Last year, the teen/YA audio novel Incarceron kept my family riveted during our spring break road trip to Louisiana and back. Author Catherine Fisher had created a very unique world that combined modern technology with an old-fashioned veneer. This spring break, as we drove to Oklahoma and back, its sequel, Sapphique, helped the miles fly by. (I tried to avoid second book spoilers here, but if you haven’t read Incarceron yet, you’d be better off reading that review).
As in the first book, the action of this second novel switches back and forth between Incarceron, the grimy, industrial, living prison and the outside world, where nobility and peasants live as though it were an earlier century, despite the ignored existence of very advanced technology. Now, really, if you haven’t read Incarceron yet, you might want to skip the next two paragraphs…
At the start of the novel, Finn is trying to adjust to life Outside with Claudia, but he finds that it has its own challenges and is not the utopia he’d thought it was. Meanwhile, the friends he left behind in Incarceron, Attia and Keiro, continue to struggle within the prison, in search of a magical glove, said to have been the way that the legendary Sapphique escaped.
Claudia worries about her father, who is now trapped within Incarceron, and her beloved tutor, Jared, whose health continues to worsen, and can’t help but have doubts as to whether Finn is truly the missing prince, though she wants to believe it. When another young man shows up, also claiming to be the lost prince, Finn must somehow prove he is the true heir in order to save both his and Claudia’s lives.
I think we all favored Incarceron just a bit, perhaps for its surprising turns and new setting, but Sapphique had plenty of its own twists and surprises to keep us listening happily for hours. Reader Kim Mai Guest did a marvelous job with both books, giving each character his or her own unique voice. Fans of fantasy and dystopian novels (though this isn’t strictly dystopian) will thoroughly enjoy both books in Catherine Fisher’s imaginative and fast-paced set.
Listen to a sample of Sapphique: