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Red House Books is going through a bit of a update!

I've always had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted this space to be but I've been detoured from my path by...lots and lost of other people's opinions and ways of doing things...

I'm committed to this little chunk of the interweb but I've also branched out into other places so! Now it's time to think of Red House Books as more of a hub of all things me! And Me is a hell of a lot of book love!

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Review: Escape From Furnace: Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith

Publication Date: August 2010 (US edition)
Pages: 290
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: received a finished copy for review

Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.
Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Wow. What a thrill ride! I first picked up Lockdown with the intention of reading only a few pages but before I knew it I had 1/3 of the book done. I was ripped into the story, throw around, and spit back out...and then I asked for more.

A Dystopian version of the not so distant future where intense violence committed by young offenders has pushed society to the extreme. Life imprisonment in Furnace. A prison built from the very earth. One way in and no way out.

Beneath Heaven is Hell. Beneath Hell is Furnace.

With a tag line like that I knew I wasn't going to be disappointed!

The setting was detailed, gory, horrific and most importantly, realistic. This last fact shocked me a little. I mean, this sort of prison and the people and the society that created it could never actually exist...right?

Final verdict:
Gordon's depiction of Alex's struggles were full of such raw emotion I was literally sitting at the edge of my seat during certain sections. I had given up hope long before Alex even considered it and his fortitude acted like a shinning light in an otherwise dark and cold hell.

Graphic at times, not for the weak of heart but full of action. No romance, which was kinda nice. Characters I loved and characters I loved to hate.

Very different from other YA dsytopian books I have read. I can see young male readers really connecting to Alex as a character and very much being as wrapped up in his story as I found myself.

Oh - and it ends on a cliff hanger - a BIG one. So make sure you have a copy of Solitary within arms reach!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Escape From Furnace Series:
Death Sentence (June 2011)
Book 4 (?)
Book 5 (?)

Linkage Love:
Square Fish / Macmillan
Author info


  1. Wow! Sounds like a great read. I'm definitely going to be checking my library for this book. Thanks for the review. ^_^

  2. Thanks for the review!
    I am always on the look out for more GREAT dystopia reads! :)


  3. Nice review - I have been hoping to read this one!

  4. I'm really intrigued by this, especially since it does sound quite different than the other YA dystopias out there. Thanks for your review!

  5. This sounds so creepy! Definitely have to check it out!

  6. This book sounds awesome! I've been wanting to read it for a long time, and your review sounds great! I love finding books that are so good you haven't noticed that half the book is done!

  7. Great review. I really like the sound of this novel!

  8. WOW this book sounds amazing! I really need a strong male character after i've been listening to whiny YA heroines lately...

  9. It sounds really unique and interesting! Great review!


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