Sapphique: A Review

Sapphique by Catherine FisherFinn has finally Escaped Incarceron, the living prison and the only home he remembers. He is the long lost heir to the throne of the Realm. But he still feels like a prisoner.

Outside isn’t the paradise he or his fellow prisoners dreamt of. Instead, Finn finds himself trapped in a complicated game of intrigue and lies he can’t seem to escape still unable to remember his past or help his friends Inside.

Claudia, daughter of Incarceron’s Warden, thought helping Finn escape and declaring him the long lost heir to the Realm would be the end of her problems. Instead she finds herself with new ones as her fate is tied dangerously to Finn’s and his attempts to reclaim the throne.

Meanwhile Finn’s friends Keiro and Attia are still trapped Inside. There are rumors in the prison of a magical glove–a glove that Sapphique himself used to escape.

But finding it won’t be easy.

Sapphique was the only prisoner Incarceron ever loved and it is desperate to see the wonders he spoke of Outside, desperate enough to try an Escape of its own.

Everyone is wants to Escape, but life Outside can be as perilous as life Inside in Sapphique (December 2010*) by Catherine Fisher.

Sapphique is the stunning sequel to Incarceron. Much as I enjoyed this book, it really is dependent on the first book as a foundation and should be read in order.

The story picks up shortly after Incarceron’s breathtaking conclusion. Fisher aptly captures the discomfort and confusion of going from rags to riches and the dangers even a world of luxury can hold. This book also expands upon the relationships of the first book and reveals more about the characters–their wants, their fears. Many of the secondary characters (especially Jared and Keiro) are more developed in this volume though Attia still remained very enigmatic.

Broken into five parts, Sapphique takes readers across the Realm, into the depths of Incarceron and beyond. The lore of the Realm and Incarceron is well-developed and excellently shared in the story and in epipgraphs from ephemera of the Realm/Prison found at the beginning of each chapter.

While Sapphique is a satisfying conclusion to a breakneck adventure of a series, some readers may find the ending a bit rushed. Everything about the prison and the Realm is explained. The problem with such a well-realized world is that there is a lot to explain. And that leaves little time for tying up loose ends with characters.**

Sapphique has all of the action and intrigue readers of the first book will remember and love but it also delves into new territory about Protocol and Incarceron leading to a conclusion that is in many ways just as shocking and just as well-realized as the powerhouse ending of Incarceron.

*Sapphique was originally published in 2008 in the UK.

**To be fair Fisher really does explain and resolve everything. All the same, some resolutions were more implied between the lines than this reviewer would have liked.

Possible Pairings: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E. K. Johnston, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, 1984 by George Orwell, Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund, Everland by Wendy Spinale, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne, Hook (movie with Robin Williams)

Exclusive Bonus Content: I love the covers for the US versions of these books. Incarceron has a key and Sapphique has a lock. Aside from loving locks and keys, I think this is really a clever way to capture some essential truth about this duet.

Also, did Sapphique remind anyone else a lot of Eugenides from Megan Whalen Turner’s Thief books?

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