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Book Watch: Execution

 

Execution by Alexander Gordon Smith will be released in the U.S. on November 13, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available online to pre-order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, the print edition is 320 pages.

Execution is the fifth and final book in author Alexander Gordon Smith’s Escape from Furnace series.

***

There are a ton of books releasing the week of November 13th that I’m just dying to read. But the one I’m most excited for and the one that absolutely must be in the spotlight this week is EXECUTION by Alexander Gordon Smith.

I have been waiting for what feels like two lifetimes for the release of this final book in the Escape from Furnace series. I was so very tempted to purchase the UK edition just so that I didn’t have to wait. I managed to restrain myself, but just barely.

But when my Kindle copy downloads on Monday night, November 12th, I will drop whatever I’m reading to start this. Because I am so desperate to finally find out how this series wraps up and to check out the epilogue that’s posted on the author’s website – which I won’t link here as I’m afraid I’ll accidentally read it.

After the way things ended in Fugitives I’m that much more anxious to see what happens to those characters that remain. The description promises answers, but given the way this series has progressed, I’m not confident of a happy ending for anyone. I’m just hoping that things won’t end in total annihilation.

I discovered this series thanks to the outreach of a local publicity company for the publisher. And I’m so glad that happened, because this is one of my favorite series of all time. One I never would have stumbled upon on my own. Even with it’s horrifying covers… well, especially with its horrifying covers.

There is a depth to these stories that surprised me when I picked up – and devoured – the first book in the series, Lockdown.  I did not anticipate anything other than being terrified by a book that appeared to simply be a horror story. I also didn’t expect it to be as beautifully written as it was.

I was captivated, I was shocked, I was horrified, I was heartbroken. I couldn’t have hoped for more. This series is so incredibly memorable as is the author’s writing and I am so unbelievably excited to read the final book in this series to see just how things end. I just know I’ll be heartbroken.

As this is one of my favorite series and each book is as addicting as the last, I can’t imagine that EXECUTION will be anything but amazing. And so, of course, even with all the other awesome books releasing this week, this is without a doubt the book to watch this week.

Places to Watch

The author on TWITTER

The author on FACEBOOK

The author’s WEBSITE

The author’s BLOG

The series on FACEBOOK

***

About the Book

*** Goodreads description is spoiler-y for previous books in the series ***

Goodreads Description:

Alex Sawyer has escaped his underground nightmare to discover the whole world has become a prison, and Alfred Furnace is its master.

Monsters rule the streets, leaving nothing but murder in their wake. Those who do not die become slaves to Furnace’s reign of cruelty. Alex is a monster too. He is the only one who can stop Furnace but in doing so he could destroy everything.

Is he the executed or the executioner? Who will die? All Alex knows is that one way or another, it all ends now.

Other Amazing Books to Watch

Here are some awesome books releasing the week of November 13th:

Soul Screamers Vol. 2 by Rachel Vincent

Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1) by J.A. Souders

Black City (Black City #1) by Elizabeth Richards

Bad Hair Day (Kate Grable #2) by Carrie Harris

Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie

Echo (The Soul Seekers #2) by Alyson Noel

Speed of Light (Fenestra #3) by Amber Kizer

Wolf Pact (Part 3) by Melissa de la Cruz

Night’s Darkest Embrace by Jeaniene Frost ***Not YA***

Posted in Book Watch, Coming Soon, Fiction | Tags: , , , , ,

Review: Fugitives

Fugitives by Alexander Gordon Smith will be released in the U.S. on February 28, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, a division of Macmillan, the print edition is 288 pages.

Fugitives is the fourth book in the Escape from Furnace series by author Alexander Gordon Smith. Execution, the final book in the series will be released in the U.S. this fall.

*** Goodreads description is slightly spoiler-y ***

Goodreads description:

Forever altered by his experience in Furnace Penetentiary, Alex has done the impossible and escaped. But the battle for freedom is only just beginning.

Charged with his superhuman abilities, Alex must uncover the last of Furnace’s secrets—the truth about the man who built the prison, the man known as Alfred Furnace. And to do that he must stop running and finally confront his greatest fears.

***

They somehow made it past the Warden. They even managed to elude the berserkers. They could see the sky and feel the sun and air on their faces. They had freedom in their sights.

