Wool Info

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For suspense-filled, post-apocalyptic thrillers, Wool is
more than a self-published ebook phenomenon―it’s the new
standard in classic science fiction.

In a ruined and toxic
future, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of
stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations
they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has
unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly
breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

His
fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely
candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no
training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is
about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn
just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what
its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared
to whisper. Uprising.

A New York Times and USA
TODAY
bestseller, as well as Kindle Book Review’s 2012 Indie
Book of the Year, Wool is truly a blockbuster.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.48

162328 Ratings

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Reviews for Wool:

4

May 11, 2012

There are two stupid things about this book, neither have to do with the writing. The writing is good, the story is original, I highly recommend this book.

Let's address the stupid things.
The name is stupid. It is like a garage band was after a clever name. There are no sheep in this book, there is no wool in this book. There is one tiny insignificant piece where a character is knitting but she isn't even using wool, she knits with cotton. Given the subtitles are all knitting related (unravel, There are two stupid things about this book, neither have to do with the writing. The writing is good, the story is original, I highly recommend this book.

Let's address the stupid things.
The name is stupid. It is like a garage band was after a clever name. There are no sheep in this book, there is no wool in this book. There is one tiny insignificant piece where a character is knitting but she isn't even using wool, she knits with cotton. Given the subtitles are all knitting related (unravel, cast off etc) I think the book should have been called "knitting" and then the book would have never sold a single copy.

I shall rename the book for the author SILO. Hereafter I shall refer to the book as such... Because it is a much better name that will actually appeal to the target market.

The second stupid thing about SILO (okay WOOL but my name is better) is that it is serialised into individual books. The author asks at the end of this omnibus if the reader would rate and review each book separately. As far as books/stories/novellas go only WOOL1 and WOOL 3 really stand alone. The others are just parts in a novel. They are also all the size of novellas not novels, making this omnibus edition about the size of a book. Here is my advice to the author. Just sell the omnibus edition, ebook users can read a sample anyway, the $6 price tag is very reasonable for the whole book. In fact because I didn't realise it was a series of novellas I bought the first part plus the omnibus which was silly of me. Perhaps good for the authors pocket but it doesn't endear me toward him.

None of that has anything to do with the novel. The novel was original and highly interesting. Finally a novel that I don't think I could flippantly surmise in a paragraph or two.

Usually I do like to give a summary of the novel but I won't in this review as I think there are lots of refreshing little things about the novel that are enjoyable to discover while reading, plus a few good places where you can say "oh wow I didn't see that coming".

WOOL is a good little dystopian novel. The type that leaves you thinking about it for days. The type that creeps back into your mind months after you have read it. It has a fairly original concept that kept me thinking. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to all lovers of dystopian fiction.

Despite complaining about the way it has been serialised I am hoping the author has lots more little stories about this world coming.

ETA: Before you comment. This review has been around for almost two years, and it has spawned a wonderful bunch of friendly people who laugh and joke in the comment section - many (most?) of whom completely disagree with me. Please read the comments (even the first page or two). You don't want to be that douche who thinks he is the first person in 500 comments to think to inform me that wool was used for cleaning, or that is was a metaphor. I disagree with the importance of either as a reason for naming the book WOOL, and if you read even a few of my comments you will find lots of reasoning. Enjoy the community, but don't be the dude that makes us snogger (yes, so crazy is this littler community that we even coined our own word!!). ...more
5

Mar 23, 2013

Forget Wool. This should have been called Forge.

Writing that's a power-punch to the gut. Direct, slow build of heat, singeing as it suddenly roars into flame. A world that feels solid, heavy, hard-edged, soldered with characters that are heated and molded into something new. This isn't knitting a scarf so much as forging a steel chain.

I absolutely love the character of Juliette, determined, essentially elemental, a person that rocks my character world. I love how all her metaphors are Forget Wool. This should have been called Forge.

Writing that's a power-punch to the gut. Direct, slow build of heat, singeing as it suddenly roars into flame. A world that feels solid, heavy, hard-edged, soldered with characters that are heated and molded into something new. This isn't knitting a scarf so much as forging a steel chain.

I absolutely love the character of Juliette, determined, essentially elemental, a person that rocks my character world. I love how all her metaphors are mechanical ones, problems and solutions both. Even though I'm completely tool-impaired, her thinking was relatable, a clear schematic of sense. "But as Bernard's footsteps receded... she felt a new resolve steel her nerves. It was like encountering a rusted bolt that refused to budge. Something about that intolerable stiffness, that reluctance to move, set Juliette's teeth on edge. She had come to believe that there was no fastener she culdn't unstick, had learned to attack them with grease and with fire, with penetrating oil and with brute strength" (p. 132).

