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.
Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, can't remember his childhood and believes he came from Outside Incarceron. He's going to escape, even though most inmates don't believe that Outside even exists. And then Finn finds a crystal key and through it, a girl named Claudia.
Claudia claims to live Outside -- her father is the Warden of Incarceron, and she's doomed to an arranged marriage. If she helps Finn escape she will need his help in return.
But they don't realize there is more to Incarceron then meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage, and cost far more than they know.
Because Incarceron...is alive.

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 This book was an interesting read for me from the very beginning. It starts off on a gripping note, and although you don't really get what's happening at first, pretty soon the action all resolves itself and you find yourself in the middle of a fantastic world of thieves, beggars, leaders, and gangs, all wrapped up in a giant living prison-machine.
On the other side of this is Claudia, who, although she isn't inside Incarceron, is stuck in a prison of her own, like everyone else in her world. They live under a mandate which forbids scientific or technological advancement -- everyone is frozen in the past, and Claudia herself is being forced into a marriage with the detestable prince of the realm, due to the machinations of her scheming father, to whom she thinks she is nothing but a tool.
The sheer scope of this book drew me in right away. Incarceron is unbelievably huge, and it is a perfectly sealed, self-sufficient system -- nothing gets in, nothing gets out. Although Finn and Claudia find a means of communication with each other through their keys, no one else -- either Inside or Outside -- has any way of knowing what happens on the other side.
I devoured this book straight through to the end, but after I finished I realized something: I didn't actually care for any of the characters. The grand revelation about all of them at the end wasn't interesting for me, none of their development held any interest. A rather drastic way of putting it is this: if they had all blown up or died from evil food poisoning, I wouldn't have mourned -- or applauded -- their deaths.
The book drew me in because of its world-building; its vast prison that had surprising revelations of its own; its legends and its histories. Because of that I can say I enjoyed reading it, but I'm certainly in no hurry to reread it, or even to read the next book in the series: Sapphique. Though I just might out of curiosity :D