Brandi's Reviews > Lockdown

Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
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Aug 06, 15

bookshelves: favorites, male-lead
Read from January 22 to 23, 2012

I think I'm going to bump this to 4.5 stars because I can't stop thinking about it! In fact, when I went to sleep I was picturing the wheezers and literally had to remind myself that it was just a story... it's not real, Brandi... it's ok... you're a big girl.... fine, just cuddle up to the mister, he's asleep so he won't know how big of a baby you're being...

That was me at 1 in the morning. True story, haha.

I don't typically read books that have a horror element to them because of the fact that I'm a huge wussy-pants. I'll tell you what though, there was no stopping this once I started. The prose is gorgeous, and there was no point in the story that I had any trouble seeing what I was told. I even read some passages to my husband simply because they were so wonderfully written. Here are just two randomly chosen examples I want to share:

It was just like on the news: a towering sculpture of dark stone, bent and scarred like it had been burned into existence. The Black Fort, the way in. The windowless building stretched upward, its body merging with a crooked spire that resembled a finger beckoning us forward. Smoke rose from a chimney hidden behind the building, a cloud of poisoned breath waiting to engulf us. All in all it looked more like something from Mordor than a modern prison.

It was here, holding the bars of my cell like they were my only friends, that I first heard the symphony of Furnace. It started with the sobs, which rose up out of the darkness all around me like the gentle strings in an orchestra. They began as hushed moans choked back by the countless musicians that crafted them, merging together from every level to create a fountain of sound that ran down to the deserted yard below.


See what I mean?! I was as helpless to stop reading as Alex was to escape his fate. Speaking of Alex, I like him even though he keeps insisting that he isn't a good person. He has made mistakes, and is certainly flawed, but he is just like most every other boy at that age. A bit selfish, a bit loyal, and a lot confused about life. The other characters are just as engrossing, and we barely find out anything about their lives from Before. I never felt frustrated by the lack of depth though. I'm not even sure if depth is the right word....they were pretty fleshed out I think for the purpose of the story. I didn't need to know what they had been like prior to being in Furnace, and I didn't really care about what crimes had gotten them there to begin with. Maybe other people would be annoyed by that, but I never was. The one thing that did chafe a little bit was the fact that Furnace is supposed to be a prison for youths, and that would be both sexes, but yet the whole thing seems to be solely for boys. Unless I misread somewhere, that is the only thing that kind of got on my nerves a bit.

Furnace. What a terrifying place that is!!! Once again I have to point how amazing Smith was at showing us what kind of hell these kids were in. "And obedience is the difference between life, death, and the other varieties of existence on offer here at Furnace."..."Obey my rules and you'll do just fine. Disobey them and you'll soon learn that here your nightmares exist on the same plane as you, they stalk the same corridors and haunt your cells. It's only me that stands between you and insanity."

"Beneath heaven is hell, boys, and beneath hell is Furnace. I hope you enjoy your stay."

"Some go quietly, some don't. Adam didn't, he went screaming and clawing at the wall and fighting for his life" He ran his finger along one of the grooves, then he turned his attention back to me. "In the dead of the night they come for you Alex," he said. "Sooner or later they come for everyone."


Once I was finished reading this one, I immediately purchased the second one. Partly because Smith was kind enough to leave off at a massive cliffhanger (jerk), and partly because I was so enthralled with his world that I wasn't ready to let go yet. I read book two in one sitting.

Fast paced and action packed is the name of the game with this series, and with every little twist and turn, and stomach dropping moment you are at the mercy of Furnace and those who are trying to survive within. I highly recommend this story to anyone who likes a lot of action and isn't adverse to a little horror.

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Reading Progress

2.0% "Ooooo, this is REALLY good so far!!"
46.0% "Ooooo...this is such a creepy book! I'm lovin' it though!!"

Comments (showing 1-27 of 27) (27 new)

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Brandi Sam wrote: "Can't wait to hear your thoughts on this, Brandi. This book is on my TBR! :)"

I am about to work on it too, so stay tuned! ;)

Cassi aka Snow White Haggard Sounds interesting!

message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim Wow! Great review, Brandi!

I will have to check this sample out tonight. A great reason not to work on reviews. :)

Brandi Haha, thanks Jim! Anytime I can help a person procrastinate I'm a happy girl. ;)

I loved the first 2 in this series, but the third was a little meh, and I didn't actually read past it. If you have a Kindle (and can tell me how since I've never done it) I'll lend you my copy if you want.

message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim Thanks, Brandi! If I can make you happy by procrastinating, that is a big win all around!

I hear your guidance about the third book, and thanks for that.

I do have a Kindle and I appreciate your offer to lend this book! I have looked into that program a bit, and found that it is very limited at the moment - the book has to be listed as 'lendable' or some such term. It is all pretty confusing, because there is the Prime Members program that also does lending (I don't belong to that).

