blo Teens Read and Write: Lockdown: Escape from Furnace

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lockdown: Escape from Furnace

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Lockdown: Escape from Furnace
by Alexander Gordon Smith
pub: Oct 2009

288 pages

Synopsis: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 myste
rious, 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.

I really enjoyed Lockdown, as a winner of a middle grade read. Our main character, Alex, really turns himself around early in the book and becomes a likable protagonist. While the fact that the story has a bunch of underage kids in a hardcore prison may sound a little goofy and a ploy allowing children to relate to an adult story, it's not.

Furnace makes Alcatraz Island look like a bed and breakfast that you stumble upon while driving through a small town in the middle of nowhere when you could have sworn everyone in town said there wasn't any lodging and you should get on your way and never come back but the people are so nice that you stay even against the protests of your modest yet attractive sister but suddenly your modest yet attractive sister goes missing and your car is totaled and the phone is out and....oh wait, that's not right. Suffice to say Furnace would make Clint Eastwood wet his pants.
Pictured: Poser

With a gritty feel and menacing characters, Lockdown sends us on a thrilling ride with a great group of characters. His best friend/cellmate Donovan shows him the ropes and protects him from the darkness that lurks within Furnace. Also within the group is Zee, a quick talking schemer bent on escaping the inescapable.

It takes a monster to guard monsters. The guards range from giant human refrigerators to skinless super hounds, all with soulless silver eyes that gleam with a dark masochism. The real horrors come at lights out. Gruesome inhuman creatures with gas masks sewn onto their faces who communicate with bestial screeches that pierce the night. If t
hey mark your cell you're dragged deeper into Furnace to be turned into something...dastardly.

Descriptions are excellent. So vivid that I could smell the stench and see the entire prison and its inhabitants running as a visual in my head throughout the book.

One itty bitty hiccup. Toward the end Alex has a bit of a pity party and sulks around for a chapter until
he has a brilliant epiphany. I got sucked out of the story and thought it killed the momentum and rising action like a badly placed Vulcan death grip.

Whoops! That's not the baroreceptor that's his spine! Oh well, it was just a redshirt.

But not to worry, Alex bucks up and moves on, more determined than before and we're rocketing along with heart-stopping action once again! Lockdown is a fun ride. Pick it up for a great action thriller!


Hesperus (Haya) said...

Not my sort of book but definitely a great review. Love the use of the vulcan death grip. lol! Nimoy!

Anonymous said...

The cover's kind of creepy, but maybe I'll give it a try

Shy said...

Wow, two creepy books back-to-back. Were the two of challenging one another to read creepy stuffs this week??? Honestly though, this one sounds a lot creepier and I can assure you that I won't even come close with this book. What with that human giant refrigerator and skinless super hound, I can assure you that they'll make me sleep restlessly at night *lol*

Zombie Girrrl said...

Ooh, this sounds really good! I love gritty books and the hellacious prison setting is very interesting. Great review!

Sara said...

Maybe not my type of book - but I like the cover and your review!

Diana Dang said...

I love this novel!

Jemi Fraser said...

Anything that brings out the Vulcan nerve pinch has to be good :)

Unknown said...

Glad you liked it. Especially after seeing a book trailer for it - it made the book look really cheesy! I think my students would like it once they heard more about it.

Bookish in a Box said...

Lockdown isn't my kind of book, but the review made me smile. Glad you liked it!

elaing8 said...

Great review but I don't think this one is for me.The cover is a little creepy.

Tynga said...

Definitely not for me, but thanks for the review!

bookaholic said...

In normal circumstances I wouldn't read the book...but sometimes a change is welcome. Your review does sound interesting. Thanks!

Lisa said...

Hey guys! On my way hoppin' thru Blog Hop and I thought I would stop by and say HELLLOOO!!! :0)

Miriam said...

Very cool review. I like the sound of the book, and the whole monster prison thing is interesting to say the least :P I like the cover too.

Anonymous said... sounds like this author took the concept of Shawshank Redemption and turned it into a YA horror novel.

But sounds like it's got more than enough of its own flavor to avoid being too derivative.

I want to read this now simply because of the things in the gas masks. Reminds me of that episode of Dr. Who a few years ago.

Rachel Heston Davis
Up and Writing

Unknown said...

Eeek! This sounds so scaryyy! It sounds scary, but incredibly good, I don't know whether I should read it or not. Is it worth the risk of having nightmares :D?

MannaB said...

It took me awhile to realize that there is a boys face in the skull.

Misty said...

Me too, MannaB! And then it was one of those things where you can't see one or the other anymore.
I am still debating whether I'll read this (it sounds good, it's really just more of a time issue at this point). And I'll be kind and ignore the Star Trek ref...

Jen said...

This book isn't normally a book that I would pick out to read but your review has me thinking about it. It sounds like a very interesting read.

YA Book Queen said...

Fantastic review! This doesn't seem like the type of book I'd normally pick up, but your review makes it sound awesome!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I don't know if a middle grade book is the kind of book I'd enjoy.

Anonymous said...

great review! Looks like a book that I'd like to pick up.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

This sounds like a fun thriller! I love your review with the funny pictures thrown in.

aqtbenz said...

