The beginning was rough. I mean, he's undergoing the change and mostly just having nightmares. Then he wakes up and the Warden says things. He fights with himself to hold onto Alex Sawyer. He has Achilles-level rage. He feels guilt. There are some scenes that are reminiscent of the reprogramming in A Clockwork Orange, which I really hope was an intended reference.
So, in this installment, you actually do get to learn a bit more about the origins of Furnace. Actually, there were a couple of subtle hints before this point, which I noticed, but ignored, hoping that wasn't where Smith was going with this. Well, it is. Sigh. Maybe it will be cool, but I worry that it will just make me angry with stereotypes. I guess that remains to be seen.
The next book, The Fugitives, is poised to be hugely exciting. Even after having been less enthused with this one, I'm excited to find out what will happen next.