA review for June, I knew it was time to pick up this book and, finally, satiate my thirst.
Boy, am I glad I did.
From the jacket copy: “Incarceron is a prison unlike any other: Its inmates live not only in cells, but also in metal forests, dilapidated cities, and unbounded wilderness. The prison has been sealed for centuries, and only one man, legend says, has ever escaped.”
The book follows Finn, a 17-year-old inmate, as he tries to find his way Outside the prison’s walls. Then, there’s Claudia, a privileged young woman who just might hold the key to Finn’s Escape.
The book is inventive and fascinating. At first, I thought it was predictable. But the author surprised me in the details and nuances of the story. So while I thought I knew what was going to happen, I ended up surprised at the end. That is the best kind of story.
The characters were deep and real. Claudia is such a strong female force, and Finn’s quest to unearth his identity is very compelling. At first, I hated Keiro, but in the end, I felt sorry for him. And Attia — I *loved* Attia for her quick wit and ability to survive. She is so loyal to Finn, and I admire that.
You definitely don’t want to miss this book!
Plot Discussion From This Point…Spoiler Alert!
For me, Incarceron was the tale of *two* prisons. Of course, there is Incarceron itself, which this futuristic society built to lock away all of the wrong and bad people from its world. They locked up the criminals, the murderers and the degenerates. But who made that choice? Who decided these were the bad people?
The inmates of Incarceron were supposed to be placed in a paradise — access to educate, health care and everything they needed to have a functioning Utopian society. But soon, the society unraveled and the prison decayed into Hell.
The central question in the book has to do with the nature of man. Are we inherently evil? Will we corrode anything we touch? Or is it possible to create a paradise?
I think that the parallel prison in the story answers that question. For me, the Protocol dictated by the Queen was another prison. It was a way to contain her subjects. At one point, she even tells Caspar to remember that Protocol is what allows them to rule.
Here you have this highly advanced society — they have wands that can stop signs of aging! — and they have chosen to stop progress and live according to the constraints of an earlier Era (seems like early Victorian England). They have banned all forms of technology and drive coaches pulled by horses and wear petticoats. The poor are servants and the wealthy are courtiers and the Queen is able to control it all.
And the people just let her. This is supposed to be the “good” people in their society, and their world is plagued with murder plots and kidnappings and threats by an evil ruler.
I think that Catherine Fisher has answered her own question in the way that this society is portrayed. Evil is part of everything. There is no way to escape it. In order for there to be good, there must be evil. And there most definitely is.
Discussion Questions…Spoiler Alert!
1. Claudia was portrayed as a very strong character, did you think bravery lead her steps into Incarceron or do you think she just played a card in the prisons hand?
I think that it was her bravery that led her into Incarceron. She made up her own mind throughout the book, and she was able to break free of Incarceron’s influence once she was inside the prison. I think that speaks volumes about the strength of her character.
 2. Although Jared and Claudia’s relationship is purely student/ teacher….did you pick up any undercurrent of sexual tension between them?
I think there was definitely some sexual tension between them. We never really get an idea of how old Jared is…he’s just described as “older.” I don’t think it’s possible for a man and woman to be close friends and not related and not have sexual tension in the relationship.
3. Spill! What are your predictions for the next book Sapphique? What are you looking forward to/what do you hope gets explained before the grand finale?
I think that Keiro will never escape. I think that he will believe Finn betrayed him and he will be trapped in there forever or die in there. I hope we learn the truth about Sapphique and his relationship with Incarceron.

Oohh…what if the Warden was Sapphique? And when he went back in it was Sapphique returning. That would be an awesome twist.4. What do you think of the relationship between the Warden and the Queen in regards to the big picture?

I think that both were selfish and used the other to attain their own goals. It was great how they ended up screwing each other over.
5. Do you think that Finn is the only one besides Sapphique who has escaped or left Incarceron?
Well, if the key is the only way to leave… I would think so… But then again, Sapphique escaped without a key, so who knows?
6. What is your take on the futuristic aspects mixed with the period clothing and mannerisms? Is this what would be considered Steampunk or is it more Science Fiction?
I definitely think that this qualifies as Steampunk. It has the period aspect and the futuristic aspect that define the genre.
Be sure to check out Blog With Bite to see what everyone else thought of Incarceron.
Thanks for looking!

