Saturday, October 22, 2011
Posted by Michaela at 5:18 PM
Author: Alexander Gordon Smith
Published: October 27, 2009 by Farrar Straus Giroux
Series: Escape from Furnace #1
Buy: Amazon/ Book Depo
Source: From the publisher through Zeitghost Media
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 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. (Goodreads synopsis)
Review: There are tons of glowing reviews of Lockdown on Amazon and Goodreads. I hate to say it, but I don't really agree with most of them.
I don't think I'm really in the target audience for this book. It would appeal much more to middle-school boys. The main focus points of the book were the movie-like action scenes (which is why it will probably make a good movie), which was a problem for me because I don't care much for books that get you through only based on action.
The premise of the book was interesting - an underground prison for children? Yes, please! But the descriptions of Furnace (and yes, I say "descriptions" because there were about a thousand) were rambling. Halfway through the book, I nearly quit. Yes, I understand that it's a terrible place. Please move the story along.
The characters felt a little one-dimensional to me. None of the characters really had any depth or motivation, except for escaping the prison. Character depth isn't always necessary in young adult books, but you have to have a VERY good plot for me to overlook it. And this book had a dragging and often boring plot. Some things were hard to believe (for instance, where were the guards during all their little adventures?) but I'm sure I would be more open to these if I were younger.
All in all, I would still recommend this book to some of my friends. My younger brother would probably love it. I would like to know what happens next, but I don't want to waste my precious reading time pushing through tons of boring transition scenes.