Sapphique: One Of The Easiest Ways To Make Someone Dislike A Book Is To Make All The Characters Annoying

Sapphique is written by Catherine Fisher. It is the sequel to Incarceron (which I reviewed here). It was published in 2008 by Dial Books. Fisher’s website can be found here.

Spoilers for Incarceron.

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult

Summary/Blurb:

“Incarceron, the living prison, has lost one of its inmates to the outside world: Finn’s escaped, only to find that Outside is not at all what he expected. Used to the technologically advanced, if violently harsh, conditions of the prison, Finn is now forced to obey the rules of Protocol, which require all people to live without technology. To Finn, Outside is just a prison of another kind, especially when Claudia, the daughter of the prison’ warden, declares Finn the lost heir to the throne. When another claimant emerges, both Finn’s and Claudia’s very lives hang on Finn convincing the Court of something that even he doesn’t fully believe.

Meanwhile, Finn’s oathbrother Keiro and his friend Attia are still trapped inside Incarceron. They are searching for a magical glove, which legend says Sapphique used to escape. To find it, they must battle the prison itself, because Incarceron wants the glove too.”

~Inside Flap

Passages/Quotes:

“Call me Ishmael,” he said, and then laughed, a sudden throaty bark that startled her.

“What?”

“From a patchbook I once read. About a man obsessed with a great white rabbit. He chases it down a hole and it eats him and he’s in its belly for forty days.” He gazed out at the featureless pain of tilted metal, its few spiny shrubs. “Guess my name. Riddle me my name, Attia mine.”

She scowled, silent.

“Is my name Adrax, or Malevin, or Korrestain? Is it Tom Tat Tot or Rumplestiltsker? Is it—”

“Forget it,” she said. There was a crazy glint in his eye now; he was staring at her in a way that she didn’t like. To her alarm he leaped up and yelled out, “Is it Wild Edric who rides upon the wind?”

~Fisher 36

“Tell us more about the day you remember. The day of the hunt.” The Shadow Lord loomed over him, eyes hard.

Finn stood in the empty center of the room. He wanted to pace about. Instead he said, “I was riding…”

“Alone?”

“No…there must have been others. At first.”

“Which others?”

He rubbed his face. “I don’t know. I’ve tried to think, over and over, but…”

“You were fourteen.”

“Fifteen. I was fifteen.” They were trying to trick him.

“The horse was chestnut?”

“Gray.”

~Fisher 234-235

Cover Art

Warnings: Violence.

Recommended Age Range: 14+

Rating: 2/5

What I Liked:

Jared is amazing, just like he was in the last book.

Fisher is doing some great things here with the world she has built. Like I said for Incarceron, it’s a great concept. I liked the ending and the bleak hope the characters have as they stare at their ruined world but know that they can rebuild it and make it better.

I liked Attia a whole more in this book than I did in Incarceron. In fact, she was the only character I liked besides Jared.

Fan art by iabri71 on deviantart

What I Didn’t Like:

So many unanswered questions. Is Finn the real Giles or not? Who is Rix? Why in the world did Finn think of old Tom mentioning his son when old Tom did not, in fact, mention his son?

Why are all the characters (with the exception of two) so annoying? Keiro made me grind my teeth in annoyance, Claudia was too untrusting, too stubborn, and too arrogant and snobby and Finn was always sulky and moody. Unlikeable characters can really ruin a book, and it really almost ruined this one. For me, to get into a book I have to enjoy the characters, and when I can only stand reading about two out of the main five, there’s a problem. I do not enjoy a book when I feel like punching Keiro in his smirking, arrogant face, or slapping Claudia for being so snobby and high-and-mighty, or shaking Finn for being so sulky and angry. Oh, that’s another thing: I don’t think any of these characters actually develop at all over the course of Incarceron and Sapphique.

Also, Fisher’s writing drives me crazy with her comma usage and lack of conjunctions.

Overall Review:

I don’t understand the praise for this duology and for Fisher. To me, this is a mediocre fantasy at best. The characters are unlikeable and have no development whatsoever; there are a lot of unresolved plot points and questions left unanswered; and the concept, while unique and interesting, is not enough to redeem this book.

Coming Up Next: Requiem by Lauren Oliver (on Friday!)

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