Incarceron- Catherine Fisher
A prince lost in a prison that is a world unto itself. The warden’s daughter living in a prison of conventions where she will be forced to marry a man she does not love. Both have keys that link them together and could be the means of their escape.
As a Reader:
It took me a few chapters to get into the story. It would have been even harder if I hadn’t known and liked the premise before I started. Otherwise, I loved the dark Alice in Wonderland/Big Brother feel of the prison, the multi-world aspects, and the themes of prisons and what it means to be free.
As a Writer:
I feel I’ve become oversensitive to clichés. After all, it's the lost prince and the legend, Sapphique, serving as part prophecy/part map, that makes this book clearly fall into the Fantasy genre. The overdependence on coincidences also stood out to me, but having the two keys fall into the right hands at the right time not only makes the story but adds to the fantasy elements. Cliché, to me, means overdone, but at what point a certain element starts to feel overdone is subjective for different readers, writers and (it seems) the publishing world. Also, readers do want familiar elements, so I try to aim for familiar with a twist. I do shy away from most coincidences, preferring to build in enough believable backstory to make situations seem more logical than coincidental.
If you like this, you might also like:
The Maze Runner- James Dashner
Hunger Games and Catching Fire-Suzanne Collins
The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson series)- Rick Riordon
Eragon, Eldest and Brisingr- Christopher Paolini