All they had to do was stay hidden and not get caught.

But how could they remain free when there was nowhere to hide? Where could they go when the world was on fire and the enemy was closing in?

And were they really free in the first place when the world outside of Furnace Penitentiary simply felt like an even larger prison with Alfred Furnace calling all the shots?

They may have thought they earned their freedom, but freedom always comes with a price. And the cost may be more than any of them are willing or able to pay.

***

Fugitives is every bit as dark, dangerous, chilling, exciting and brimming with action as each of its predecessors. Author Alexander Gordon Smith has managed to squeeze in what feels like a lifetime of activity into less than one day in the life of his characters, making this one incredibly fast and furious read.

Once again there is no break in the timeline. Fugitives picks up right where Death Sentence left off with the mass exodus at Furnace Penitentiary. But while the inmates may have freed themselves from Furnace, it does not mean they’re free.

As the title suggests, they’re fugitives. But it’s not just the law they have to worry about. Alfred Furnace is coming. He sees this as the perfect opportunity to send out his creations. To test their abilities. To show the world their power. And to get back what’s his.

No longer constrained by the world within Furnace Penitentiary’s walls, Fugitives introduces readers to new places, new characters and new dangers. And with the atrocities that took place in Furnace now exposed for the world to see, everything quickly descends into chaos.

Alexander Gordon Smith has written yet another book in this series that continues to surprise. The world he’s created has gotten darker and deadlier with each book, with an even more dire predicament and even less of a chance at a happy ending. And Fugitives is definitely his darkest, bloodiest and most terrifying book yet in this series.

From the outset, the author tosses readers right into the middle of the fray and keeps them there to the bitter end so they can experience just what it’s like to be on the run, hunted, and facing a never-before-seen enemy with an ability that could change the fate of the entire world.

Fugitives is riveting, suspenseful, intense, shocking, brutal and gruesome. It leaves readers on the side of a pretty big cliff awaiting the final book in the series. There are quite a few twists and turns, many things left up in the air and many questions still unanswered about the man that is Alfred Furnace and the fate of Alex Sawyer.

As with all three previous books in the series, Fugitives is an absolute must read.

Reviewer gives this book…

On a personal note:

This far into the series I had some idea of where this next book would be headed. Especially after I read the sneak peek at the end of Death Sentence. I knew that things would only get darker. I knew that I wouldn’t be left smiling.

What I didn’t realize is just how absolutely insane things would get in this book. The entire book crammed in so much action into such a very short time span. So many, many things changed – for the worse, of course – in just a blink of an eye.

It was sheer chaos. Madness. Hopelessness, though not complete hopelessness. Because with each and every one of these books, I am always hopeful. I’m hopeful that things will work out. I’m hopeful for a happy ending. Yet I know I’m deluding myself.

I read the entire book in total suspense. Waiting for a confrontation. Waiting for something really bad to happen. I started getting that sinking feeling in my stomach early on and it just kept growing until that really bad thing did happen. And I was devastated.

There are so many things I want to talk about. But nearly everything will spoil the earlier books in the series and quite a few of those things will spoil what happens in Fugitives. Which is why my personal opinions section keeps shrinking and gets more cryptic with each book I read. Not because there’s not even more to talk about, but because I can’t.

What I will say is that even though the events take place in such a short amount of time, the story definitely gets moved forward. Pretty significantly, actually. And some seriously major stuff happens to the characters. But even more major stuff happens in their world.

All my “favorite” characters are back – Alfred Furnace, Warden Cross, the dogs, the rats, the berserkers and the wheezers. And if you haven’t guessed by now, there is once again a new kind of baddie. A more dangerous, more horrific, nightmarish type of being that is even more dead set on destruction.

The lead up to the ending and the ending itself are shocking, gruesome and completely nerve-wracking. The action throughout the story made me devour this book at record speed. And I could not put it down until I read the entire sneak peek for the next book in the series. Because the way things were left… Oh no!

Every single book in this series so far made me cheer, made me hold my breath in anticipation, made me cringe with disgust, kept me hopeful for something better for the characters, left me heartbroken when things just sometimes got worse, and made me wonder what could possibly happen next. Fugitives was definitely no exception.

