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Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2 by Alexander…

Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2

by Alexander Gordon Smith

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2632443,310 (3.88)3



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Imprisoned for a murder he did not commit, fourteen-year-old Alex Sawyer thinks that he has escaped the hellish Furnace Penitentiary, but instead he winds up in solitary confinement, where new horrors await him.
  lkmuir | Oct 26, 2015 |
I have to be honest, I've been on a bit of a binge. I inhaled “Lockdown” and “Solitary” in one day.

It has left me on a downer, though. Smith writes such brilliantly gritty stuff, that I know that the chances of seeing Furnace in any other format except written are slim to none at best. I mean there is so much high quality entertainment in books that slowly trough past few years TV kind of lost it's meaning. Truth be told, it never offered much anyway, but I lost the taste for the watered down Hollywood/Disney version of puppetry they throw at us.

Every single book, every single novel I liked that Hollywood got it's greasy mitts on they've ruined. Why? Because suits that run diagnostics that include moral code, target viewers and god knows whatnot. Tits, ass, heroes and villains that are really good guys deep down are the only things that sell.

Yeah well, Smith writes about things that go bump in the night. He writes about kids doing crimes, parents that turned their backs on them. No absolution from sin, just a new day ahead. Truth be told, authors like this bring more to entertainment than thousands of reality shows and HEA's out there. Because life isn't about do-overs, people aren't good or evil, they are both all the time; the only difference is witch button you push, and are you at the right place at the wrong time. The first few chapters of “Lockdown” say it all. How easy a few wrong choices can impact a person's life, how quickly are we to simply judge. Do something evil, and automatically all your life is evil, everything you ever did was wrong, and your future holds nothing but wrongness ahead.

Ah, the super-inflated human morality and the rancid stench that it spreads over the society gets me every time. Although Alex made some crappy choices, he is not a bad guy. He was a kid, he was stupid and he paid his dues. Even with the monstrosities running around, even with such imaginable cruelty and child abuse depicted in his stories,Smith manages to create a better morally charged story than most of the series shown on TV. Go figure that.

It has acceptance of self, rather than seeking approval of self in the eyes of others. It has a focus on true bonds of friendship, not just fair-weather smiles and popularity. It focuses on rebuilding of broken things rather than simply finding a replacement. It has human contact in all it's imperfect glory, where people are people who make mistakes and grow; they are not just facades on imaginary platforms that cater to hordes of imaginary pilgrims.

At the very first glance, you would think that stuff like this isn't really what people expect to find in a dystopian horror story, but think about it – life sets us up in prisons of our own making, provides our own unique hells to test us and see could we overcome it, escape, survive. In the darkest hour you really know what you're made of, and who your true friends are. No matter where you live, if you are rich or poor, color of your skin, none of it matters. It's something that is universally true and everyone can relate to.

That's why, honestly, I am disappointed when I realize that books like this have a hard time landing an audience, even harder getting a fully supported platform.

Not all of my feelings are lovey dovey about this novel, either. It was action packed from beginning to the end, a style that Smith seems to have and I adore. I hate it when you pick up a book and find about a hundred pages of nothing before some real action starts. It's like watching a soap opera – a character sets the kettle to boil – a month later you have a cup of coffee. The world building offers more clues about Furnace, but you still don't know it all. Kids live, kids die, kids disappear...some of them even come back. ( )
  IvieHill | Aug 6, 2015 |
We follow the first book and see the aftermath of the explosion and the escape. But all does not end well and it's not all sunshine and burgers. Instead, our protagonists are thrown into Solitary. And who knows if escape is even possible. Ever.

I thought the first book was decent, and I had middling hopes for Solitary (yeah, I'm not that optimistic for sequels). But this book quickly made me regret that.

To be honest, the first book's greatest appeal was the exploration of the world, to see the horrors and strange creations that would appear next. With those mysteries mostly seen and solved, this book fell flat.

First of all, the plot was crap. I cannot beleive that Alex and Zee would be the first to go pull out their grill and bang it to stay sane. Or that a group of people would depend completely on Alex to get them out when he doesn't even have a freaking plan. Or that no one has thought of the incinerator as an escape. Or that they didn't get caught leaving Solitary. Too many unrealistic plot movements that made me roll my eyes. I can take some incredulity, but not for an entire book!

I think there was also some very thoughtless character development. That story about stealing his mother's locket for money and not feeling guilty? Obviously the purpose of that story is to show us that our protagonist is quite a bad kid. But when the rest of his first person thoughts and tone comes off across as very innocent (especially as he tries to save all his friends for the most part), it seems like he is bipolar or not true to his character.
Similarly, why is Donovan always portrayed as such a good guy?
There is also not enough character development for me to believe that Alex would choose friendship over self-survival. In this book and the first book. Where does this inherent stick-together and save-my-friends come from? It isn't natural for humans to think that, but he does.
Yeah, yeah. Sure someone could point out that he does make the decision to leave them behind once. But that was more like in the face of impossible odds, and even then he quickly retracted it. Like a fake dip into selfishness to pretend he's isn't a glowing protagonist.

The only scene I thought was worth reading was the very last scene with Donovan. That is it. The rest wasted my time.

One star. I didn't like it at all. The shine of this world has worn off and the characters and plot are not enough to make me stick around to see more. I'm going to drop the series.
Not recommended. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |

Just as entertaining as book #1 and just as disturbing. I hope you like dark reads, because dammit - there's just no hope. ;__;

( )
  JennyJen | Aug 14, 2014 |
Solitary by Alexander Gordon Smith is a very good book . it is about a boy who iwas framed for murdering his best frien,and is sent to furnace . Furnace is the most cruel place you will ever hear of . The story of alex and his friends and how they survive it is a rollercoaster .It is the second book in the series, and what I really like is how the second book picks up exactly where the first left off. Usually in other series i have read there is a big gap between where one book ends and another starts off. I really like this you will never be left hanging at the end of a book in this series.

This book throws your spirits up high and then completely destroys them throughout the whole book. If you read this you will get frustrated and for short bits of time you will be happy. the book is very descriptive and it never leaves holes in the story. The book is some what predictable but that doesn't mean it is a bad book this is one of the best books i have ever read.

Anyone who is into thrillers should read this book, you will be on the edge of your seat the whole time you read it. THe book is never boring there are many times where you are blown away by what the characters are able to do. Everyone should read this book
  br14mabu | Jun 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
For everyone who is dying for the second book to come out....the titled is said to be released on December 21, 2010! Yay!
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Beneath heaven is hell. Beneath hell is Furnace.
TO DAD, the architect of, and the inspiration for, so much of what is good in my life. I told you this was a proper job!
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I have a confession.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Imprisoned for a murder he did not commit, fourteen-year-old Alex Sawyer thinks that he has escaped the hellish Furnace Penitentiary, but instead he winds up in solitary confinement, where new horrors await him.

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