Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book Review: Solitary by Alexander Gordon Smith

Solitary (Escape from Furnace, Book 2) by Alexander Gordon Smith
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (December 21, 2010)
Amazon Description:

Alex Sawyer and his mates should have known there was no way out of Furnace Penitentiary. Their escape attempt only lands them deeper in the guts of this prison for young offenders, and then into solitary confinement. And that's where a whole new struggle begins—a struggle not to let the hellish conditions overwhelm them. Because before another escape attempt is even possible, they must first survive the nightmare that now haunts their endless nights.

Almost from the get go my heart was in my throat when reading this book. The first in the series, Lockdown, left off in a very tense situation and that continues on in Solitary. The story picks up after the explosion and the fall into the river. Alex and his friends venture into unknown territory in an attempt to escape the horrors of Furnace, but as the title of the book suggests, they fail and are put in solitary...a place meant to break their will and their minds. Darkness, Black Suits, twisted monsters and more. It is a struggle to keep sane, but Alex is given hope and the possibility of escape.

The opening line of the book is "I have a confession. I am not a good person." Alex starts things off by reminding us that he is a criminal and feels he deserves to be where he is. It is easy to forget that he isn't some innocent kid locked away to face the hellish Furnace. He is the "hero" of the book and you root for him. You want him to escape. Yes the crime that got him put in Furnace was not committed by him (he was framed by the Black Suits), but he definitely was a criminal. I have to disagree with his opinion that he deserves to be in a place like Furnace though. No one deserves the nightmares of that place.

Aside from the characters, the prison itself is intriguing. A little more is revealed about the workings of Furnace and we learn things CAN get worse than we thought. The depravities being committed by the wheezers is enough to make your heart beat out of your chest. The close calls Alex and his friends have in the halls and caves of the prison is terrifying. Solitary is like a roller coaster ride where you are looming at the top about to take a steep drop. The anticipation of what will happen next is almost overwhelming.

This is one of my favorite young adult series. If you have never read the first book, Lockdown, you can read my mini review HERE.

Be sure to check back in January because the author, Alexander Gordon Smith, will be doing a guest post here on my blog and there will be a chance to win a copy of Lockdown.


I received a copy of this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

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