At any rate, I appreciate the offer and may look into it for this book.:) For future reference, I will certainly be happy to lend you any eligible book from my Kindle library, so we can keep that in mind going forward. (I think it just involves an emailed link, but I can figure that out)

Thanks again!

Brandi You're welcome! Well I'm glad you were kind enough to research that because it tends to go over my head, lol. I'm not a prime member either.

Thank you for the offer! I can't wait to hear what of this when/if you read it.

message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim You bet! :D

You definitely got my interest on this one. A sample check is clearly in order.

Ryan Conley I would've rated this book a 5 star, because it was exciting to read the whole time. It had sad and amazing parts, it never made me bored.

Brandi We all have different reason for our ratings. :) I glad you loved it as much as I did!

Courtney I have 230 pages to go. I don't want it to end. This is amazingly well written and so interesting! The stuff they have to eat sounds disgusting and I would rather starve to death, and I doubt anyone would stop you if you tried. And there's a second one!? Sweet!! TO THE LIBRARY!!

Brandi I so agree Courtney! This book is still one that I think about once in a while. Glad you loved it as much as I did! :)

Kelsey Lopez Placed a hold on this book

message 13: by Michelle (new)

Michelle is it very violent?

Brandi Hhmmm, well yes and no. It depends on what kind of violence level would bother you. There are some riot scenes, and such, if that's what you mean?

message 15: by Michelle (new)

Michelle ummm graphic violence bothers or violence against animals

Brandi Ok, there's no animal violence in this, and as far as graphic, I'd have to say it's a medium-high (not all the way into me saying yes, it's graphic (imo at least), but not so low I'd say it's not there).

If you're intrigued, see if you can maybe get a library copy first, and then eek out your feelings from the first couple of chapters (though admittedly the violence is a bit later once he's in the prison, but in fairness it's not the driving force in the story).

Courtney There is one cruel action we learn toward a dog but it's not like you would feel bad. This is a hell (literally) dog

message 18: by Michelle (new)

Michelle hmmm I'll think about it. thanks so much

Brandi You're welcome!

Ibrahim Abdirisak This book was truly gross but I loved it! It was also a very scary book which had me shaking during the blood watches. All of these things made me want to read the book even more. I felt as if i was there with Alex and Donovan during the blood watches and was going trough the same thing as they were. Alexander G. Smith has created a great story which had me up all night reading.

Courtney Haha. That's how I was. I was like "OMG BRANDI I NEED THE NEXT BOOK NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Brandi Yep, I was cussing him up one side and down the other when I got done, lol.

ShAdOwBrEaK *Just*Try*And*Know*Who*I*Am* Great rev! Fuuuu, I regret not buying the second book the same day I bought the first. Cliffhanger was too cruel.

Just wanted to comment on the prison being both sexes thing though. Most prisons, juvi or adult, frown upon coed inmates because of how dangerous it could get. There's enough rape going on in an all-male facility without girls being thrown in the mix. Just wanted to point that out because it gets a little disturbing when people would comment about the lack of females (some even stating they want the other gender involve) because I've read articles about prison life and I swear, not pretty.

Brandi I understand that, but then where was the section that houses the female inmates in Furnace? Most prisons I've seen (primarily on tv, lol) have separate housing units, but there was no mention of this in the book.

I think it would have made more sense for the author to just lay it out as an all boys story, instead of about youths. Or, he could have incorporated females in there easily as well if he wanted.

ShAdOwBrEaK *Just*Try*And*Know*Who*I*Am* Well, he wouldn't really have a reason to mention female characters since the central plot focuses on Alex's escape :P So unless he'd wanted to throw in romance, throwing in females would be a kind of insensible. And, as fa as I've seen, it's more often difficult to be in contact with females in prisons than not because they're usually in an entirely different section (if not building). I'm not sure about how lenient it is in correctional facilities that caters a form of rehab though, but serious crimes like murder are definitely more strict on their rules.

I was actually expecting it to be kind of an all boys story because of the prison setting and because Smith's more of a YA horror writer than anything else and so far, most of horror stories I've read from male authors are male-centered.

However, now that you mention it I think it would've be cool if he could've incorporated females in the story. They wouldn't have had to be inside the prison for it to work. Ah well, awesome enough as it.

Amber At first I wasn't digging this books because Alex was so young, so after 20 or so pages I put it down. A couple days later I gave it another go. Holy crap! I read it in two or three days! I finished it last night and I kept dreaming about this freaking book! It's not like it was terrifying or anything but the things my imagination kept cooking up for me were! I really enjoy this book! Except for that cliffhanger... So on to the next one!

Brandi Glad you gave it another chance, Amber!

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