Incarceron is a prison that was supposed to be a paradise. Separate from the outer world and completely self-contained, its prisoners aren't sure there even is an outer world. Finn, who was "cell-born" and remembers nothing except for the last three years, has fits and prophetic visions which could be flash-backs. He is determined that there is more to life than life with his fellow Scum gang members. After finding a key, and knowing what it was when no one else does, he is determined to escape. Claudia is part of the outside world and is the pampered daughter of the Warden of Incarceron. She wants to escape an upcoming arranged marriage to a less-than-intelligent and rather aggressive prince and is determined to find out more about Incarceron.
I was completely confused by this book at first because it is so different and things aren't always explained. The basic questions such as "why do they pretend to be living in the 1600's when the setting is obviously in the future" take awhile to be explained. Don't give up on it! It's well worth taking the time to slog through the first 50 pages or so until you can get caught up in the story. I think what I like best, even more than the characters (I liked Finn and Claudia but I think I liked Attia the best), was just how creative and unique it all was.
There was a smattering of language and definitely some violence and it was much too dark for younger children. I would consider this only for older children but I think that a lot of adults would enjoy it. Is it just me or is Young Adult fiction more interesting than adult fiction these days? Adult fiction seems to be too sex- and murder-oriented and way too self-consciously adult, as in "this is adult fiction so I must use bad language to prove that these are grown-ups in these books". Rated PG-13