Review: Death Sentence

Review: Death SentenceDeath Sentence by Alexander Gordon Smith
Series: Escape from Furnace #3
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) on August 2, 2011
Genres: Dystopian, Horror, Thriller
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Alex's second attempt to break out of Furnace Penetentiary has failed. This time his punishment will be much worse than before. Because in the hidden, bloodstained laboratories beneath the prison, he will be made into a monster. As the warden pumps something evil into his veins--a sinisterly dark nectar--Alex becomes what he most fears . . . a superhuman minion of Furnace. How can he escape when the darkness is inside him? How can he lead the way to freedom if he is lost to himself?

At the dramatic conclusion to Solitary, Alex, Zee and Simon had almost escaped (again). This time they had the good idea of climbing out the chimney of the incinerator. Unfortunately, it got turned on and they were all burning to death.

Or not. You may already have guessed that they probably didn’t die, since there was another book in the series. Now Alex has to face the final horror of furnace: becoming an experiment, a monster, or dying in the process.

Although Death Sentence has all of the action and grossness of the prior installments, I definitely was not as engrossed (see what I did there?) as I was before. I found myself getting a bit bored in some parts.

The beginning was rough. I mean, he’s undergoing the change and mostly just having nightmares. Then he wakes up and the Warden says things. He fights with himself to hold onto Alex Sawyer. He has Achilles-level rage. He feels guilt. There are some scenes that are reminiscent of the reprogramming in A Clockwork Orange, which I really hope was an intended reference.

So, in this installment, you actually do get to learn a bit more about the origins of Furnace. Actually, there were a couple of subtle hints before this point, which I noticed, but ignored, hoping that wasn’t where Smith was going with this. Well, it is. Sigh. Maybe it will be cool, but I worry that it will just make me angry with stereotypes. I guess that remains to be seen.

The next book, The Fugitives, is poised to be hugely exciting. Even after having been less enthused with this one, I’m excited to find out what will happen next.

Rating: 2.5/5

“It finally happened – happened
It finally happened – uh huh
It finally happened – I’m slightly mad – oh dear!”

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