I am dying to find out how the series ends, and after seeing that there is an epilogue on the author’s website, I’m so so tempted to read that now. I really hope that Alfred Furnace and his seriously creepy army of black suits and other monstrosities don’t come out the victors, even if it means losing a few of my favorite characters along the way. I’m really not so sure I can wait until the fall to get my hands on this book….

Though, as desperate as I am to read Execution, I am also sad that the next book will be the last book in the series and that I will have to leave this world and these characters behind.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again… This series is so awesome and was a total surprise in the very best way when I discovered it last fall. It tops quite a few lists and will forever be a series that I consider a favorite. And I really don’t want to have to say goodbye.

***

I had a tough time choosing between my two favorite non-spoiler-y passages. This is one of them:

I didn’t look back. I was too scared to. If I’d taken one last gaze at the sunlight, at the glorious day that sat at my back, then I might have lost my courage, I might have turned tail and bolted. I kept my head forward, my jaw clenched so tight it felt as though my teeth might snap, my arm held out like a sword, trembling as it sliced apart the shadows of the doorway, opening up the darkness as I stepped inside.

Places to stalk:

If you’d like to stalk the author on Twitter.

If you’d like to stalk the author on his Website.

Be sure to check out The Night Children a novella in the Escape from Furnace series that can be read online at Tor.com, HERE.

Book trailer for the Escape from Furnace series:

My Escape from Furnace reviews:

If you’d like to check out my review for Lockdown, the first book in the series, click here.

If you’d like to read my review for Solitary, book two, click here.

If you’d like to read my review for Death Sentence, book three, click here.

***

This review is based on an eARC I received from Macmillan and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Book Reviews, Book Trailers, Coming Soon, Fiction | Tags: , , , , ,

Review: Death Sentence

Death Sentence by Alexander Gordon Smith was released in the U.S. on August 2, 2011 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats.

It is currently available to order online in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is available to pre-order and will be released on February 14, 2012.

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Books for Young Readers), a division of Macmillan, the print edition is 272 pages.

Death Sentence is the third full-length book in the Escape from Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. Fugitives, the fourth book in the series comes out on February 28, 2012.

***WARNING: Goodreads description is spoiler-y for books one and two***

Goodreads description:

Alex’s second attempt to break out of Furnace Penetentiary has failed. This time his punishment will be much worse than before. Because in the hidden, bloodstained laboratories beneath the prison, he will be made into a monster.

As the warden pumps something evil into his veins–a sinisterly dark nectar–Alex becomes what he most fears . . . a superhuman minion of Furnace. How can he escape when the darkness is inside him? How can he lead the way to freedom if he is lost to himself?

***

Furnace Penitentiary is a fortress. A mile beneath the surface, with walls of chiseled rock, escape is not a viable option.

Not when there are cameras everywhere, mounted machine guns ready to take aim at the first sign of rebellion and black suits more than happy to deliver their brand of justice.

But when your only other choices are to die or become a monster, trying to find a way out seems worth the risk.

Even if it means unleashing an evil that you can’t control. Even if it means enduring the Warden’s wrath. And even if it means that Alfred Furnace will be coming for you.

***

Death Sentence is third, pulse-pounding, action-packed and bone-chilling installment in the Escape from Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. With each new book, the series gets darker, the dangers to the main character Alex become exponentially greater, his chances of survival grow slimmer and the need to escape is even more critical.

Readers were first introduced to the blood watch, the dogs, the black suits, the wheezers and the Warden. Then they got to meet the rats. But there are things that are even more terrifying, even more deadly. Things that even the Warden can’t control.

They are the berserkers. These terrifying creatures that were once human are Alfred Furnace’s creations. Experiments gone wrong. Beings so devoid of humanity, filled only with rage and tremendous power, that their bloodlust knows no bounds and their loyalty is to no man. They will kill without thought, slaughter without mercy. And if they were to be let loose, there would be almost no hope for survival.

In Death Sentence, author Alexander Gordon Smith takes readers to new parts of Furnace Penitentiary and introduces them to all sorts of new horrors. More is revealed about the origins of the experiments, the wheezer’s nectar, the Warden and even Alfred Furnace.

And as with each previous installment, the situation becomes even more dire. When things seem as if they can’t possibly get worse, they do.

