Sapphique Book Review

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

In book two of the Incarceron series Finn has escaped the prison only to be thrust into a new kind of jail, one full of rules and backstabbing, and Protocal. He must convince everyone that he is the long lost heir Jiles, but how can he do that if he isn't even sure of it himself? Meanwhile, inside the prison his friends Keiro and Attia maneuver desperately to outwit the Artificial Intelligence that runs the prison. Perhaps the only way to escape is to find the mythic glove of Sapphique, but can they find it before the prison does?

Incarceron was definitely not one of my favorite books. As I stated in that review the pacing was quick, but there were a lot of rules in this world that I didn't understand. In this second installment, I was hoping for answers and all I got were more questions.

Is Finn truly the prince? If so, who was responsible for placing him in Incarceron? And if he isn't, why is he a Starseer? What are these seizures he has? What is the Warden's role within all this? Does he want to preserve Protocol or overthrow it? If he wants to overthrow it, then why has he been lying to the Steel Wolves? Where is Incarceron? Is it really a small cube on a watch chain or is it hidden somewhere? What is the Glove, and how does its magic work? Better yet, is it magic or technology? What causes Keiro and Claudia to exchange places in the two worlds? How does Jared know what he must do to save everyone? Is Rix really a magician? If he is, then why does he resort to cheap tricks in his shows, and where does he get his powers that nobody else seems to have in the book? If he isn't, how does he perform all that magic at the end? How did Attia and Keiro find Ric had the Glove? Why does Incarceron's meltdown cause the illusions of the Realm to disappear? Why is Attia in this story at all? And are we supposed to believe that there is actually any romantic feeling between Claudia and Finn?

One of my biggest pet peeves in this book is the vocabulary. The author has found many wonderful verbs, but after a while I wondered how many things truly smelled acrid? And why was everything so gaudy? The one good thing about listening to the audio book of this rather than reading is that I wasn't as aware of where I was in the chapters or in the book as a whole. However, one couldn't help but notice how episodic each chapter was, reading like Charles Dickens, but without the depth. I grew frustrated with Attia, a character with such promise in the first book and absolutely pointless in this one.

Perhaps the most damning thing about this book was that despite Fisher trying to be mysterious, she was constantly giving away what would happen at the beginning of each chapter. As many books do, there are made of poems and songs regarding Sapphique. Conveniently, these snippets are always telling us what is going to happen in that chapter or worse, at the end of the book. It was like Fisher didn't trust the reader to fully comprehend the chapter and thought they needed a little help. Well, we did need some light shed on the mysteries, but the problem was with the world she created not the actual plot. I understand the plot. Get the Glove. Escape the Prison. Convince everyone you should be King. Simple. It was all the actual world building that was the problem.

Perhaps the inevitable third book will help clear up some of these issues...but I seriously doubt it.


Unknown said...

I thought it was pretty good, but I definitely wasn't blown away. Not sure if I would read another one if one comes out, but it was decent enough to read the sequel.

Great review!