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Escape from Furnace 1: Lockdown Paperback – 5 Mar 2009
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PRISON BREAK meets DARREN SHAN in an unforgettable story of terror and intrigue.
Beneath heaven is hell. Beneath hell is Furnace. When thirteen-year-old Alex is framed for murder, his life changes for ever. Now he is an inmate in the Furnace Penitentiary - the toughest prison in the world for young offenders. It's the prison to end all prisons - a vast building sunk deep into the ground with one way in and no way out. But rowdy inmates and sadistic guards are the least of Alex's problems. Every night an inmate is taken from his cell by the guards and returned the next morning changed.Where are they taken and why are they returned covered with scars and acting as though they are not quite human? In a desperate bid for freedom Alex and his friend Zed discover a horrifying truth - that the Furnace Penitentiary is a place of pure evil, a place where cruel experiments take place every day, where inmates are simply guinea pigs, where monsters make monsters, and where death is the least of your worries ..."Furnace" is the first true prison book for kids, filled with thrilling chases, gut-wrenching horror and action scenes that will leave your heart racing for days.See all Product description
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The book starts up a bit slow, but once it picks up - it totally picks up.
I liked the different characters in the book. Donovan came across as the silent hard guy; Zee was portrayed as tough in the early part; Gary's entrance was class.
The book itself flows well and engages the reader. You begin to wonder, what will happen next? will it work? It has you on the edge.
I guess I've always had a bit of a fascination about the sheer nightmare scenario of being unfairly incarcerated in some hellhole of a penal colony, wondering how I would cope if it ever happened to me (even as a guy in his early thirties, never mind as a teenager): Would I break down into this pathetic, gibbering, and possibly suicidal wreck at the sheer monumental overwhelm of it all (as I suspect I would)? Or, would a survival instinct shut off my brain to the kaleidoscope of emotions as the only coping mechanism in town?
Clearly, I am not alone in that fascination, as the author (who like our young protagonist is called Alex- surely no coincidence there!) seems to be putting himself through the same dark thought experiment in writing this book and has- to this reader at least- managed to convey his thoughts and feelings about the topic... well... pretty damn brilliantly, as it goes.
The dialogue between the three main characters (Alex, his older cellmate Donovan, and fellow "new fish" Zee) is top-drawer throughout: you can't help but like these guys pretty much on introduction to them, since there is something kind of "everyman" about them: each flawed in some way or another, perhaps in many ways; each 100% human. Age and gender aside, I'm sure every reader can relate to being an Alex. Every reader will know someone who is a bit like Zee. Every reader will know a Donovan. And perhaps it's the portrayal of this underlying humanity, alongside the protagonists' growing sense of reliance upon and fraternity towards each another as the story progresses (which, I confess, on many occasions left me with the much cliched "lump in my throat") that is the author's true gift here.
That out of the way, if you are an adult wavering over the idea of giving this book a shot, PLEASE don't be fooled into thinking that it will be a timid read by virtue of its apparent target audience: in stark contrast, "Furnace: Lockdown" relentlessly portrays an extremely bleak picture of what prison life is like in some dystopian- but perhaps not that far-off- parallel universe, and it rarely falters at this task. That said, I must stress that (as an earlier reviewer points out) sexual violence is NEVER tackled by the author at any point (perhaps unrealistically given the nature of the topic- but also thankfully, I reckon, since the book can be harrowing enough in many other ways), so don't waver over that concern either.
How to summarize? Well, I'm struggling here, so I guess I'll just cross my fingers and try fobbing you off with this:
DO YOU LIKE ROLLER COASTER RIDES? THEN YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE FOR NOT READING THIS BOOK, BECAUSE IT IS- QUITE SIMPLY- ABSOLUTELY BLOODY BRILLIANT.
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Most recent customer reviews
This wasn't a bad book (the Escape from Furnace series is five instalments long); I actually quite enjoyed it on some level,...Read more