The author has managed to increase the level of excitement with each book, surprising readers with new twists and turns, taking things right to the edge of the abyss before pulling them back, and layering in such vivid, detailed descriptions of each new monstrosity, each new horror that is visited upon the inmates, and each new obstacle that his characters must face in their attempts to regain their freedom.

The pace in Death Sentence is blistering. The action is intense and riveting. The characters’ plight is nerve-wracking. And the outcome is still unknown.

With two more books in the series, who will be the victor is still to be determined.

For fans of the series, this installment is not one to be missed. And for those who haven’t yet visited Furnace Penitentiary, be prepared to be scared, to witness horrors never imagined and to discover that the longer you stay the less you’ll want to leave.

This series is a must, must read.

Reviewer gives this book…

 

On a personal note:

I am totally in love with this series. Head over heels in love. As soon as I finish reading each book, I just want to read the next one. Immediately. I even want to go back and read the book I just finished.

Which is not typical. I don’t often find myself wanting to re-read books that are considered horror books. I’ve always felt like once is enough. But that’s not the case with Escape from Furnace. I want to re-read each book in this series. More than once. It is so unbelievably addictive.

I keep thinking these books can’t get any better. But they do. Even though things may get so much worse for the characters, they get so much better to read. And I keep thinking that I just couldn’t be any more horrified by what the author has created. But I am.

Each story is a nail-biter. And Death Sentence had me biting my nails right from the start. As with the previous books, this one picks up where things left off. Which was in a pretty dark place. While I don’t plan on revealing spoilers, I will say I was shocked. Horrified. Sickened. Saddened. And a little bit heartbroken.

I did not expect the story to go the way it did or end the way it did. Which is awesome. With this series, I love the surprises.

Death Sentence definitely moves the story forward and sets things up for the next installment, Fugitives. I do not plan on guessing what might happen, because as with all previous guesses, I’m sure I’d be wrong. Though I do have a sinking feeling that things won’t go too well, given the fact that the last book in the series is entitled Execution.

I never have a problem immediately falling right back into the series. I never forget exactly where things left off in the previous book. I’ve never forgotten a character’s name or any of the important details from each of the stories. These books are forever engrained in my head. And I never notice the time passing until it already has and I’ve clicked to the last page.

To say that I love this series is a serious understatement. I just wish I’d discovered these books when they first came out, so that I could have re-read them many times by now.

***

I have four passages that I absolutely love, though I do have a favorite. But my favorite is spoiler-y unless you’ve read the first two books in the series, so I decided to use one that isn’t. And it is pretty awesome, so…

I stared into the warden’s eyes, trying to remember how weak they had looked last time I’d met them–pale and watery and all too human. But all I could see now were black holes that caused the rest of the prison to disintegrate around them, sucking every trailing piece of matter into their soulless depths.

***

If you’d like to stalk the author on Twitter.

If you’d like to stalk the author on his Website.

If you’d like to check out my review for Lockdown, the first book in the series, click here.

If you’d like to read my review for Solitary, book two, click here.

Book trailer for the Escape from Furnace series:

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Posted in Book Reviews, Book Trailers, Fiction | Tags: , , , , ,

Review: Solitary

Solitary by Alexander Gordon Smith was released in the U.S. on December 21, 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It is currently available to order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback, audio and eBook formats.

The paperback edition, published on July 5, 2011 by Square Fish, is 256 pages.

Solitary is the second book in the Escape from Furnace series. Book three – Death Sentence – is currently available. Books four and five – Fugitives and Execution – will be released in 2012.

Goodreads description:

Alex tried to escape.

He had a perfect plan.

He was almost free. Even felt the cool, clean air on his face.

Then the dogs came.

Now he’s locked in a place so gruesome—so hellish—that escape doesn’t even matter.

He just wants to survive.

***

The cells in Furnace Penitentiary are small. Those in solitary are even smaller. Solid walls. Pitch black. Soundproof.

Except for the sounds of scratching from above. As if something wants in. Something strong enough to dent the heavy metal lid that locks you in a cell that is not much more than a hole.

A solid lid that locks in place, leaving you no way out. And hopefully keeping you protected from whatever wants in.

They say that three days is the most that anyone can survive in the hole with their mind intact. But what if you had to survive for thirty?

