I definitely loved the fact that escaping didn't make anything better. Obviously, I thought law enforcement would be against the escaping convicts, but the broadening of the scope of what was going on made it pretty epic. I look forward to finding out just exactly what Furnace has been doing in the next book; Alex's view and knowledge of what's happening is limited, and we can only know what he does.
Smith's bread and butter is monsters and mayhem. He does that well, and comes up with such strange and creepy creatures that I do not envy him his dreams. Anyway, I want to give him props for also drawing attention to the fact that regular people can be just as bad, possibly worse (?) than the monsters. Certainly I tended to find those scenes most discomfiting, probably because they seemed much more realistic and pertinent to real life than the rest of this series.
Although I'm somewhat concerned about how long Smith is going to drag this series out, I am willing to continue reading along when the next installment, Execution, comes out later this year. For those who have enjoyed the series thus far, it only gets more crazy and exciting in Fugitives.
In Fugitives, Smith leaves the relative literary safety of Furnace, and has to really step up his world-building. In this book, there are new horrors, worse than any found in Furnace. For example, a kind of zombie/reverse vampire. If that doesn't make sense to you, read the book.