Sapphique, by Catherine Fisher, the sequel to the critically acclaimed Incarceron. Picking up where the first novel left off, readers once again find themselves in an fantastical, immersive world fraught with danger and intrigue. If there's anything to be said about this book, it's that there's so much detail that you'll often find yourself looking up just to check that you haven't been transported to the vast expanse that is the Prison. If you haven't read the first book, I advise you read my review of it for the sake of avoiding spoilers.
Starting from the end of the first, you're plunged into a dank alleyway, following closely behind Attia. As fate would have it, she's found herself an occupation. She still isn't free of the prison, though she trusts that some day now, Finn will free her. Some day...
Meanwhile, Finn wrestles with a pair of identities. Is he really the lost prince? He left me full of his own doubt, and his day to day difficulties as the new prince (the struggle reminded me of what happened when Miss Watson tried to "sivilize" Huckleberry Finn), trapped between his old nature and his new life gets stuck between the two, completely unsure of what to do. He's always contending with the nagging idea that somebody else, somewhere, is. He reasons that even if he is the lost prince, that he's no longer fit for the position, having been scarred, broken and wiped by life in the prison.
Claudia, the Warden's daughter, tries desperately to redeem Finn as Giles, prince of the Havaarnas, all the while trying to protect herself from whatever the wicked queen has in mind.
I'd hate to give too much away, so I'll stop myself here. I must say that this is one of the most satisfying sequels I've run across in quite a while. The book was quite descriptive, and I almost feel as if I've already seen the book as a film. For the record, this is a good feeling. Fisher has created interesting, multidimensional characters that twist, turn, and behave realistically. Also adding to the realist is the way that Fisher describes environments and events. You'll hear the crowds gasp, and feel... Well, I can't quite tell you everything you'll feel for the sake of spoilers, but nonetheless, this book is engaging, exciting, and fascinating. Politics seem to play a lesser role, which is somewhat regrettable, since it was really a big plus in the last book, just watching how the people were influenced by Protocol. On the other hand, we're given a greater glimpse into the role Protocol plays in the lives of not only the richer citizens, aristocrats etc., but also how it affects the poorer classes. Just for the record, Protocol plays a huge part in moving the story forward, essentially being an enforced lack of technology, forcing people to live in a false seventeenth century.
In all, I enjoyed this book even more than the original, and my only regret is that this is the final book in the series. That being said, it's a series worth looking into if you're looking for a good science fantasy novel, if you just enjoy adventures, or if you're just looking for a fun book in general.
Official Website: http://www.sapphiquebook.com/