I was going to make a quickie post yesterday, but my cousin got engaged and the party was last night. I didn't get home until after 1 am, so....here I am! Merry Christmas to those celebrators, Happy Hannuka to those celebrators, and Happy Kwanza to those celebrators!
A few weeks ago I won a contest. (Yay!) One of the prizes was an ARC of Sapphique by Catherine Fisher. The book comes out in two days, but I have a review planned for then but I want to get my review in before the release date. Whenever I get ARCs I like to write something about them, even if I didn't get the book in exchange for it. I chose to write this review of Sapphique.
All links below.
This review CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM INCARCERON the previous book.Now that that's out of the way....
Finn has escaped from the terrible living Prison of Incarceron, but its memory torments him, because his brother Keiro is still inside. Outside, Claudia insists he must be king, but Finn doubts even his own identity. Is he the lost prince Giles? Or are his memories no more than another construct of his imprisonment? And can you be free if your friends are still captive? Can you be free if your world is frozen in time? Can you be free if you don’t even know who you are?
Inside Incarceron, has the crazy sorcerer Rix really found the Glove of Sapphique, the only man the Prison ever loved. Sapphique, whose image fires Incarceron with the desire to escape its own nature. If Keiro steals the glove, will he bring destruction to the world? Inside. Outside. All seeking freedom. Like Sapphique.
Incarceron was a pretty good book, but Sapphique blew me away. I remember really enjoying the previous book, but this was wonderful, though it had it's problems.
Incarceron was told from the POVs of Claudia and Finn. Catherine Fisher artfully switches between characters throughout the story, without the clear-cut switches of the first one. It transfers smoothly and I loved seeing the points of view of the different characters. Very few of them had hidden thoughts. Because of this, I'll talk about more than one or two characters, like I usually do.
~Claudia Arlexa started off obnoxious and self-centered. She softened up a lot, and you can really see this when she thanks a servant in the Wardenry and surprises them. In the middle of the book, Claudia gets a real reality-check when she sees the commonfolk of the Realm. She's a fearless, tough, MC, though I can't really see her ever surviving the Prison, the way she was brought up.
~Finn Starseer/Prince Giles(?) is incredible. He was a bit of a bother in the beginning, exploding at the littlest things, but he has such a true self-doubt that you can't help but like him. He's brave and even after living in the Prison, he's kind.
~Attia, the dog-slave. She's brilliant. Remember all the plot twists in the end of Incarceron? I hope when a book ends that way, but there were a handful of twists like that in the beginning, which was hysterical. She maintains faith in Finn, that he'll come back for her, and she puts up with Keiro, which is a miracle.
Speaking of Keiro, aaawww. He's infuriating, but you can't help but feel bad for him. He's a half-man and he hates himself for it, but he still loves himself. (That's a spoiler from Incarceron, not Sapphique, for those getting mad right now.) He's so annoying and full of himself in the beginning, but he becomes a bit more tolerable as you go along. Definitely pitiable.
~Jared Sapient. One thing that bothered me thoughout Incarceron was his age. Just like Cinna from Hunger Games, I had no idea how old he was throughout the first book. Fortunately, shortly into the second, Queen Sia confronts him about his illness and mentions that he's barely thirty. I love Jared. He's awesome. So selfless and brilliant. He really loves Claudia, as obnoxious as she is, and he always does what's best for everyone, even when that puts is own life at risk.
~Rix was hysterical. I couldn't figure out if he was insane or telling the truth throughout the entire book, but his tricks were incredible. You'd have to read the scene in the Dice with the attackers to fully understand...
~Incarceron. The Prison is its own character, is it not? Incarceron is just evil, though a tiny bit pitiable. He wants one little thing, and everyone is against him. He was forced to act a certain way, so he fought back.
Wow. That was a long character analysis.
It was a thrilling, action-packed book and I have only a few complaints. I felt like there were a handful of quick problems that came before some of the characters, and they weren't described well enough. I had no idea what happened, and in the end they were all fine. Especially the ending. It was like "What's happening?"
My other problem was the questions left unanswered. You never learn how much metal is in Keiro, and the real truth about Giles/Finn/whatever.
The ending was odd. It made sense in a way, but some stuff was just weird.
That was pretty long review.
Links: Amazon Author Site Goodreads Book Deposity
Some stuff I had to share:
"Once Incarceron became a dragon, and a Prisoner crawled into his lair. They made a wager. They would ask each other riddles, and the one who could not answer would lose. It it was the man, he would give his life. The Prison offered a secret way of Escape. But even as the man agreed, he felt its hidden laughter.
They played for a year and a day. The lights stayed dark. The dead were not removed. Food was not provided. The Prison ignored the cries of its inmates.
Sapphique was the man. He had one riddle left. He said, "What is the Key that unlocks the heart?"
For a day Incarceron thought. For two days. For three. Then it said, "If I ever knew the answer, I have forgotten it."
--Sapphique in the Tunnels of Madness"