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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Freedom? You wish!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place that has gone to the dark side this week…literarily speaking, of course.

Quick reminder….help Author Dom Testa celebrate the intellectual power of our world’s youth and enter to win with the SMART IS COOL giveaway!  Get your entries in by midnight 05/20/12 and you’ll have a chance at the big prize of THREE YA titles plus one brain teaser collection certain to make you think….just click on the link in the right hand side bar for more details.  Now, continuing the week long celebration as we count down to my 3rd blogoversary, we take a look at the second installment of the creep-tastic series we began only yesterday….Escape from Furnace. 

Being that we are covering a series here, there may be a few minor spoilers along the way but I’ll keep them to a minimum and trust me when I say that you’ll still want to read this lot for yourself regardless. 

Ready to meet back up with the boys and see what’s in store for them next?  Here goes. Today’s book of choice and second installment in the series is…

Alexander Gordon Smith

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.

When we last left the boys, they had just left behind a dear friend with the ominous promise of “I’ll be back”.  Leaping to their deaths…I mean valid escape option….through a hole blown in the fortress meant to hold them for all time, they experience their first taste of freedom.  Better enjoy it while you can boys because it will be short lived.  Experiencing a bit of a high from having cracked Furnace under the watchful eye of the Warden (~shudders~), all of that success is short lived as they are dragged right back into the nightmare they thought they shook free from.

If you thought general population was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet.  The treacherous underside of Furnace is no place for man nor beast and yet Alex, Zee, Simon….and Gary (watch out for THIS one…*-*)…are content in calling it home for the time being as they try to make their escape.  Unfortunately, that initial attempt is short lived granting them some new digs….SOLITARY.  Now if you’ve seen any of those prison shows or movies, you know it’s also known as “the hole” by most….without it actually BEING a hole, rather a small cell secluded from everyone and everything else.  In Furnace, it IS a hole with a steel hatch and a grated pipe to do your business in….yeah, the Hilton it’s not and that’s just the way the Warden intended. 

One bowl of slop a day, if you’re lucky (and that’s questionable since slop is ANYTHING but appetizing….just hope you don’t read how it’s made while eating….*-*) and 23+ hours of utter to-yourself-ness in a blackness so complete that you welcome your mind playing tricks on you.  Alex plays host to numerous guests while biding his time there; some that can come and go as they please and some actually made of deformed flesh and bone but welcome just the same…in fact even more so to a degree as a plot forms to escape from this nightmare once again, but this time for good.  It’s a far fetched plan at best with dire consequences should they fail but ANYTHING has to be better than the heck they are enduring, right?  Oh, you don’t know how right that statement is because once the Warden begins work on them, they’ll be no turning back…much as they discover by book’s end…

This time we conclude not on a high note but a heart-wrenching low note of despair as we say goodbye to someone whose time has come much MUCH too soon.  Who?  I won’t spoil that one for you but suffice it to say that although I wish our time with this character was longer, it’s not the last that we’ll see of them….not even close…and their purpose is even greater (and brighter) than any ill conceived use of them could have possibly been.  It’s amazing really how the connections they made will transverse death itself to bring this motley crew, especially Alex, back from the brink time and again.  You’ll wonder how while marveling at the why.  Moving back into the darker side of things…

Book two is where we really start to get a taste of the evil lurking within Furnace….including the man himself.  The Warden?  Oh no.  He’s evil and scary and all things considered, I’d rather stare into the sun for an hour than meet him….but there is someone (or should I say, something?) far FAR worse than he; Furnace….the “man” behind the “institution”.  (Lotsa quotation marks there….but those terms are definitely used loosely.) Whereas the Warden strikes fear into the hearts of anyone within his gaze, Furnace can curdle blood with the mere mention of his name.  The sound of his voice, which the fellas are unfortunate enough to encounter, could stop your heart cold and make you wish you were never born.  It’s THAT awful….that laced with malice.  Want to meet him?  (Just kidding!  ^_^)  Too soon?  Okay, I understand…but at least meet another branch of his henchmen….the wheezers.

Remember the picture on the cover of book one?  THAT is a wheezer.  A “person” (..we’re not really sure on what it is at this point although we find out much later in the series..) with an old-style gas mask stitched (yes, STITCHED) to its face that shudders and twitches, moving every which way unnatural-like and wants nothing more than to….see your insides.  *-*  Scared?  You should be because if you fall under their “watchful” gaze, you’re in for a science experiment of the worse kind….where YOU are the specimen.  As with everything that occurs within Furnace, there’s a reason behind what they are doing and a goal they are trying to accomplish for their maker….but again, a story for another time.

All in all, a most satisfying addition to the series and one that I happily (funny typing THAT word in this type of review) devoured, as if the hounds of Furnace were after my very soul.  Its fast pass despite the bouts of solitary confinement was a surprise and kept things flowing quickly like the river they thought would lead to freedom.  This book, does not lead to freedom. This book leads the reader to close the final page, wipe the tear from their eye and dash to the nearest bookstore to obtain a copy of book three.  That’s what this book does.  Get sucked in once again as Alex’s story continues, because once you are committed to Furnace… can never escape.  Recommended read for older teens and beyond; the content is dark, the language kept “light”, but the story will keep you coming back for more.

ARC won once upon a time from Bri at BriMeetsBooks.  (THANKS!)  Be sure to stop by and see what’s on the roster today.  Book two is available now so be on the look out for it on a bookstore shelf near you.  The publisher behind the series, MacMillan Kids…book two landed with their imprint, Farrar Straus and Giroux / Square Fish.  For more information about this series as well as their complete catalog, feel free to visit them online, like them on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter.  To discover more about Furnace from the inside out without getting a one way ticket, don’t miss the official website!  Last but certainly not least, to discover more about the man behind the series, stop by author Alexander Gordon Smith’s official website, check out his blog, or follow along on Twitter.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next installment and stay tuned because there’s a giveaway just on the horizon of a few of my favorite things.  Why?  Because I’m generous like that….and it’s my blogoversary; a time for me to give back to all of you…and I thoroughly intend on doing just that.

Until next time…happy reading!

1 comment:

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Great post, very informative.

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