Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review: Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith

Title: Lockdown

Series: Escape From Furnace
Book #: One
Author: Alexander Gordon Smith 
Published: 2009
Source: For Review from Publisher
My Rating:  

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. (taken from

Right off the bat, I knew this book was going to be insanely freaky. The cover and synopsis told me as much, but for some reason I didn't understand how dark this novel was going to be. If you're opposed to death and gore, as well as frightening scenes from your worst nightmares, then I would recommend keeping this book at arm's length. However, I found this original story captivating. The entire story played out like a movie in my mind, with vivid scenery and characters. 

I read this book while flying on a plane, and I have to say I may have worried the lady sitting next to me. Smith's gruesome yet thrilling story had me cringing and shaking my head. I am actually quite baffled as to why I enjoyed this book, seeing as I loathe horror movies. I guess I've always been a big fan of intense drama, and Lockdown is about as dramatic as it gets- daring getaways, chilling creatures, fierce loyalty, you name it.

While he may not have been the most exciting character, Alex is truly one of a kind. Determined to escape Furnace at all costs, he becomes extremely reckless. I can't count the times I flipped pages at lightening speed, waiting with batted breath to see if Alex's risky schemes would work. I wanted to scream at him for his stupidity sometimes while also applauding his bravery. 

The psychological and physical turmoil the characters are forced to endure will you leave you terrified and thrilled. Ending with a major cliff-hanger, Lockdown promises more action and intensity in the sequel, Solitary. I cannot wait to find out what happens to Alex and his companions! I'll have to get my hands on the next two books ASAP. Due to the graphic violence and extreme scenarios of the novel, I would recommend this only to those old enough to handle the content (probably fourteen and up).