Escape From Furnace: Lockdown

Escape From Furnace: Lockdown (Escape From Furnace: Book One)
Written by Alexander Gordon Smith
Published in Australia January 2014
304 Pages
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...
Alex wasn't always a criminal, but with the lure of money in the playground, he couldn't resist. It begun with stealing from those younger and weaker at school, which lead to breaking into homes... Until his last break in. It was too easy, and Alex should have realised something was wrong, but when greed overrides your moral compass, eventually all criminals are caught. Seeing his partner in crime killed in cold blood, Alex quickly realises his captors are not the police, but huge men all dressed alike in black suits and gas masks. In a sick game of cat and mouse, Alex is told to run. If caught, Alex will be framed for murder, and everyone knows what happens with kids who step out of line, Furnace Penitentiary. He almost made it, as his mother opened the door, Alex was caught. Alex knew it would be the last time he would ever see freedom, he was being sent to hell.

Sentenced to life in a cruel society that fears lawless children, Alex finds himself in Furnace, a prison for the worst child offenders, or those who've been framed. Hundreds of metres below the ground, Alex will never see daylight again. But in Furnace, that's the least of your problems. The prison is a series of caves embedded into underground rock. You keep your head down, you shut up and pray that they don't come for you in the night. Rife with gangs that will kill you for refusing to be subservient, they pick and chose their victims at will. The rule is not to get involved, or face the risk of being next. Cellmate, and long term Furnace resident Donovan warned Alex, so when Alex stands up for another boy being tortured, he's just become a target himself. But still, there are far worse fates in Furnace.

They call him the warden, a cruel and evil man that strangely, no one can seem to make eye contact with. He runs the boys prison on fear alone, with the help of masked men and hell hounds. He may not be the devil himself, but Alex can imagine even hell would be more lenient. Each day is the same, siren to wake, siren to work, siren for the meager meal of gruel and a siren to return to your cell, but once the prison is plunged into darkness, that's when you pray for death. 

Wheezers, they make their way through the cell blocks in the middle of the night, marking cells for inmates to be taken... But no one ever returns. Anyone caught outside of their cell faces a fate worse than death, by the creatures that stalk the walkways. Unforgiving, the beasts will tear you limb from limb, and demolish your remains. Alex lives in far that each night it'll be his turn, watching those around him fade into the night. But when Alex realises that those taken do return, he isn't sticking around to find out. 

They say Furnace is unpenetrable, there is only one way in and one way out, death. It's amazing the strength you find when you fear for your life... And Alex is about to make his bid for freedom.

My Thoughts

Escape From Furnace: Lockdown was horrifically brilliant. It's probably one of the darkest young adult books I've read to date. It was enthralling, it sucked you in from the first chapter, and spat you out when you ended on the cliffhanger, and I loved every moment. There is no romance, no fluffy bunnies or rainbows of inspiration, it's pure suspense and horror and not for the faint of heart.

Alex is only thirteen, which is soon forgotten when you see what awaits him. Society labels those as young as ten as dangerous and it soon becomes clear that boys are being left to rot inside the prison who are innocent, and brought in under the same circumstances at Alex. All due to gangs of young boys who had massacred adults on a killing spree, society deemed all child crimes punishable by Furnace. It's horrific, in which most adults wouldn't survive. Alex, although he stole, broke and entered, was not guilty of murder. Furnace forces him to not only grow up, but he realises the life he was leading was no better than the gangs he now faces on the inside, a revelation too little too late.

If you're looking for something dark, gritty and utterly gripping, you won't be disappointed. Alexander Gordon Smith has created a brilliant and unique series that left me with my heart in my throat. I absolutely loved it. Be warned, it ends in a heart stopping cliffhanger, but luckily, the rest of the series has already been released.


  1. Thanks for reviewing this! I had thought it sounded good and tried to win a copy but no luck.. going to have to keep my eye out and put it o nmy list

    1. Hey Amber, thanks for popping by. Definitely get your hands on a copy, it was incredible. The eBook is around $5.00 on Amazon it seems, but well worth the money.

  2. This story sounds absolutely horrific! I can't believe the character is only 13! Thanks for sharing your review Kelly :)

  3. Oh no, not another cliffhanger! My heart can't take it lol! At least you can go straight onto the next book. Sounds like a really dark, disturbing read! Thanks for sharing Kelly :)

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


© Diva Booknerd. Design by Fearne.