But as organized and mechanistic as Juliette is in her world, by no means is she limited in her range of emotion: "She had made the same choices as an adult, to love without sanction, and so her hypocrisy was more keenly felt" (p.137)

Howey has a gift for understated prose, and the writing was one of pleasures of the book. With clear, straightforward language he captures subtlety of emotion and action. The funeral scene just about made me weep:
"But then, the lowering of the body and the plucking of ripe fruit just above the graves was meant to hammer this home: The cycle of life is here. It is inescapable. It is to be embraced, cherished, appreciated. One departs and leaves behind the gift of sustenance, of life... We are born, we are shadows, we cast shadows of our own, and then we are gone. All anyone can hope for is to be remembered two shadows deep" (p.158)

I absolutely loved all the little connections linking the sections. I was particularly fond of the shadow imagery and the chain imagery. A moment in the uprising solidly hit the connection:
"It startled Knox, this sudden link to a mysterious past. And it wasn't that terribly long ago, was it? Less than two hundred years? He imagined, if someone lived as long as Jahns had, or McLain for that matter, that three long lives could span that distance. Three handshakes to go from that uprising to this one" (p.321)

One of my only complaints is (view spoiler)[ how easily everyone in the rebellion made the adjustment to the mental gymnastics of having been manipulated, and their innovation--the guns and bombs, in particular, seemed odd in a culture that seemed to be lacking them (two sheriffs per 30 plus floors?). And being so ready to believe in Juliette's discovery. I also had to wonder at the lack of agorophobia in going outside. But I was willing enough to believe and it soon smoothed over. (hide spoiler)]

Sophisticated in its ethics and philosophy. Although I expected something unusual given the buzz, I was still astounded at what I found. While it is not a novel I would read again and again (that's what Kate Daniels is for), it's powerful and worth a second read.

Thoughts on the Omnibus:
Wool: Stunning in its character development. Introduces the psychology of the people in the intimate space through the story of the sheriff and his dead wife. Romantic, tragic, doomed; truly a hint of Romeo and Juliet.
Wool Two, Proper Gauge: Compelling mix of character and plotting. Mayor and Deputy find renewal during the search for a sheriff. Using the climb gives a terrific tour of the physics and politics of the silo without infodump.
Wool Three, Casting Off: Juliette takes center stage, struggling in isolation in her new job. Powerful discoveries mean the pattern starts to come together.
Wool Four, The Unraveling: The overarching structure clarifies, like being able to see a map zooming out. Delicious ending line of kickassitude.
Wool Five, The Stranded: Action packed tension. Delicately balanced characterization means no villains here. And I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will never go cave/wreck diving.

Five dust-smudged and elusive stars.

Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0... ...more
3

Mar 12, 2012

This is the review for the entire Wool pentalogy (my new favorite word, btw). Wool introduces us to a postapocalyptic world where survivors of whatever disaster that made the outside uninhabitable huddle underground in a giant "silo" that houses hundreds of people. As we can predict, the disaster was man-made (*). (view spoiler)[What we may not immediately suspect is that there are several more dozen of similar silos around (hide spoiler)]
(*) "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn This is the review for the entire Wool pentalogy (my new favorite word, btw). Wool introduces us to a postapocalyptic world where survivors of whatever disaster that made the outside uninhabitable huddle underground in a giant "silo" that houses hundreds of people. As we can predict, the disaster was man-made (*). (view spoiler)[What we may not immediately suspect is that there are several more dozen of similar silos around (hide spoiler)]
(*) "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!" - courtesy of "Planet of the Apes" (I give credit when it's due!)
Left - what a silo looks like, in case you are agriculturally challenged, like me. Right - apparently people already live in the underground missile silos. No shit.

Even speaking about the outside has become taboo, and breaking this taboo results in exile to the toxic outside, where - for reasons unknown to most - the condemned take time to clean the silo "windows" before their death, and the survivors inside can enjoy the toxic views for a few more years. For a long time, the Silo has been functioning like a well-oiled machine until we witness a confrontation between a strong-willed young woman who is not afraid to dig through the secrets of this shelter/prison and an equally strong-willed official who for reasons of his own prefers a status quo. The question stands - what is preferable: safety and security or truth and potential devastation? And the answer to that one is not that easy.

