4 stars · fiction · young adult

Lockdown by Alexander Gordan Smith


Escape from Furnace #1

author : alexander gordan smith

pages : [hardcover] 273

memorable quote :
“When you’re locked up in here for life, you learn to welcome the little freedoms.”

favorite characters :
donovan & toby

summary :

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.


I was so excited to start this book because I’ve heard really good things about this series. I’ve been looking forward to reading a horror-esque story lately and thought I could get my fix this way. It didn’t disappoint. With a place as gruesome and terrifying as Furnace as the setting, Lockdown is sure to fill the thoughts and nightmares of whatever readers happen upon it.

The hounds that patrolled Furnace were terrifying. Insides on the outside? Not only disgusting, but these things were gigantic. Couple that with the conspiracies going on around there, innocent boys being framed, mysterious wheezing creatures dragging prisoners off in the night . . . I was so completely thankful that I wasn’t in Alex’s position. Because while he made some stupid decisions, he’s smart and creative enough to keep himself alive.

The cast of characters was wonderfully diverse. From the obvious enemies to the divisions within the boys, I was on edge trying to figure out who could be trusted and who might try to get them killed or worse. With every new development I was hooked worse than before and now I’m desperately wanting book two. I’ll need to get it as soon as possible!

I recommend this for fans of psychological horror stories, interesting YA novels, and horrible reimagined prisons.

4/5 stars


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