Review: Solitary (Escape from Furnace, #2) by Alexander Gordon Smith

book reviewing-01

solitaryTitle: Solitary
Author: Alexander Gordon Smith
Series: Escape From Furnace, #2
Date(s) read: January 27 – February 5, 2013
Genre: YA thriller
Source: Library (Paperback)


Furnace Prison …
Where death is the least of your worries.
Escape is just the beginning …

We thought we’d made it, we thought we were free. But we should have known there was no way out of Furnace.

All we did was slip deeper into the guts of the prison: into solitary confinement, where the real nightmares live – the warden, the Wheezers, and something much, much worse.

The clock’s ticking. Because if we don’t escape soon they will turn us into freaks – like them. For ever.

In the darkness of the hole your worst nightmares come to life.

my thoughts-01

When I finished reading this book, I really had to sit down and think about it. I loved the first book in this series, Lockdown, and flew through the pages and ended with my heart pounding and that feeling that I HAD to pick up the second book and continue with the series right away. But then I finished the book and felt like it could’ve been better — that maybe it should’ve been a bit different.

Solitary starts up where Lockdown left off. The boys have been caught, with Alex and Zee thrown into solitary, which is basically a dark hole where they’re cut off from the world. Solitary is the place where prisoners slowly descend into madness, so the theme for this book seemed to be NOT going mad. Of course, we’re pretty much just stuck with Alex, in his head, for a lot of the book. Him and Zee have “conversations,” but those are basically them talking via a toilet grate banged against a wall. 

For me, I missed some of the major characters from the last book. Alex really wasn’t the most exciting character and neither was Zee. I missed Donovan, as well as Gary Owens (even if he was kind of a jerk). They at least added some kind of variety to the book, whereas Alex is just a bit dull. And really, not a lot even goes on in the story. A guy named Simon, who’s been hiding from the blackcoats and rats, works with Alex and Zee on a rescue and escape mission, but it’s pretty much just them going from solitary to somewhere where they could talk, and back again. There wasn’t the frantic pace of the fights, the other prison members, the jobs, and the escape through a boarded up hole, like in Lockdown.

What there is in this book is a LOT of gore. I mean, if you have a weak stomach, this might not be the book to read because the way that the transformations are described, to the way the rats are described, to what life is like in solitary is just not for the faint of heart. There were times I found myself scowling at the book because it was just so … gross. Still, it’s a nice change of pace from the not-so-gross books, and nice to have something a little different and daring.

Almost halfway through, I put the book down and did something else for about 6 days. Normally, if I’m reading a super good book, I’d finish the book first, but it just wasn’t grabbing me. I get what the author was doing and how the feel of this one was supposed to be, but it just didn’t live up to the first one in the series. I still would like to continue on with the series — with hope that the ending of the next book doesn’t leave me feeling like I’m back at square one.

Is this maybe the curse of the boy book? Could be. I spend a lot of my time reading books that are probably more suited towards girls, so maybe I’m just not used to a dire and depressing ending. But we’ll see. Perhaps in the end, the series will redeem itself. Don’t get me wrong — Alexander Gordon Smith is a great author, but to me this felt like one of those “middle of the series” books that didn’t really go anywhere.


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3 thoughts on “Review: Solitary (Escape from Furnace, #2) by Alexander Gordon Smith

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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