After a month locked away from the light and from all human contact, with only nightmares for company, just who, or what, would you be when you were released?

And if escape is the only chance you have for survival, how is it even possible to plan to break free if your mind has snapped?

***

Solitary is the incredibly imaginative, unbelievably disturbing and downright chilling second installment in the Escape from Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. Digging into this novel after lights out is a sure way to bring to life the nightmares that exist in and just beyond the walls of Furnace Penitentiary that unfold page after gruesome page.

In this sequel, the journey is darker, scarier and even more horrific than what Alex Sawyer encountered in Lockdown and is just as nail-biting, if not more so. And readers will quickly discover that the horrors that face the prisoners aren’t the only things crawling through the tunnels beneath Furnace penitentiary.

Solitary picks up right where Lockdown ended, on the edge of that cliff as Alex and the other escapees attempt their prison break. But as can be guessed from the title, things do not go as planned and they soon get to experience the blackness, isolation and terrors that solitary confinement has to offer.

And if Alex didn’t think things could get much worse than what he had to endure in Furnace, he was wrong. Dead wrong. Because the fear of being taken at blood watch is nothing compared to the panic that comes from witnessing just what happens in the infirmary.

Like Lockdown, Solitary ends with a cliffhanger. But where Lockdown left things in a hopeful, optimistic place, Solitary does the complete opposite.

Author Alexander Gordon Smith really knows how to grab readers, pull them into his macabre creation and make their blood run cold as they follow along with Alex as he is forced to suffer all the evils inflicted upon him by the Warden, the black suits, the dogs, the wheezers and the other atrocities that live in the depths below the penitentiary.

Solitary is an absolute must read for anyone stuck on the side of the cliff with Alex at the end of book one and for readers who enjoy a fast-paced, heart-pounding, grisly and terrifying adventure.

Reviewer gives this book

On a personal note:

This series, which I am totally in love with, is also so completely addictive. I finished Lockdown and I just had to read more. I couldn’t pull my mind out of this dark, gruesome and hellish world. I did not want to leave. I don’t think I could if I tried.

I couldn’t just stop reading with Alex on that cliff. I wanted to find out how he ended up in solitary or if it was even him that ended up there. I wasn’t sure if Solitary was a continuation of his story or not, as I refused to read the description.

The moment I finished reading Lockdown I purchased Solitary for my Kindle so that I could keep the story going. It was just so easy to pick up this next book in the series and fall right back into this brutal world.

Even the brief rehash at the beginning, for readers who might have had to wait between each book’s release, didn’t pull me out of the story. Although it did give me a new piece of information about the main character that I didn’t have before.

And I really, really wish I listened to the advice that was given in that introduction. Because with the way things ended, it would have been a much easier pill to swallow if I took that information to heart.

I had to put Solitary down for about a week, so that I could read my required review books. But it was always in the back of my mind. And when I did pick it back up again, I started it from the beginning so that I could experience it uninterrupted from start to finish.

I didn’t think I could enjoy this book any more than I did Lockdown because it was a second book and because I’d already met the black suits, the Warden, the dogs and the wheezers. I didn’t think I could be surprised again.

But I was. Oh, I most definitely was.

There were two new additions to this sequel that made it even more horrific than the first book. I will not go into specifics so as not to spoil any first encounters with these horrors, but they are terrifying, grotesque and incredibly chilling.

And one of these new additions, that was only just briefly introduced in this book, keeps the anticipation…dread might be more accurate…going until the next book. I thought nothing could be scarier than the Warden. I was so very wrong.

But it was the peek inside what was happening in the infirmary, the place only hinted at in the first book, that left me utterly horrified, repulsed and saddened. While this isn’t a story meant to break hearts, mine did feel a little squeezed when certain events unfolded.

And while I cringed at some of what happened in the first book, I actually groaned and shuddered at some of the extremely vivid and fairly disgusting things that happened in Solitary.

As fantastical as this world is, when you’re reading it, it just feels so real – as if you’re there with Alex experiencing what he does, seeing what he does, hearing what he does, feeling what he does…smelling what he does.

What goes on in Furnace Penitentiary is nothing compared to what happens behind the scenes or even beyond its walls. And I find myself more than morbidly curious about what’s going to happen next.

