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on 22 September 2015
So I read book one and was very impressed with it. If you haven't read book one than I highly suggest you read it as you will be lost if you start on Solitary.
So in this story if you remember Alex and his buddies went to try to escape via a tunnel that was collapsed. We left off where they got through and that was it, we never learned if they got to see daylight.
Well I guess from the synopsis we learn that they didn't. It seems the boys got caught and they are thrown into the hole. Now Alex has learned before what the hole was about via his friend Donovan and it didn't sound pretty.
Now that Alex has been captured it is a matter of time before he probably ends up going crazy or so you would think, as we read on we learn that there are things deep below that are scary and gruesome and are willing to help Alex get out. It seems that there is something more going on in the furnace besides just framing kids and having them in hell.
Now in the hole we see and feel what Alex goes through and we watch him try to escape more than once. Will he even succeed?
I thought the author could have let Alex stay in the hole a bit more longer than he did and the reason I think that is because it would have been interesting to see how sane he would have been via three days or a week. We get more interaction with the wheezers in this one and we learn about what happened to Donovan and it just makes you feel bad for all the boys that are still in prison.
I am not sure if I liked book one or this one a whole lot more it may be a tie between the both of them. I think teens will really enjoy this book it has the right amount of action and emotions that will have you wondering what will happen next.
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Alexander Gordon Smith is a UK author who seems to be coming into his own. His first major book to his North American markets was Lockdown, Escape from Furnace book 1. It has been nominated for the American Library Association Quick Picks for Young Adults, with good reason and this sequel due out in North America later this year should also garner much praise. But for those who have read Lockdown and cannot wait until October for the US release, there is another alternative. The series is already on book 3 in the UK. Like book 1, this story takes place in Furnace Penitentiary, a super max prison for young offenders built into the earth.

This story continues immediately after the first story. Alex Sawyer has just attempted to escape from the prison no one has escaped from. Along with a few friends he has managed to get out of the prison and into an underground river. Soon he is in a maze of tunnels, vaults and caves under the prison. They say that hell is below heaven and that furnace is below hell; Alex is about to find out what is below furnace. As the title indicates, Alex ends up in solitary confinement. There he must battle not only his own personal demons but also he encounters some created by the prison and the staff as they have experimented on the young inmates in their charge.

This book is kind of a cross between Escape from Alcatraz, and The Island of Dr. Moreau but with a sadistic Nazi Concentration camp-like experiments or somewhat like the Saw movies. The book is a compulsive read; you will discover that you cannot put it down. What does hold you back is knowing that it is only book 2 in a 5 part series and that 2 have not even been published yet. The book is dark and as hideous as the experiments depicted. Our main character has fleeting thoughts of suicide and struggles to maintain not only hope, but the ability to keep trying and striving to find a way of escape.

The book begins with Alex telling us "I have a confession. I'm not a good person. ... I stole from the people I loved, and took the things that meant the most to them. ... So don't go fooling yourself that I'm an innocent victim, someone who didn't deserve to be locked up inside the hell on earth known as Furnace Penitentiary." His time in isolation forces him to honestly evaluate himself and his worth. And he finds himself wanting.

I am not sure I even want to imagine what being locked in a hole carved in rock would be like, yet Gordon Alexander Smith seems to not only place a character there, but enters his mind and that confined space, and gives us an incredible experience of it. In this book we learn more about Furnace and what is really happening there, but we are also left with more questions - hopefully some of which will be answered in book 3, Death Sentence.

As stated at the beginning, this book is currently only available in North America by overseas shipping. With how popular the first book is becoming it is surprising that the publisher is not pushing off the US releases to get caught up to the UK releases. This book was a great read, but I would not recommend it for all readers; it is very dark and in some places gruesome, but never to a point that it does not fit the story. I read it twice late at night, and though I do not often remember my dreams, both evenings I dreamed of Alex and his struggles. It is a story well told, and told well in the details. It leaves you cheering for the underdog even though he recognises he is not innocent, not good and has failed everyone who has ever known him. It is a good instalment in what is shaping up to be a great series.
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on 12 August 2013
This book is another great book in the Escape From Furnace series and after reading Lockdown (the first book in the series) I had to read this. My expectations were high to begin with but this book exceeded them without breaking a sweat. That's why I rated this book five stars but also because of the gripping story line, the never-ending action and also the way this book is written. It hooks you from the first sentence and keeps you hooked throughout the rest of the book until the gripping cliff-hanger leading into the next book which I yet still to enjoy. I would recommend this book to ages over twelve because there are some scary features but to anyone else who is looking for on the edge of your seat action and true thrill when reading a book. This book is truly one of the best or even the best book I have read in my life. I would read it over and over if it were not for the future books in the series. All in all a very good read and another incredible book from Alexander Gordon Smith.

-10/10
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on 11 September 2013
Prompt delivery. Thank you.
I was impressed as to how this book is crafted. Not only imaginative but delivered with an excellent command of the English.
I'm impressed that my son (an active teenager) was overt at wanting to share the story with us (the parents).
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on 25 March 2014
If you're trying to tempt a reluctant boy reader into books, try this Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. Action-packed, gory, tense ... all the required ingredients! It's hard to get enough copies to keep up with demand in this school library!
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on 6 February 2013
A good read if you like real fiction and action. Alexander is an amazing writer for his age as you never know what is going to happen next. Be sure to read the Furnace books in order atarting at No1 Lockdown.
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on 7 November 2013
this is an amazing book! it has tension, some slight horror, and a lot of action. the characters are interesting, and the descriptions are amazing. my favourite bit is when they are trying to rescue Donovan!
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on 21 May 2012
Another great can't put down page turner that leaves you desperately searching for the next installment to see what happens. Brilliant book, brilliant series!
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on 6 January 2013
I bought this for my son, as his friends at school were reading it. He has not been disappointed. An exciting book, well worth the read.
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on 27 March 2014
Great book, preferred lockdown but still VERY worth the read and would recommend it to others - like I am doing now :D
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