This story began as a standalone novella and was subsequently expanded into 4 more volumes (with more potentially to follow, but seems that this particular story arc is complete). The first part has a bleak and haunted, almost vintage sci-fi feel to it. The sequels are more action-packed and touch upon this world's politics (which do not detract from the story). All together they make a fun and enjoyable read. The plot remains tight throughout and all the storylines are compelling. The end may be a bit rushed, but it is still satisfying.

The characters are well-developed and multidimensional. Due to originally unplanned expansion of the story, the protagonist Juliette does not take center stage until the third part, but she quickly and effortlessly becomes the natural center of the story. She is an awesome heroine - rational, practical, level-headed, strong-willed, courageous, tough, and outspoken. She is good with machinery and kicks ass. She is a good friend. In short, she is cool, and I want to be her BFF now.

The story is well-written and a page-turner. Worth giving it a shot. 4.6 stars - rounding up to 5 with clear conscience.

Edit September 2013: 3.5 stars - a skim-through a year later showed me its flaws, or maybe I became more critical. Who knows? ...more
2

Apr 30, 2013

I don't get the hype.

If you'd judge a book by its rating on Goodreads and Amazon, you should consider Wool to be a science fiction miracle - the vast majority of Goodreaders gave it 5 stars, and on Amazon it currently holds an astonishing 3,740 five star reviews - with new ones appearing every day. Wool seems to be a prodigious child of a next Asimov or Heinlein, destined to last for decades and inspire generations of readers and writers.

What's even more interesting is that Wool began its life I don't get the hype.

If you'd judge a book by its rating on Goodreads and Amazon, you should consider Wool to be a science fiction miracle - the vast majority of Goodreaders gave it 5 stars, and on Amazon it currently holds an astonishing 3,740 five star reviews - with new ones appearing every day. Wool seems to be a prodigious child of a next Asimov or Heinlein, destined to last for decades and inspire generations of readers and writers.

What's even more interesting is that Wool began its life as a short, self-published novella, Wool, which so excited the readers that the author quickly published the next four parts, finally gathering them all in this omnibus. Film rights have already been sold to 20th Century Fox, with Ridley Scott showing interest in adapting Wool into a movie.

Does anyone here remember the PC game Fallout? Here's its great introductory movie, with its famous war never changes speech. I played the hell out of it when it came out and it's one of the games on which I learned the English language. In Fallout its 2161, and after a major nuclear war humanity has hid in underground vaults. Generations have lived in such way, without having seen natural light. The player controls an inhabitant of Vault 13, where a computer chip responsible for purifying water has broken - and is sent into the outside world to journey to other communities, looking for a replacement. The player has 150 game days to complete the assignment and return to the vault before its water supply runs out. Fallout has won many awards and sprawled a number of sequels, and it stole many childhoods with its addictive qualities - including a large and open word, with many non-pcs ready for interaction, quests and subplots ready to indulge in.

Wool starts intriguing enough, and Howey has a good sense of pacing to keep up the interest all the way through the first part. After an unnamed apocalyptic event the earth has been rendered uninhabitable, and people have to live in an underground Silo, which extends many stories beneath the surface of the planet. Inhabitants can see the outside world only through a lens, and the images are grim: constantly cloudy and dark skies, the ragged plains and mountains depopulated by strong radiation. Despite this, people live quite comfortably in the Silo, except for one small detail: the lens which shows them the outside world gets dirty with dust and rust, and has to be cleaned - a perilous duty, as it involved going outside and becoming exposed to a deadly amount of radiation. Although technicians working at the Silo managed to develop protective suits, they only last for a short time before disintegrating from exposure - effectively making the cleaning a one-way trip. Therefore, the only people who clean the lens are those sent to do so as punishment. And everyone who is sentenced to cleaning cleans - there has not been a case of anyone going outside and not cleaning in the history of the Silo.

The first part of Wool follows the story of Holston, the Silo's sheriff who is trying to understand the circumstances which led to his wife's death. She has been sentenced to Cleaning - and Holston is doing his best to understand why, as he believes the sentence was connected to his wife's investigation of Silo's historical records. Although there is only basic wordbuilding and the characters are sketchily drawn at best, the familiar concept is still intriguing enough to turn the page.

But then Wool 1 ends, and trouble sets in. Although the author maintains that each of the five installments is meant to be read as a standalone, there is simply no way that they could work this way. Wool 1 leaves far too many questions unanswered - each introduced idea begets interest which is never properly cared for. Howey embarks an ambitious idea - trying to create a new society from scratch, and create characters the readers can care for - but a vast majority of questions the reader can have about his world, its past and present, science and technology are never answered. Holston, his wife, their relationship and the whole society is painted rather than presented, never feeling quite real. But how could it in just 50 pages?

