Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lockdown by: Alexander Gordon Smith


Furnace Penitentiary is the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Alex Sawyer is the “new fish.” Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, he knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to death in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. 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.

Escape is Alex’s only option. But it’s not just about saving his own skin. The more he discovers, the more he understands that he is going to have to do whatever it takes to expose this nightmare hidden from the eyes of the world.
[from B&]
Lockdown is the first in the Escape From the Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. I picked it up on a whim when I saw the awesome cover and the back made it sound interesting enough. I'm glad I bought it, it was a really good YA novel.
The plot of this novel is really interesting and really scary at the same time. I mean, this is a prison designed for children and some really gruesome, terrible things happen to them in this place. There are these dogs with no skin that will just tear them apart, and these really weird creatures known as "wheezers" with these old gas masks sewn onto their face. Some of the things were creatures you might see in a Stephen King novel.
Alex, the main character, is a very complex character. He isn't some innocent that's framed, he actually is a thief and a pretty bad kid. But, once he gets into the prison, you see that he also has some good qualities to him. I felt really bad for him at times, because he is just a kid. He's only fourteen years old and thrown into this truly horrible place.
There were also some good secondary characters. I really liked Donovan, he was a great character. And Zee was a lot of fun. I'd like to know more about the warden. He's really creepy and I'd like to maybe get some back story on him. Which might be hard, because the story is told through Alex's POV. There are supposed to be five books in the series, so hopefully we get some background on him.
There are very disturbing images in this novel, so I would say it probably isn't appropriate for younger teens. It's really surprising that something so dark is a YA novel. Which I like, because the reader isn't going to be expecting it. I know I wasn't!
All in all, I liked the novel. It was an entertaining read and I'll definitely  be checking out Solitary when it comes out. I'm intrigued as to where Smith is going to take this series.
Overall rating: 8/10