Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2

Paperback | July 5, 2011

byAlexander Gordon Smith

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Alex tried to escape.
He had a perfect plan.
He was almost free. Even felt the cool, clean air on his face.
Then the dogs came.
Now he's locked in a place so gruesome-so hellish-that escape doesn't even matter.
He just wants to survive.

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From the Publisher

Alex tried to escape.He had a perfect plan.He was almost free. Even felt the cool, clean air on his face.Then the dogs came.Now he's locked in a place so gruesome-so hellish-that escape doesn't even matter.He just wants to survive.

Alexander Gordon Smith is the author of the Escape from Furnace series, including Lockdown. Born in 1979 in Norwich, England, he always wanted to be a writer. After experimenting in the service and retail trades for a few years, Smith decided to go to University. He studied English and American Literature at the University of East Ang...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.17 × 5.49 × 0.75 inPublished:July 5, 2011Publisher:Square FishLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312674767

ISBN - 13:9780312674762

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as good as the First Where to start, where to start. Honestly, this book felt like a rip off of the first in the series, Lockdown. It didn't feel like there was really a difference in the plot or characters from the first book to the end of this one. Same characters making the same decisions with the same results. Plot Honestly, I liked the introduction of Simon and his friends, but I thought there was going to be more to it than where it ended up with them. Their stories and characters were wasted in this novel, but honestly so were all the characters. Alex did nothing special this time around, especially considering he came up with another failed escape plan to leave the prison and was caught again by the Warden. At least this time the author didn't let us think they were going to escape and then spend the first quarter of the next book talking about how they got caught. Characters Zee was barely in this novel. He was just there to be like "Yeah Alex you are so smart!!" which why. You could have just had Alex narrate that part in about himself and it would have had the same effect. I also don't count the conversations that Alex and he had by banging their gate to communicate because that doesn't count. That was a plot device for the author to talk about the plot without having Alex narrate it in his mind, even though he really was. Donovan ... don't even get me started on this. It was absolutely ridiculous to have him be Alex's conscience in this novel through hologram and hallucination only to ultimately be murdered by being suffocated with a pillow. Like what a waste of a potentially great character. Also just another plot device for the author to "move" the plot along without having Alex do it himself, even though he really was because NO ONE ELSE WAS THERE. Simon was okay, I guess. He seemed like a filler for the plot to me though, just someone else for Alex to talk to because Gary was down for the count. He <spoiler>escaped from the wheezers and has been living in the tunnels beneath Furnace waiting for his chance to escape and thinks he has found it in Alex</spoiler>. Okay, sounds good to me. He doesn't trust Alex. Also reasonable. I don't think he is going to make it past the next book though. Overall: I give it 2.5/5 stars. Nothing special about this sequel. I know seconds are always hard to write because you need to flesh out the characters more and move the plot more in the direction that you want it to go, but this novel did neither. The characters and plot were both static and honestly it was difficult to differentiate between the two except for the fact that in the first book, it takes place in general population and this one takes place in solitary confinement. That's it, that's literally the difference.
Date published: 2015-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not as good as Lockdown Solitary picks up right where Lockdown left off, going down the river. However, only Alex, Zee, and Gary make it out alive. They eventually think they've made it to the surface, but Alex knows they haven't, because they were still so far underground. All they really did was make their way back to Furnace, and their punishment: a month in Solitary. Remember how in Lockdown, Donovan was talking about only being in Solitary for a few days, and how he almost died in there ? Well, no Alex and Zee were in there for a month, while Gary was carried off into the Infirmary. Solitary in a way was similar to Lockdown, because they obviously were still trying to find a way to escape. This time, however, I didn't feel the way I did in Lockdown when they were trying to find a way out. I felt like Alex, quite hopeless. That's what being in a hole does to you, I guess. He may have came up with ideas, but I could feel that he really didn't believe in them. It seems as if something is ALWAYS in the way between Furnace and Earth. I liked how even though most of the book took place in the hell hole, it wasn't boring at all. Every time I felt the book slowing down a bit, something new would be dropped in. A new way to communicate, the rats opening the hatch, the slop, all those things. Alexander Gordon Smith is a great author, as he produces clear, vivid images that don't leave my mind. I stayed up to 3AM just to read this book, and like Alex, I felt insanity creeping on so I had to stop. My imagination was going wild during the night. If you haven't already seen my review for Lockdown, then click here.
Date published: 2012-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Horrifically Good Excellent second installment in the Furnace series.
Date published: 2011-10-05

