Lockdown, Escape From Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith is a science fiction novel that takes place in the future and kids can receive a life sentence if they kill a person. This life sentence is a danger was approved because of the summer of slaughter. Many teenagers and kids murdered others during this summer and this scared many people, so the life sentence for kids was approved. Also, the Furnace Penitentiary was created for those kids sentenced to life in prison. Many gangs were sent to this prison, and this reduced the number of people that were killed by teenagers. However, the killings did not end. Sometimes, the kids were even framed! This is what happened to Alex Sawyer, the main character of the story. Alex Sawyer is a teenager going through adolescent becomes a bully with his best friend Toby. They bully smaller children and take their money. As they grow older, they start robbing houses. They are an intelligent pair of teenagers and have been very successful and lucky in their raids, until one night- the night that changes everything in the teenagers’ lives.
They were planning their biggest robbery that night and were going to be set for a good chunk of their lives if they were successful. The beginning of the robbery seemed pretty successful, until they split up. Many men in dark black suits showed up and halted Alex and Toby. At first they looked like police, but then they soon realized that men who had guns with silencers weren’t part of the police forces. The men in black had very intimidating expressions. A very tiny man in a gas mask appeared and pointed at Toby. Almost immediately, Toby was shot dead, leaving Alex without a best friend and framed for murder. The next morning he was caught and sentenced to life in prison Furnace, the maximum security prison. The men in black appeared again, and they turned out to be the prison guards of the Furnace. Why would prison guards frame innocent teenagers for murder?
Arriving at the prison with 3 others also framed for murder, Alex had made some friends. As he entered the underground prison, despair begins to sink into his brain. He realizes that there is no chance of escaping underground. When he is transported underground, he meets the skulls. They are a ruthless gang during the summer of slaughter that would kill you even if you looked at them funny. The warden introduces himself, and his face is deformed. You can’t stare at his eyes. Alex is soon introduced to his cell, and he has a roommate-Donovan. Donovan soon becomes Alex’s best friend in prison. The prison however, is no ordinary prison. Strange tests happen in the prison, and people get killed in these test. At night when lights are flashing red in the covers, you have a chance of getting taken to be experimented on. These tests are cruel changing you into an inhuman form and making you a mutant.
There are also many strange creatures in this prison such as the scrawny figures in gas masks and oxygen tanks, the men in black suits with super human strength, skinless dogs ready to attack you in an instant and mutant human taken for experiments. At any time they can take you and you just have to just hope they don’t. Every day, the prisoners have to do chores, including shoveling tunnels, cleaning toilets, laundry, and cooking. As Alex is shoveling tunnel, he noticed a glimpse of bright light coming from inside a doorway, and the smell of fresh air. The prisoners are about a mile underground, so how could there be light and air? Alex soon finds out that this is the only means of escape, and he needs all the help he can get from the prisoners if he ever wants to see sunlight again.
I liked the book because it gave me a feel about what life was like in prison. Every chapter made me want to read more, and this is a great book for those who like action. Some parts i didn't like, however. I didn't like all the cruel deaths of the prisoners, and the images formed in my mind were disturbing, but overall, this was an amazing read, and i would like to coninue reading more books in the series.
~Dylan, Teen Book Reviewers