Alex Sawyer has just received his third strike, attempting to escape from the underground penitentiary known as Furnace (Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2, 2010), and is about to learn the secret origins of the prison staff.
After being surgically implanted with muscles and pumped full of the mysterious substance known as “nectar,” Alex struggles to retain his humanity as his body is challenged with endurance tests and his mind is twisted by the warden’s whispering. He resists but ultimately succumbs to his new interior darkness and accidentally kills an old friend before being rescued by Simon and Zee for a final daring escape from the horrific prison. With this third installment in the Escape from Furnace series, Smith strikes the ideal balance between action and introspection. Readers will feel flashes of genuine sympathy for antihero Alex, especially as he struggles against becoming the monster he has always feared lurks inside. With survival challenges, a battle and a prison uprising, the novel keeps the adrenaline level high and the pages turning. A World War II plot twist may strike readers as coming from left field, but the series has always been more about action and suspense than anything else.
One thing’s for sure: There’s still plenty of action still to come out of Furnace. (Thriller. 12 & up)