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Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2 Hardcover – December 21, 2010

116 customer reviews
Book 2 of 5 in the Escape from Furnace Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10–Alex Sawyer, 14, is in prison for a murder he didn't commit. He tried to escape the horrors of the underground prison known as Furnace in Lockdown (Farrar, 2009), and now he must battle the nightmare that is solitary confinement. The cells open from the top through a sort of manhole cover, and they are more like coffins standing on end than cells. Alex must fight the monsters and mutants that are his captors and tormentors, including the dreaded wheezers that have gas masks sewn to what should be their faces and the vicious rat and doglike creatures that spoiled their escape attempt. Alex's friend Donavan was thought to be dead, but as it turns out is part of the horrors going on in the infirmary. There are several disturbing episodes when Alex is alone with his thoughts in his cell, and his fatalism or depression leads him to contemplate suicide. The rest of this story is fast paced and packed with nail-biting scenarios, and the gross-out factor is high in many sections. Alex is coaxed into a leadership role by some of the creatures and his friend Zee, who occupies an adjoining cell, and through their attempt at another escape, discovers what is really happening to inmates in the infirmary. This is a dark story with a dark ending, but the gritty action and compelling characters will have reluctant readers enthralled.–Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In a sequel to Lockdown (2009) that is just as breathlessly paced and soaked with blood, mucus, and less savory substances, teen jailbird Alex’s escape from the futuristic underground prison and experimental lab called Furnace leads first to recapture and then to a second flight that involves frantic chases through dark caverns and tunnels, face-to-face encounters with flesh chewing human-rat hybrids, and visits to a gruesome “Infirmary,” in which prisoners are modified into hideous monsters. Readers who relish lurid imagery and melodramatic prose will continue to be riveted and left eager for the next disgust-o-rama episode. Grades 6-9. --John Peters

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 960L (What's this?)
  • Series: Escape from Furnace (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (December 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374324921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374324926
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J.Prather TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Solitary is a good follow-up to Lockdown and an enjoyable read that will appeal to any fan of horror or dystopian fiction. I read Lockdown in one sitting and pretty much held my breath through the last fifty pages. Solitary is still full of action, but somehow it never seemed to capture the level of intensity present in Lockdown. It's a quick read that held my interest throughout, and I was somewhat surprised at the direction the story seems to be taking. Alex's confession that starts the book struck the perfect note and set the tone for the rest of the story. I also thought the author did a fantastic job describing Alex's despair and depression while in Solitary. These scenes added much more dimension to his character. It strikes me that amidst all this action and gore there exists quite an impressive coming of age story developing as Alex comes to terms with who he is and what he actually wants. I didn't appreciate that in the first novel, so if we lose a bit of intensity and suspense, I think we gain what is working out to be a series of some unexpected depth.

This continues a story that holds great appeal for teen reluctant readers. Be warned: the images are powerful and gruesome. This one ends in yet another cliff hanger and I simply can't wait to read the next one. Recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Randa on August 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The cover:

Poor Alex :s.

I love this cover. It shows exactly how shocked, sad, depressed and lonely Alex felt in solitary.

The storyline:

Usually when the first book in the series is really good, you fin the sequels to be a bit disappointing, at least that's what I experienced. Not in this series.

I loved this book more than Lockdown, I didn't think it could get any better but it did! Mr. Gordon blew me away with this book. I was amazed and in love with every aspect of this book.

So, let's go for a short Summary:

So Lockdown ended with Alex, Zee, Gary and Toby jumping into the river and making a run for it.

Solitary starts from where Lockdown exactly left off. I'm not going to spoil this for you. But here's what happened in short phrases.

Alex continues to tell us what happened, in detail, after they made the jump. After he barely survives the river, he gets taken to solitary (as you might have guessed from the title) for a month as the Warden orders. In that period of time, Alex, sees and experiences for the first time the real horrors of Furnace. He thought that general population was hell, he had no idea that the real hell is under the cells.

While he's in solitary, he gets to experience the madness first hand. He finds new friends, looses ones too and gets to meet the worst creatures he had seen yet. Alex goes through the worst of it all and faces a deadly end.

What I loved:

- The writing as in the first one, was amazing. It was well paced and everything was in enough detail and yet it had some aspect of mystery. So although there was enough decryption, there were moments when you could sense something was kept hidden.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Miss Reader on February 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Solitary was an amazing sequal to Lockdown! It was non-stop action and I could feel the fear and dispare that Alex felt.
There was so much emotion! I loved how Alex and Zee cryed...which may sound weird but it was sooo realistic.
The humor was perfectly placed!
I didnt know if Alexander Gordon Smith could top Lockdown and I wasnt sure where Solitary would go but I loved it!

Cant wait for the third book!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Fourteen-year-old Alex Sawyer learns there is no escape from Furnace, a maximum security prison for juvenile males located a mile beneath the earth's surface. Only Alex, his friend Zee Hatcher, and his Skull enemy Gary Owens survive the explosion and the raging river into which they jumped. Soon they are recaptured by the giant blacksuits, the gas-mask-wearing wheezers and the skinless dogs. The injured Gary is sent to the infirmary for mutation while Alex and Zee are sent to individual, pit-like cells in solitary where they will either die or become insane. Their only chance of escape lies in the friendship of a mysterious mutant, Simon. Alex and Zee must endure the horrors of the vicious mutant "rats" and the torturous labs that are built inside the labyrinthine caverns beneath Furnace.

Alexander Gordon Smith's "Solitary" is a dark, claustrophobic nightmare; it contains brutal, tortuous images that are best compared to those found in war camps and inquisitions. My worst nightmares didn't prepare me for this novel. The gruesome infirmary scenes churned my stomach. Dark secrets concerning the blacksuits and wheezers are finally revealed. We learn the horrible fate of Carl Donovan whom the wheezers dragged from his cell one night while Alex begged them to stop. So gripped was I by shock after shock that I read this young adult novel in one day. "Solitary" is as suspenseful and terrifying as "Lockdown." The ending promises fans that the real horror has just begun.

"Solitary" is told in the first person by the novel's protagonist, Alex Sawyer. It reads like a confession coming from a man on death row. Indeed, when imprisoned in Furnace, a boy never knows when he may be claimed by death, which has innumerable forms.
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