Book Review : Lockdown (Escape From Furnace #1) by Alexander Gordon Smith

Published August 3rd 2010 by Square Fish

Available Online:
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Beneath Heaven is Hell. Beneath Hell is Furnace.

Furnace Penitentiary: An underground hellhole. A place of pure evil with walls soaked in blood. Murderous gangs and vicious guards rule the darkness. Horrific creatures steal people away in the dead of night. And the impossible - escape - is the only hope.

I usually don't say this, but...

Lockdown. Is. Amazing!!! *inserts hardcore-fan squeal*

Being super engrossing and totally un-put-down-able, I couldn't stop reading this book, and ended up finishing it by 4 o'clock in the morning, only then did I close the book with a satisfied smile on my face and went to bed dreaming about Alex's Escape.

What I love about this book:

1. A hero with a complex personality. Alex Sawyer is a school bully, a thief and a burgular --- but never a killer. After he is accused of murdering his partner in crime Toby, he is sentenced to a life behind bars in Furnace Penitentiary, a prison of criminal teens which is located deep beneath the Earth. Alex arrives along with two other inmates, Zee and Monty, both wrongly accused of crimes they never did. When Alex sees Monty being bullied by the Skulls, he couldn't restrain his temper and lashed out to save the poor kid. He does this partly because of his guilt --- he remembered the way he used to terrorize his classmates and saw the monster which was once himself. Alex is not someone you would like at the beginning, but by the end of the novel, you will find yourself taking his side.

2. The plot was entirely unpredictable. Quoting Donovan's own words on Furnace: You'll never know what will happen until it happens. I had a great experience of exploring Furnace, with its intimidating structure, scary proprietors, gory history and horrible inmates. Never once did this book disappoint me in any way. I was literally sucked into the gruesome yet fascinating world of the Furnace where the air is hot and scarce, the atmosphere creepy and frightening and the crushing weight of freedom comes down upon you.

3. The world-building is amazing! From his capture to his developing Furnace-survival-skills to his planned prison break, Alex displays his growth both mentally and emotionally. We also observe how his mind is capable of thinking and creating ideas out of nothing. He did not plan of escape from the first moment he set foot in Furnace, but an idea started to hatch in his mind when certain possibilities open up to him.

4. The literary devices are brilliant! Let me tell you, the author is very skilled in descriptive writing - he uses figures of speech such as metaphors and personifications with an unusual grace. Through his words, I had a vivid image of Furnace in my mind's eye - I felt like I was in Alex's mind, seeing events unfolding through a glass.

5. True friendship comes unexpectedly. Alex found his best friend in Donovan, a kid who was sentenced to life imprisonment because of accidentally killing his mom's abusive boyfriend. Alex became good friends with one of the inmates who arrived on the same day with him - a boy called Zee. I really liked how the author wrote their friendship - it felt real and genuine. They always stick up for each other although things went awry. It makes me realize that true friendship is indeed precious.

Exciting, thrilling and gripping, Escape from Furnace: Lockdown will leave you with nightmares / thinking about it days after you've read it. I'm glad to announce that this book just made its way into my 2012 best books list! Can't wait for book #2!

Rating: 5

Note of Thanks
My deepest gratitude goes to Alexander for sending me a copy of this book for this review!

About The Author
On the run!

Alexander Gordon Smith, 32, is best known as the author of the Escape From Furnace Series, made up of Lockdown, Solitary, Death Sentence, Fugitives and Execution.

He also wrote The Inventors – which was runner-up in the national Wow Factor Award – and The Inventors and the City of Stolen Souls, both of which were co-authored by his eleven-year-old brother Jamie. The first novel in his third series, The Fury, will be published in 2012, alongside an as yet untitled book for younger readers. He is the author of two creative writing handbooks, Inspired Creative Writing and Writing Bestselling Children’s Books, a number of screenplays that are currently in development, several non-fiction books and hundreds of short stories and articles.

15 creative remarks:

Samuel said...

gREaT !!

FreedomBird said...

I am having cravings now, not craving for food, but for books like these

Annette Mills said...

I see why you would vote for this one for the Illinois Book Award. I haven't read it yet, but I know students go CRAZY over this one. Can't keep it on the shelves. Thanks for visiting!

polaris said...

tbh, the cover is kinda scare me off. i've seen the cover at goodreads (i think?) but i didn't click it to read the reviews.

the book certainly isn't my cuppa, but reading your response, i have to say the book is good~!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love when an author can create a complex and intricate world! Sometimes authors just slap a book's "universe" together willy nilly!

I haven't seen this book before, but it looks like it is worth a shot! Great review!!


Nele said...

Not sure about the cover, but I think I'll give it a shot :)

bn100 said...

Great review! I especially liked the format and beginning.

whirlofwings said...

This book has been recommended to me several times by Goodreads, but I had always pushed it to the side. Now I know to never skip it, and I'll read it the first chance I get!

Elisquared said...

Every time I see this cover I think "Adult book", which has put me off of it, but reading your review I can;t wait to get my hands on it. This sounds like such a dark and scary book. I know a couple of 9th grade boys who would go crazy for this!

Definitely on my TBR list, and I'm excited it's a series!

Anonymous said...

I read all the books waiting for executioner to excited!!!

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