Saturday, February 13, 2010

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

In a dystopian (alternate? future?) England, gang violence has gotten so bad that the state has sanctioned a hellish underground prison for young felons dubbed the Furnace. Once a teen criminal has been sentenced there, it’s for life – with no chance of ever seeing the sun again. One inmate is 15 year old Alex Sawyer. Alex may be a thief and a bully, but he didn’t kill his best friend – he was framed. And his only hope for justice and redemption is escape from a place no one has ever escaped from.

LOCKDOWN is very much a plot-driven action/horror spectacle aimed squarely at teen boys. You’re not going to find a lot of deep exploration of weighty themes here, but you are taken on quite the thrill ride as Alex navigates his way through his new hellish environment and plots his seemingly impossible escape. There are some very scary supernatural elements at work in the prison, and the main motivation to keep reading in spite of the nightmare-inducing setting is to discover just what the warden does with kids that are “taken” from their cells at night, never to return. And of course to hope that Alex and his buddies find a way out.

Being that there are two more books in the ESCAPE FROM FURNACE trilogy, SOLITARY and DEATH SENTENCE (coming in 2010 and 2011 in the US, but already released in the UK), this first book definitely takes over the set-up role, and although there is a measure of closure, the story you came for (i.e. escaping) is most definitely not complete (must get sequels now!).

Find out more about the trilogy on the author’s website. Also, read an interview with the author (where he mentions that dystopian classic 1984 and its "complex relationship between desperation and hope" was an influence on his work) at the publisher's website.

My Rating – 3 Zombie Chickens: Well Worth Reading (especially if you are into horror, or are a teenage boy)

9 comments:

Misty said...

Hmm. Sounds interesting. Think I might put this one on the list for Helluva Halloween II...

Liviania said...

It is a bit shallow, but I am looking forward to the rest of the trilogy. (And wishing I had read LOCKDOWN shortly before I went to England instead of shortly after, so that I'd've known to pick the books up!)

TruBlu93 said...

I got this one in the mail randomly. I don't know if I'll like it that much and I'm not a teenage boy either so that's like not looking good for Lockdown at all. It does remind me of Prison Break, which I loved, though.

bermudaonion said...

I'm not a teen-age boy and I'm not into horror, so I think I'll skip this one.

Staci said...

Lenore,
Your review was spot on. My son Marc who is 15 absolutely LOVED this book!! He can't wait until the next one!!

Dahlia said...

I saw that at B&N a while ago and thought it sounded good. I've read a lot of boy-books, and liked just about all of them, so I'll likely enjoy this as well.

Zibilee said...

I am not sure this book would work for me, but I just know my son would love it, which is good because I am planning a book buying spree for the kids very soon. Thanks for mentioning this one, I know it will be perfect for him!

Zibilee said...

I am not sure this book would work for me, but I just know my son would love it, which is good because I am planning a book buying spree for the kids very soon. Thanks for mentioning this one, I know it will be perfect for him!

William said...

I actuAlly had books 2'3 shipped from amazon.uk just to read them! They are AWESOME if you check his site he says he is making a fourth.