Another brilliant book for my Halloween Reads event! This isn’t quite like the ones before this month, though, as it’s more of a dystopian. Highly recommended, though!
By Gordon Smith, published by Faber.
Goodreads Synopsis: 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. A vast building sunk deep into the ground, there’s 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 guards and returned the next morning changed. Where are they taken and why are they returned covered with scars, acting as though they are not quite human?
In a desperate bid for freedom Alex discovers 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 guinea pigs, where monsters make monsters, and where death is the least of your worries . . .
My Review: WHOA. LOCKDOWN blew me away! I bought this and got it signed at an event with Gordon, and I’ve been excited to read this since I’ve got it. It’s kind of freaky, how Gordon was such a happy nice guy, but could write such a freaky, twisted, dark tale.
Plot-wise, I was very intrigued. The idea of a government passing crime-committing kids into the hands of evil, torturous people was really sinister! I love dark, macabre books- so this ticked all of the boxes for me. I delved into the story not knowing too much about it, just the synopsis: I was unexpectedly plunged straight into the action of Alex’s life. Each page was full of action and drama, and I felt like the story had a bit of a horror movie vibe to it, I don’t know why. Speaking of the horror: this book’s not for the faint hearted. The bit with the gas-masked thieves who steal the boys away (that are on the cover) was truly terrifying.
The story was brought to life so well with Gordon’s vivid, rich descriptions. I loved his writing so much! I could tell the writing had been well thought-out, and there wasn’t a moment reading this where I was bored. It’s packed with action, and when it’s not at a bit with much action, the story is laced with suspense that reels you into the book. Also, Gordon is an evil writer. THAT CLIFFHANGER! The ending. WHY. I must hurry up and read the sequel, now!
Alex was an interesting protagonist. At the beginning of the story he was robbing, thieving, causing havoc. I didn’t really like Alex at first, but then I warmed to him, despite his criminal life… Probably because he began to seem less awful as he got into Furnace. Alex’s life wasn’t really detailed on massively, but the only reason that didn’t concern me was because I’m sure it’ll detail I the next books. He definitely did develop a lot throughout the book, which I liked: and his friendships with two of the supporting characters were strong, believable, and made him a very realistic character to me.
Overall, FURNACE: LOCKDOWN was an awesome read. It is dark and twisted, and will keep you turning the pages rapidly, with its tension-filled writing. The character are great (overall I think I preferred the supporting characters for some reason, though!) and are really great, rebellious kids. I loved reading their terrifying story! Lockdownwasn’t the longest book I’ve read, so afterward I was left itching to read my copy of the sequel. I can’t wait to start it!
I purchased a copy of FURNACE: LOCKDOWN at the Bath Kids Lit Fest event.