As much as Alex claims not to be a good guy, I can’t help but root for him. No matter how dire or hopeless his situation. And I am dying to find out what happens in Death Sentence. Especially after that peek they gave at the end of Solitary.

You can pretty much guess that I did end up buying and downloading it immediately. And that I started to read it the second it landed in my collection. But as Death Sentence is the last book currently available to buy – the next book doesn’t come out until 2012 – I’m terrified that if I do continue to read it, I’ll be left hanging in an even worse place than I am right now. If that’s even possible.

I cannot recommend this book, and series, enough. Maybe not to fans of happy endings, love stories, or heartwarming adventures. But for readers who love to be scared, who want to follow along with characters who are put in the most dire of situations, who want a book that really pushes the envelope on what it means to be afraid, or who just love an incredibly descriptive, well-written and exciting, if harrowing, story, then Solitary and all the books in the Escape from Furnace series are definite must reads.

How I “discovered” this book:

Solitary is a “Just Discovered” just learned about book.

I heard about the first book in the series, Lockdown, through a promotional post and giveaway the publisher was offering to bloggers. As I don’t just auto-post anything here on the blog, I checked out the book to see if it might be something I, or my blog’s readers, would be interested in.

I don’t know about my readers, but I was definitely interested in checking out the first book in this series.

I loved it so much that as soon as I finished reading it, I immediately purchased Solitary, the second book, to see what was going to happen next.

That was a pretty big cliff Alex was left on at the end of book one and I just had to get, and devour, this next book.

***

If you’d like to check out my five-star review of Lockdown, click here.

Click to read The Night Childrena novella about how Warden Cross met Alfred Furnace, on Tor.com.

And be sure to head over to the author’s website, HERE, to check out all sorts of extras.

Escape from Furnace series book trailer:

Posted in Book Reviews, Book Trailers, Fiction, Just Discovered | Tags: , , , , ,

Review: Lockdown

Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith was released in the U.S. on October 27, 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It is currently available to order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback, audio and eBook formats.

The paperback edition, published on August 3, 2010 by Square Fish, is 304 pages.

Lockdown is the first book in the Escape from Furnace series. Books two and three – Solitary and Death Sentence – are currently available. Books four and five – Fugitives and Execution – will be available in 2012.

Goodreads description:

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.

***

There’s not much to do to pass the endless days and nights in Furnace Penitentiary except wait.

Wait out a life sentence. Locked away a mile beneath the surface of the earth in a cell barely big enough to lie down in. Wait in darkness so black it seems infinite.

Wait for the next day of hard labor, cold showers and food that is barely edible. Wait to die.

And hope.

Hope that the gangs don’t notice you. Don’t choose you as their next victim. Don’t break what’s left of your spirit. And don’t beat you too badly that you require a trip to the infirmary. Because that trip is always one way.

Hope you’re not forced to jump. Because jumping almost always ends badly. And won’t necessarily end your time in Furnace. Not high enough means a trip to the infirmary. Too high and it’s as if you never jumped. Get it right or you’ll wish you never even tried.

Hope that a fight doesn’t break out that calls for a lockdown. Locked out and it’s over. Quickly. But not painlessly. Because the guards will come. And their dogs. Monstrosities that will tear you limb from limb.

And pray.

Pray that they don’t come in the middle of the night. During the blood watch. When Furnace is bathed in the glow of the red lights. When the sirens blare. And when the wheezers come, with their inhuman cries, their rusty masks and their dirty needles.

Pray that it’s not you they choose. Because if you’re marked you’ll wish you had died. What awaits you is something worse than the Skulls cruelty. Worse even than the quick and brutal end promised by the dogs.

Pray for death. Because when they take you, you almost never come back. But if you do, what you’ve become can no longer be considered human.

***

Lockdown is the dark, disturbing and chilling story of the unimaginable horrors that face the young offenders that are incarcerated in Furnace Penitentiary. This fast-paced, action-packed and gruesome tale will keep readers who enjoy the macabre riveted.

There is no love story in Lockdown. There is no real hope for these prisoners who may or may not have committed the crimes they are accused of. The threat from other inmates is minor compared to what the warden, the guards, the creatures with only a vague resemblance to dogs and the wheezers can do.