A New ‘Do

Last week, the pups escaped from the back yard.
When we finally found them, it seemed George had gone for a romp in a sticker burr bush. He was covered in the things.
If you remember, George looked like this:
Can you imagine dozens of sicker burrs stuck in that fur?
I witnessed it.
It was not a pretty picture.
So, I took him to the groomers and had them shave him. 
It was time for a new ‘do, right?
Now, he looks like this:
He’s so skinny!
He kind of looks like a cross between a hyena and a baby fawn.
Don’t you think?
I love his satellite ears. 
I think he’s happy with his new look.
Thanks for looking!
When The Minions escaped from the back yard, Georgie got an unintended consequence: A haircut.

Waiting on Wednesday: Clockwork Angel

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
This week, I’m waiting on Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.
I absolutely loved the Mortal Instruments series, and am so looking forward to this new glimpse into the Shadow Hunter world.
From Amazon: “Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa.
As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.”
What are you waiting on this week?

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have a cookie addiction. I love making cookies. I love eating cookies. Cookies are my vice.
So when I stumbled upon this recipe from Annie’s Eats, and she pronounced these cookies as the best chocolate chip cookies of all time, I had to try them.
They definitely are worthy of that praise.
They are that good.
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
 In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugars.
Make sure all the lumps are gone.
Beat together the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and butter.
Gradually add the liquid to the dry mixture and beat until combined.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Form the dough into a small ball.
Break it in half…
And place, broken-side up, on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 11-14 minutes, until the edges are crisp and the centers are puffy.
Allow to cool completely on wire racks.

Post It Note Tuesday

Tonight at midnight, I will be in a dark theater filled with teenage girls anxiously awaiting the appearance of Edward Cullen on the silver screen.
If you can’t tell, I am really excited for the release of Eclipse.
Yesterday, Girls in the Stacks posted a list of what Twilight has taught them. It is so funny. I agree with every*single*thing on the list (especially that Twimoms can go home to their hubbys…I’m not a Twimom, but I do secretly wish my hubby had fangs…)
So today, I thought I’d share a few things I learned from the series, Post It Note-style.
What about you? Are you a Twihard or are you apathetic?
Team Jacob, Team Edward or Team Just-Don’t-Care?
As always, don’t forget to check out Supah Mommy’s blog to see what everyone else has to say, Post It Note style!
Thanks for looking!

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.
As for me, I did *not* refuse to pick out all of the sticker burrs from Georgie’s fur last week after he and Kaylee escaped the backyard. Not me. I would *never* just take my fluffy puppy to the groomers and tell them to shave him to spare myself hours of sticker burr duty.
And now, the poor dog does *not* look like a cross between a baby fawn (with his super skinny long legs) and a hyena (with his satellite ears that are way too big for his little bitty head). Poor little man. I’m planning a blog post to show off his new ‘do.
I also have *not* made my poor husband hole up with me at my parents’ house for the last week. Not me. I would *never* insist that we stay here so I don’t have to be alone every, single day while he works ridiculous amounts of overtime.
And I did *not* talk my mom and sister-in-law into attending the Twilight Trilogy screening on Tuesday night. Not me. I would *never* want to spend seven hours watching Edward Cullen and wishing I was Bella Swan. Oh James, why don’t you sparkle in the sun??
Finally, I did *not* cook and bake every day last week using the excuse that I needed things to post on the blog. Not me. I have a lot more restraint than that. Although, you probably won’t have much restraint when you try the chocolate chip cookie recipe I’m going to post in the next few days. Can you say yummy?
Sorry for the photoless post today, y’all. But honestly, my feet are so sore from standing and cooking and baking and I’m too lazy to try to figure out a photo for this post.
Hope everyone has a great Monday!
Happy Not Me!

In My Mailbox

It’s time for In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren.
This weekly event is a chance to see what books we have all acquired each week.
As usual, all of my books were purchased by yours truly from the bookstore.
I am keeping these authors in business! :)


I am totally drawn in by this cover! And the werewolf mythology in this story is intriguing — on your 16th birthday you find out if you’re a werewolf? Talk about puberty gone wrong.

Ok, I have to admit: I was sold by the jacket copy on this one:”Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.”

Who *doesn’t* want to read about a warrior who could rival Chuck Norris?

Count me in!

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

I love, love, love this cover. Can you tell I’m a cover girl? Hehe.

I also am excited to read about a girl who fights werewolves, and isn’t one herself. This is such a unique idea out in this world of vampires and werewolves; I can’t wait to get to it!

Well, what did you all get this week?

Happy Sunday! Protection Status