Friday, February 25, 2011


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.


Let me begin with how I got my hands on this book. I was at Borders and they had buy two paperbacks, get the third free sale. I'd picked up two paperbacks I'd been wanting to read for a while when I stumbled upon Lockdown. I love finding books I haven't heard about and reading them. New series books are even better. Lockdown was both and, after reading the little bit of information given on the back cover (I didn't have the summary that's listed above to go off of) I bought the book, figuring if I didn't like it, I could pass it on in a contest or something.

Sorry guys, but this is a book I fell head over heels for so there will be no contest. On the up side, I'm hoping I can encourage some of you to head out and purchase a copy of Lockdown for yourselves. Here are several reasons why.

If you haven't already been able to tell by the cover, this book is creepy. I mean, beyond creepy. It makes your skin crawl and your stomach twist in the best way possible. The details described of Furnace and the men in gas masks is enough to chill you so that you don't get a very easy night of sleep. I don't usually get this feeling from books, but Lockdown did it for me.

And here's another thing. The situation of Furnace, of children serving life sentences, though a bit far fetched, is terrifying in its own way. Thing you'd ever mess up knowing you could be sent there? Nuh-uh. No thanks. I will live a perfect life and not mess with the law again, thank you.

Though the idea of it seems a bit off, the rest of it is done wonderfully. Smith creates a world within Furnace that appears real as the ground beneath your feel. Every terrifying aspect from the layered floors to the red rock walls seems real. Through his descriptions, I myself felt claustrophobic while reading it as if I too were trapped within the recesses of the earth, serving a life sentence.

Want to know what shocked me, though? The book is written in first person, male perspective without any female characters in the book. I can only name one other series with a male main character that I enjoyed and that would have to be The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Lockdown was written perfectly and I didn't find myself rolling my eyes because the main character was a guy and I couldn't relate. The best thing about the book is that it plays on your emotions and emotions are the same regardless of gender.

And speaking of emotions, the entire book is one massive thriller wrapped with a sheet of horror and tied up with adventure. I found myself flipping through chapters faster and faster in order to find out what happened. In fact, I needed to pause in the middle of a chapter rather than at the end of one because all the ends left me wanting to read another chapter.

Buckle your seat belts and press your head against the back of your seat because Lockdown will give you whiplash before you can even think the word escape.

Rating: A+

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