Extra Content

Read from the Book

CONFESSION I have a confession.     I’m not a good person.     I always said that I only stole from strangers, that I only took stuff they’d never really miss: money and electronics and the sort of things you can’t cry over.     But that was a lie. I didn’t stop there; I couldn’t. I stole from the people I loved, and took the things that meant the most to them. I didn’t just break into their cupboards and drawers, I broke into their hearts and ripped out whatever I wanted, anything that would get me some easy money down at the market.     So don’t go fooling yourself that I’m a good person, that I’m an innocent victim, someone who didn’t deserve to be locked up inside the hell on earth known as Furnace Penitentiary. I’m not. Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t kill my best friend Toby when we broke into that house. No, the blacksuits did it, they shot him then they framed me for his murder. But I’ve done things that are just as bad. I’ve killed little parts of people; I’ve cut them up inside, hurt them so much they wished they were dead.     There isn’t time to confess everything, but I have to get this off my chest. If I don’t do it now then I might never get the chance. Death’s coming up fast. I can feel its cold fingers around my throat.     Two years ago, when I was twelve, my gran died—had a fit in the middle of the night and swallowed her tongue. Mom was devastated, like any daughter would be. She cried for weeks, she didn’t eat, she hardly spoke to me or Dad. She’d just sit and hold the little silver locket that Gran had left her, gently stroking the scarred and crumpled photos inside.     I guess I don’t really need to tell you what I did. But I’m going to anyway. I need to.     I waited till she was asleep one night, ten days or so after Gran had been buried. Then I sneaked into her room and pried that locket from her hand. Ten quid. Ten lousy quid is what I got for it. A handful of dirty coins for the only thing my mom had left of her mom. I watched the man I’d sold it to rip the photos out from inside and chuck them in the bin, and I didn’t feel a shred of remorse.     Mom knew I was the one who’d taken it. She never said anything but I could see it in her eyes. There was no warmth there anymore, no love. It was like she looked right through me, at a phantom over my shoulder, at the son she wished she could have, the son she’d lost forever.     See what I mean? I’m not a good person. Don’t forget that. It’ll make my story easier to stomach if you know that I deserved to be punished for Toby’s death, even though it wasn’t me who pulled the trigger—that I deserved to be sent away for life in Furnace, deep in the rancid guts of the planet.     And that I deserved everything that happened to me there. Because Furnace is no ordinary prison, it’s a living nightmare perfectly designed for people like me. A place where freaks in gas masks—wheezers, as we called them—stalk the corridors at night and carry boys screaming from their cells. Where those stolen kids are brought back as monsters, all rippling muscles beneath stitched skin. And where the same poor wretches are eventually turned into blacksuits, the warden’s soulless guards.     I saw it happen with my own eyes. I saw it happen to Monty. I saw what he’d become, right before he died.     So, never let yourself forget that I’m a bad person, that all us cons are, even the “good guys” I met inside like Donovan and Zee and Toby (no, not my old friend I’m supposed to have killed—a new friend with the same name). The four of us thought we’d found a way to escape, blowing a hole in the chipping room floor with gas smuggled out of the kitchen. But nobody can run from their own demons. Donovan was taken by the wheezers the night before we broke, and as for the rest of us—me and Zee and my new friend Toby—well, maybe even Furnace was too good for us. It was certainly too good for Gary Owens, the hard-case headcase who discovered our plan and followed along like a bad smell.     No, maybe our fate was to find out what horrors lay in the tunnels beneath the prison.     Because that was our way out: the river that runs deep underground below the bowels of Furnace. We didn’t know where it led to. We didn’t care. Anywhere that wasn’t Furnace was good enough for us.     Or so we thought.     Oh yes, beneath heaven is hell, and beneath hell is Furnace. But the horrors that crawl and feast beneath that—now that’s a truly fitting punishment for someone like me.     So there you have it, my confession. It may not seem like the best time to share it, but it’s funny what races through your head when you’re plummeting into the darkness with only razor-sharp rocks and rapids to break your fall.Excerpted from Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2 by Alexander Gordon Smith.Copyright © 2009 by Alexander Gordon Smith.Published in 2009 by Farrar Straus Giroux.All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Editorial Reviews

"Fresh and ferocious, Lockdown will hook boys with its gritty, unrelenting surprises." -James Patterson"Furnace is hotter than hell and twice as much fun! Sign me up for a life sentence of Alexander Gordon Smith!" -Darren Shan, author of the Demonata series"Fast paced and packed with nail-biting scenarios . . . This is a dark story with a dark ending, but the gritty action and compelling characters will have reluctant readers enthralled." -School Library Journal"Once again, Smith has created a thrill ride that will leave the audience wanting more. Smith's prose is fast paced, witty, and sometimes downright terrifying. Some of the images he creates could manifest into a nightmare or two. Teens who are looking for a great thriller/horror story will definitely want to pick up these novels." -VOYA"Adrenaline-fueled action infuses the narrative as it did in Lockdown (2009), keeping the pages turning. . . . The author knows what keeps his readers locked to the page and delivers it soundly." -Kirkus Reviews