Solitary - Alexander Gordon Smith I have to be honest, I've been on a bit of a binge. I inhaled “Lockdown” and “Solitary” in one day.

It has left me on a downer, though. Smith writes such brilliantly gritty stuff, that I know that the chances of seeing Furnace in any other format except written are slim to none at best. I mean there is so much high quality entertainment in books that slowly trough past few years TV kind of lost it's meaning. Truth be told, it never offered much anyway, but I lost the taste for the watered down Hollywood/Disney version of puppetry they throw at us.

Every single book, every single novel I liked that Hollywood got it's greasy mitts on they've ruined. Why? Because suits that run diagnostics that include moral code, target viewers and god knows whatnot. Tits, ass, heroes and villains that are really good guys deep down are the only things that sell.

Yeah well, Smith writes about things that go bump in the night. He writes about kids doing crimes, parents that turned their backs on them. No absolution from sin, just a new day ahead. Truth be told, authors like this bring more to entertainment than thousands of reality shows and HEA's out there. Because life isn't about do-overs, people aren't good or evil, they are both all the time; the only difference is witch button you push, and are you at the right place at the wrong time. The first few chapters of “Lockdown” say it all. How easy a few wrong choices can impact a person's life, how quickly are we to simply judge. Do something evil, and automatically all your life is evil, everything you ever did was wrong, and your future holds nothing but wrongness ahead.

Ah, the super-inflated human morality and the rancid stench that it spreads over the society gets me every time. Although Alex made some crappy choices, he is not a bad guy. He was a kid, he was stupid and he paid his dues. Even with the monstrosities running around, even with such imaginable cruelty and child abuse depicted in his stories,Smith manages to create a better morally charged story than most of the series shown on TV. Go figure that.

It has acceptance of self, rather than seeking approval of self in the eyes of others. It has a focus on true bonds of friendship, not just fair-weather smiles and popularity. It focuses on rebuilding of broken things rather than simply finding a replacement. It has human contact in all it's imperfect glory, where people are people who make mistakes and grow; they are not just facades on imaginary platforms that cater to hordes of imaginary pilgrims.

At the very first glance, you would think that stuff like this isn't really what people expect to find in a dystopian horror story, but think about it – life sets us up in prisons of our own making, provides our own unique hells to test us and see could we overcome it, escape, survive. In the darkest hour you really know what you're made of, and who your true friends are. No matter where you live, if you are rich or poor, color of your skin, none of it matters. It's something that is universally true and everyone can relate to.

That's why, honestly, I am disappointed when I realize that books like this have a hard time landing an audience, even harder getting a fully supported platform.

Not all of my feelings are lovey dovey about this novel, either. It was action packed from beginning to the end, a style that Smith seems to have and I adore. I hate it when you pick up a book and find about a hundred pages of nothing before some real action starts. It's like watching a soap opera – a character sets the kettle to boil – a month later you have a cup of coffee. The world building offers more clues about Furnace, but you still don't know it all. Kids live, kids die, kids disappear...some of them even come back.