“Lockdown” (Escape from Furnace #1) by Alexander Gordon Smith Review


Author: Alexander Gordon Smith

Release Date: March 2009

This is another book I checked out based on recommendations from my favorite Goodreads reviewers, this one being by Emily May. Emily wrote, “If you’re looking for a tense, fast-paced and frightening book that pulls you in immediately and makes your heart pound, I cannot recommend Lockdown enough.”

This is definitely the type of book you can read in one sitting. The book is about 98% plot movement about a prison break. The prison is just for boys; it goes about a mile underground and features things that go bump in the night. The main character, Alex, is incarcerated for something he didn’t do, but much like the main characters in the film “Don’t Breathe,” he’s put himself in such a situation that you can’t feel entirely bad for him.

The main characters also include Donovan, a bigger kid that’s been in the prison since shortly after it was founded; Zee, another new guy who comes to the prison at the same time as Alex; and a couple of maniacs named Kevin and Gary. The book doesn’t spend a lot of time developing any of the characters. As the narrator, Alex has a couple of dream sequences and flashbacks, but the book is certainly more about where he is than who he was.

There are a few elements of the book that work because it is a young adult book but don’t really hold up as horror or science fiction. **Spoiler alert** If you’ve read “The Hunger Games,” you’ll know what’s going to happen to Monty as soon as he’s taken from his cell. The “guards” at the prison are conveniently few enough in number and consistent in routine, despite Alex’s assertions early on that they don’t follow any set schedule or rotation.

The book sets out a path and follows it at a brisk pace. I was actually expecting a twist in the execution of the prison break that never came. The ending of the book came so suddenly that it was obvious that the execution of their plan would occur as it did. While this hurts the ending as being a bit predictable, it also provided a satisfied conclusion that held up with the logic the book at set up. (view spoiler)

I’ve picked up a few books recommended by Emily May (somebody reviewing 250+ books a year tends to recommend a lot of ones that sound interesting), and based on this first one I look forward to checking more of them out.

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