Thanks for the review, but it's definitely no my type of book. I'm not a big thriller reader. i will recommend it to friends though!

Dwayne said...

Seems like a wonderful book - current thriller titles are fantastic!

donnas said...

Great review. I like thrillers but I am not sure about this one. Based on the review though I would probably give it a chance.

InfinitePlaylist said...

I really like that you have to look at the cover more closely to see the face within the skull, I only caught it a second glance.

Raspberry said...

I definitely want to read this, as I've mentioned before...but now there's hope - I have it on hold at my library. :)
Thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...

wow! its a good book ^^ and i love everything^^

twipippi said...

This reminds me of a movie I've seen but I can't remember what it was... Don't think I will read this but great review!

Jessy said...

Not sure if it's my type of read, but I enjoyed your review nonetheless.

Elbereth said...

Thanks for the great review! Reminds me somewhat of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, another book I want to read sometime soon. I'll add this one to my list too!

mariska said...

hey, i love the sound of this book. I will add on my lists !

Ambar said...

yeaaah! this books sounds intriguing, love crime stories,is this book is part of the contest wooow hope win it XDDD thanks for the review, send hugs!, the pic was funny XD

babygirlG said...

The cover is creepy but in a very stylistic and interesting way!

Lena1xoxo said...

Oh sweet Moses, that cover is creepy. LOL, I love the Star Trek reference. Awesome review.

Ryan said...

Great review, I'm not sure if I would have wanted to read this one without your take on it.

bianca_riot said...

the cover is interesting in a twisted warped way. great review!

Trollololol said...

Sounds pretty cool. I think that the cover is quite clever.
Funny review, I really enjoyed reading it. :)

Tina said...

Great review, although I think the cover's kind of weird...

Brodie said...

Ohh, this one sounds cool.. and creepy! Man, you guys are seriously going to send me broke. I honestly have put dozens of books on my "Need to desperately read" lists from reading your reviews. Great review!

Ren @ All By Myshelf said...

I saw this at B&N a while ago. It sounds sooo good! I really want to get it. Great review! :)

Amanda Leigh said...

This sounds really interesting. I've never heard of it before.

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

I don't know Clint Eastwood is a killer ;) LOL Great fun review

Sandra Stiles said...

I;ve seen this one but really didn't think much about it until I read your review. Now it's on the TBR list and near the top. Thanks for an awesome review of the book.

Kristen said...

I have had this since the summer and regret not reading it yet. Looks like an awesome read and something my kids may enjoy!

Anonymous said...

the cover is....creepy to say the least. but i have to admit the book looks really good!

Mary not so Contrary said...

Sounds like an intresting book. The cover is awesome. I love the skull with the face inside of it! Great review. I might just have to go check it out at the libary.

Bunny B said...

Definitely not a book that I would pick up if I saw it at a bookstore, but since you loved it, I will check it out :)

Bani said...

This book sounds like a real thriller! Also sounds like it has a lot going on despite that short length of 200 pages.

Sapphire said...

great review, the book sounds good ...

Rabid Fox said...

I heard about this book a couple months ago. Looks really intriguing. The follow up sounds promising too. Nice review.

Angela @ Reading Angels said...

I hadn't heard of this one, looks great!

A Life Bound By Books said...

The cover is creepy, but a good kind of creepy. And, yeah... you guessed it, another book I have sitting on my shelf to read. :o)

Thanks so much for such an informative review. Sounds like another great read. Looking forward to reading it I hope sometime soon-ish. :o)

EVA SB said...

Ohh - this sounds scary. Probably a good read for my son though he might not sleep so well afterwards!
Maybe it will make him thankful for having such great parents.

And any blog post is enhanced by pictures of Spock :0)

aprilnichole said...

sounds creepy and scary. sounds like my kind of thing. lol I don't know that I like the cover though.

Jenny N. said...

This is a book I probably wouldnt pick up on my own but from the synopsis it does remind me of Incarceron.

pepsivanilla said...

This sounds pretty good. I didn't even notice the face inside the skull on the cover at first, it's awesome.

Sherry said...

The summary of this sounds amazing! And I absolutely love the cover. Sounds like something I would definitely enjoy! Thanks for the review! :)

Rheanna said...

Wow very creepy thank goodness I'm a good kid haha! But I enjoyed your review especially the pictures definetly lightening up the mood of the book a lil'. I'm intrigued even though I'm a wee bit freaked out by YA horrors (I know I'm a pansy) so maybe I'll check this one out (of course during only daylight hours)

L said...

I don't think I've heard of this book before, but it sounds pretty cool. I really like scary mystery books, so I think I might have to check this one out!

Ina said...

wow, scary cover - thanks for sharing...I liked James Pattersons books and can't wait to read this one!

Unknown said...

I've heard such good things about Lockdown. (Although the initial part of the summary sounds exactly like the premise of the tv show Prison Break...). I'm always on the hunt for good "boy books" for my ms/hs kiddos, so I need to make sure I read this one soon! Thanks for the review :) New Follower from the Hop!

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