Title: Furnace: Escape from Furnace
Author: Alexander Gordon Smith
Series: Escape from Furnace
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2010
Format: Library Hardback
Genre: YA; Horror; Dystopian
Furnace Penitentiary: An underground hellhole. A place of pure evil with walls soaked in blood. Murderous gangs and vicious guards rule the darkness. Horrific creatures steal people away in the dead of night. And the impossible - escape - is the only hope.
*SPOILERS MAY BE PRESENT BEYOND THIS POINT*
My Thoughts And Reflection:
I had a friend who recommended this book to me, and I picked it up on her behalf. I'm glad that I did. Oh, and that blurb doesn't really give this book any justice. Oh well.
In the beginning, I'll admit, I was a little put off by how scary it came across. I wasn't used to such raw horror in a YA novel.
However, the characters and world building quickly sucked me in, and I was thrown on this roller coaster of uncertainty and insane situations with the characters.
Alex was an endearing protagonist. He has been dealt these unimaginable circumstances, and yet he never gives up hope. Donovan is certainly this frenemy in the beginning. He obviously has a nice heart, and it's so fun to watch him blossom as a character and as a friend. Zee is pretty much just this nice guy who is always around. I wish that we could have seen more development from him.
There isn't exactly a clear antagonist in this story; yes there are some gangs and such in the penitentiary, but I feel like they were more distractions from the actual antagonist, the situation. These teenage boys are all thrown in an underground prison where hell and havoc is expected, and praised.
I'm excited by how much potential this series has. After an heart pounding conclusion I'm pumped and ready to dive into the second book. I feel like we'll see from Zee and get more explanation about The Summer of Slaughter.
Characters and premise aside, I just want to point out how beautifully Alexander Gordon Smith writes! Here are some of passages from the book.
"They began as hushed moans chocked back by the countless musicians that crafted them, merging together from every level to create a fountain of sound that ran down to the deserted yard below." (Pg. 79)
"Hatred– real, murderous hatred–was an emotion I'd never really experienced before, and I wasn't sure whether it excited me or terrified me." (pg. 89-90)
"My head was drumming some sort of ancient tribal dance, my throat felt like I'd swallowed a cheese grater, and my eyes were watering as if I was wearing contact lenses soaked in vinegar. (pg. 115)
I won't tell you the context of these quotes so that I don't spoil anything for you, but aren't they just beautiful?
Anyway, I was left with one question from this book. Where are all the girls? Is there a sister prison, or were girls not involved in the Sumer of Slaughter at All? I have a feeling that these questions will be answered as the series progresses, and this will remain in the back of my mind.