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:

Previous Post Next Post

You may also like


All content - except for guest posts and guest reviews - has been written by me and can not be copied or used without permission. All graphics and images used on my site – aside from book covers used for purposes of discussion – have either been given to me by authors, publishers or bloggers for guest posts, blog tours, interviews or promotion, have been sourced, have been designed by me or have been purchased for my exclusive use. Aside from images with a “grab code” beneath, no images can be used or displayed without permission.


All reviews on this website are unbiased and reviewers are in no way compensated for their reviews by the author, publisher, or any other agencies. While some reviews may be based on receipt of ARC copies of an authors work, a fair and impartial review is always given by the reviewer. Most of the reviews, however, are based upon books purchased after publication date.