This first book in the Escape from Furnace series introduces Alex Sawyer, who is framed for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in Furnace Penitentiary. As a backlash to the recent heinous crimes committed by children, adults are quick to embrace this form of harsh justice which locks these boys forever away beneath the ground. But what they don’t know, and don’t care to know, is just what cruelty awaits these kids.

Alex is quick to learn that Furnace isn’t like any prison he’s seen on television. Failure to follow the rules can mean death…or worse. Getting injured is something to avoid at all costs. Getting sent to solitary for more than three days will break your mind. And even if you do everything right, they may still come for you.

Author Alexander Gordon Smith has written a story that is exciting and terrifying and will leave readers on edge of a cliff, both literally and figuratively, as they follow the main character Alex through his induction into Furnace and his attempt to break free.

The author paints a vivid picture of life in Furnace – one that is beyond horrifying. The stuff of the worst kinds of nightmares. Guards who laugh at the terror they invoke in their charges. Creatures whose only wish is to bite and rip and tear. A warden whose gaze is and depthless and soulless. And one where the darkness is far less frightening than when the red lights come on.

This story is not for the easily frightened. It’s not one for the squeamish. But for readers who don’t mind a little bloodshed, Lockdown is an incredibly well-written, gripping and nail-biting adventure.

Reviewer gives this book


On a personal note:

I have to start off with the cover. That thing absolutely freaked me out. It is the stuff of nightmares. Fortunately as I read the book I didn’t have to see its face. I would have if I had to set it down, but as this book was unputdownable, I didn’t.

What I’m glad I didn’t notice until I was most of the way through the book was the back cover. If I had seen that it said that the walls were “soaked in blood” I would have been even more freaked out. Lockdown can definitely be called a young adult horror book, because Furnace Penitentiary is a waking nightmare and this story is disgusting and terrifying, but so unbelievably good.

Anyone who reads this who has a very vivid imagination and takes the author’s words and constructs a visual will be horrified. I was. I still am. It’s Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Clive Barker all rolled into one story with a little Resident Evil thrown in for good measure.

I liked the characters, especially Donovan, but it was what went on in Furnace that kept me glued to this book. This is definitely the darkest young adult book that I’ve read. It was really twisted. It’s cruel and scary and violent. And the tagline – Beneath heaven is Hell… Beneath Hell is Furnace! – just so perfectly describes the world the author created in this book.

I was rooting for Alex, Donovan and Zee. Even poor Monty. While not good boys, they didn’t deserve the brand of justice that Furnace dished out. But as this story is a horror story I wasn’t very hopeful.

While I won’t give any spoilers away, I will say don’t expect the perfect happy ending. But do expect to be left on the side of a pretty huge cliff. Fortunately book two is already out, so there doesn’t have to be a wait. And I couldn’t help but pick it up to find out what happened next.

I love books that are dark, hellish and creepy. And this was definitely one of those. While it doesn’t cross that line into horror stories aimed at adults, it comes close. Some of the scenes the author describes in detail, but others are left to the imagination. So, depending on just how dark and vivid your imagination….

Lockdown is the perfect start to this series. Not everything is revealed in this first book. There is definitely much more to learn about Furnace – about the warden, what happens in solitary, what a trip to the infirmary is really like, and what exactly happens to those who are taken during the blood watch. And I know I’m morbidly curious to find out.

How I “discovered” this book:

Lockdown is a “Just Discovered” just learned about book.

I received an email from the online public relations team for the publisher, Macmillan, with an opportunity to receive a copy for review and host a giveaway. As I only like to promote books or have giveaways for books I’ll enjoy, or think I will, I made sure to check this book out thoroughly.

I hadn’t heard of the author or series before. But this cover was… twisted… and disturbing… to say the least. So, of course I was intrigued. But the description really did a good job on selling me on this book. It was dark and kind of horrifying. And since I hadn’t really read any books for young adults that classified as horror, I just knew I had to review this book.

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Check out The Night Children, a novella about how Warden Cross met Alfred Furnace on Tor.com.

And there’s all sorts of extras on the author’s website, HERE.

Book trailer for Lockdown:

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This review is based on a finished copy I received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Book Reviews, Book Trailers, Fiction, Just Discovered | Tags: , , , , ,

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