Literature / Escape from Furnace
The original cover for the third book. It was rejected for being too scary.

Beneath heaven is hell. Beneath hell is Furnace.
The Warden (series tagline)

Escape from Furnace is a series of five books written by Alexander Gordon Smith detailing the adventures of Alex Sawyer in escaping Furnace - an underground penitentiary for teenage criminals.

The books are:
  • Lockdown
  • Solitary
  • Death Sentence
  • Fugitives
  • Execution

This novel features the following tropes:

  • Adults Are Useless - Kids are being dragged down to be tortured for life at an underground penitentiary and nobody even cares. Alex vaguely mentions about there being protests, but mostly, adults are just glad to get rid of the problematic kids. Teens Are Monsters is a common belief in that world, though, which explains the mentality.
  • The Alcatraz - Furnace. Together with Hellhole Prison, it defines the plot.
  • Anyone Can Die - And how. Just don't get too attached.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Zee sure was into Alex after he became a blacksuit.
  • Big Bad: Alfred Furnace.
  • Bigger Bad: The Stranger.
  • The Big Guy: Donovan, Gary, Alex after becoming a blacksuit.
  • The Berserker: The Berserkers, Gary and Alex.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Alex, after becoming a blacksuit, really comes to like fighting.
  • Blood Knight: Alex tries to not become this but when his Berserk Button is pushed, watch out.
  • Body Horror - The series runs on it, basically.
  • The Bully - Alex himself used to be one.
  • Cain and Abel: Supposedly Alfred to his brother Jószef, but really it was all a set up by the stranger.
  • Contemplate Our Navels - Particularly in Solitary, for obvious reasons, and in the beginning of Death Sentence.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Stranger.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Again, the Stranger.
  • Fate Worse Than Death - Being taken by the Blood Watch.
  • Faux Affably Evil - The warden. Sometimes, Alex notices that he's being genuinely affable, but it doesn't last very long, and most of his smiles are all acts.
  • Gas Mask Mooks - The Wheezers.
  • The Heavy:
    • Warden Cross (up until Fugitives).
    • Colonel Alice Panettiere in Execution.
  • He Who Fights Monsters
  • Heel–Face Turn: Alex: during the first book after he gets thrown in Furnace, again in the third book after he becomes a blacksuit, and again in the same book when he recovers from the warden's brainwashing.
  • Humanoid Abomination - Alex describes many of the horrors of gen pop as being that. What makes the rats, blacksuits, wheezers, berserkers and even the warden so scary for him are the fact that they look like people who came out very wrong.
  • I Can Rule Alone
  • I Want Them Alive - The warden to Alex, but mostly because death is an easy way out.
  • Kick the Morality Pet - Ozzie's death by Alex' hands.
  • Master Race - The Blacksuits.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane - While Escape from Furnace explains its horrors through science, The Night Children uses creepy lore to explain the same things.
  • Mercy Kill - Donovan, by Alex. Zee tries to do the samething to Alex, and asks Alex to do it for him as well.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name - Furnace and Warden Cross were actually Nazis, which explains their desire to create a Master Race and rule the world.
  • No Swastikas - Partially subverted. While Furnace's symbol is rather a blatant stand-in (especially on its flag: red backdrop, white circle, black symbol), swastikas are directly mentioned in a dream Alex has while becoming a blacksuit in Death Sentence.
  • Not So Above It All: Zee reveals he's this in Fugitives when it's revealed he used to carjack.