By Catherine Fisher
Okay, so it turns out, I did read Sapphique after Incarceron as a teenager. I didn’t forget about it! I actually mixed the two books into one in my head! Personally, I call that a good thing. Fisher’s two books smooth into one another without any hiccups, and the story moves along, picking up right where Incarceron left us.
Sapphique is much more cerebral than the thrilling Incarceron, and I enjoyed getting to know the worlds a little more through its pages. Its genre still sits well within adventure fantasy though! Fisher’s writing is exciting and tasteful.
Most of Sapphique takes place in the outside world, and I loved getting to submerge myself in it. Claudia and Jared gave us glimpses in Incarceron, but the sequel lets us bathe in the everyday, the people who are so far past delusion they seem perfectly sane, including you as the reader! Every creeping step toward disaster in Sapphique plays an excellent role in giving off the “oh, this is not good” vibe that Fisher is clearly reaching for with each page turn.
I think my only disappointment with Sapphique is the ending. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se, but I really wish there had been a more practical answer to the danger and threats that were weaved into both Incarceron and Sapphique. As it is, I felt a bit jilted, as though Fisher pulled half a Deus ex Machina. On top of that, it’s not explained very w
ell how said event occurred either. Fisher created a gorgeous machine and intelligence through word and it fell flat in the conclusion.
Does that mean I was less interested in how the book ended? Both yes and no. Yes, because it was such a letdown and left me with question marks floating above my head. No, because this event happens
less than twenty pages before the end of the book. You think, “Okay, maybe I’ll get something better before the end, during the wrap-up.” You won’t.
Sapphique ends on a note of “Well, what do we do now?” that many post-apocalyptic novels and movies end on. It even has a line that’s in the spirit of “Now we survive” that so many of those same novels and movies end with before the traditional fade-to-black. But what problem was solved? The problem of the prison? The outside world? Neither, if I’m being honest. Sapphique’s ending wasn’t terribly satisfying because of this.
Part of me believes that Fisher may have hoped to write a third book for this series, but, so far, that hasn’t occurred. There’s certainly more than enough material for another book. There’s tons of room for character growth and new problems to be had!
Join me next time as I take a sharp turn and tackle The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold!