Review: Solitary

Review: SolitarySolitary by Alexander Gordon Smith
Series: Escape from Furnace #2
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) on December 21, 2010
Genres: Dystopian, Horror, Thriller
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Alex Sawyer and his mates should have known there was no way out of Furnace Penitentiary. Their escape attempt only lands them deeper in the guts of this prison for young offenders, and then into solitary confinement. And that's where a whole new struggle begins—a struggle not to let the hellish conditions overwhelm them. Because before another escape attempt is even possible, they must first survive the nightmare that now haunts their endless nights.

Book one left off with the boys on the verge of escape. It should come as no surprise to anyone who knew the title of this book when reading that they did, in fact, not make it. They walk around, choose to take a path down instead of up, and swiftly are caught again. And put in Solitary. If you didn’t see that coming, well, think harder next time.

Anyway, in Lockdown, the reader is informed that the longest anyone has ever managed to spend in Solitary was four days and that that person went crazy. The Warden gives these Zee and Alex a month. Best of luck, boys. If you can try to stay sane, you’ll need it to try to escape from here.

Like the first book in this series, Solitary is an action-packed, tension-filled thrill ride. You might not expect that a book about a boy trapped in Solitary would be so exciting. Surprisingly, though, it totally was.

On the one hand, it’s kind of ridiculous and silly that the boys still think they can escape from this incredibly creepy and heavily guarded prison. But still, it works, because considering the possibility of escape is the only way the inmates are able to keep their courage, sanity and regular personality. Whether or not the plans actually work, like the first one spectacularly did not, they do help the boys in a very real way, disregarding the consequences of failure.

Having a look at the guts of the prison was really interesting. This gets us (Alex, Zee, the reader) a closer look at what’s going on in there. Still, I need some questions answered. So many of them. Somehow I suspect that won’t happen until the final book in the series.

The books have been very consistent thus far. If you liked book one, you’ll probably like this one just as much. Although I don’t love these, they are interesting and fast-paced. I probably won’t reread them but getting through the series isn’t a struggle at all.

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