Wool 1 ends with a giant cliffhanger, prompting a swift reader response demanding one thing - more! So Hugh Howey wrote four extra parts, again claiming that each was always meant to be read individually, but I don't believe it. Howey seems to be caught between wanting to tell a single story, and split it into several independent short novels - but doesn't pull it off, leaving each installment bordering awkwardly between wanting to experiment with new ideas and characters and dependence on the old for the sake of continuity. This leaves each installment unsatisfying on its own, as new characters are introduced, presented and dispatched - without offering the readers a proper chance to grow attached to them. The single storyline quickly starting to feel convoluted, as the subsequent parts merely dilute the ideas found in Wool 1 instead of presenting truly new and fascinating concepts. I don't know how much of it was pre-planned, but it seems to me that the success of Wool 1 caught the author by surprise, and he didn't quite knew what to do with the plot to do justice to his premise, and what he came up with provoked only a small "eh? that's it?", with the author emerging not carrying a torch of victory but clutching a straw.

(view spoiler)[The whole notion that the earth was razed down and the inhabitants of the silos were kept in secret about the whole ordeal seemed to be the most obvious plot choice ever, and this is exactly what happens. There are literally thousands New World Order conspiracies and this is just another one of them - albeit not a very creative or surprising one. It was Earth all along - 45 years later! (hide spoiler)]

The science in Wool seems to be treated with a very soft brush, and paid only minimal attention to for the sake of moving the plot along. But most unbelievable is the cleaning process, on which the whole plot lies - it's really pointless and inexplicable with its needless complexity and waste of precious human resources. I couldn't believe that the society wouldn't invent a mechanical cleaner whom they could simply send out to clean the lens. Really? We sent humans, dogs and monkeys into space. Surely a small robot could be thought of. We have one on Mars right now.
And the sheer idea that every single person in history of the Silo has always cleaned the lens is simply unimaginable. With the cleaning being essentially capital punishment, it's ridiculous to suggest that every single person sentenced to death dutifully cleaned the lens for posterity instead of leaving it be or even breaking it. The cleaners knew that they had one final chance to get back at those who sent them there, sometimes perhaps unjustly - would we really believe that they all cleaned the lens out of their own free will, after they were condemned to death and were beyond the reach of their opressors? What happened to all rebels and simple assholes?

Wool received so many rave ratings all over the web, but in terms of novelty, originality and even entertainment it has delivered so preciously little. It's really nothing more than a relatively simple idea stretched and separated into 5 novellas and then published as a single volume. It has nothing of the grand richness of great science fiction, with detailed and inventive world-building and creative ideas, complete with compelling characterization of both heroes and villains, making them vivid and memorable. From what I see here the author has already pulled a George Lucas on us, publishing a new series of prologue novels of the Silo's origin - but the reviews are beginning to get mixed. I won't be reading them - there are far too many other interesting novels to attend to. This year I have read Paul Auster's In the Country of Last Things and Brian Evenson's Immobility, both also dystopian novels - and much better than Howey's cycle of five. I would recommend them both over this any time, and although the time devoted on it goes by pretty fast it'd be much better spent by discovering the hidden gems of the genre which has so much to offer instead of following this goose only painted to look gold. ...more
3

Mar 06, 2017

Admittedly, this is not my genre, but someone on GR strongly suggested it (who?) and I just finished it. Wool is the first volume of a trilogy (apparently, the 2nd volume is a prequel and the 3rd is the sequel to the first.) The plot is interesting, dystopian future with humans living inside because we destroyed the environment outside (you listening Mr Pruitt?). The character development is a bit thin, folks are pretty much black and white (although one gets the impression that all the Admittedly, this is not my genre, but someone on GR strongly suggested it (who?) and I just finished it. Wool is the first volume of a trilogy (apparently, the 2nd volume is a prequel and the 3rd is the sequel to the first.) The plot is interesting, dystopian future with humans living inside because we destroyed the environment outside (you listening Mr Pruitt?). The character development is a bit thin, folks are pretty much black and white (although one gets the impression that all the characters are white caucasian.) It is a bit predictable to be honest, but there are good ideas here. A commenter as I was reading said the story was similar to (inspired by?) a Philip K Dick book called The Penultimate Truth.
I found myself skimming towards the end, knowing how things would turn out pretty much. The writing is OK, but as I said, I felt the characters were quite 2-dimensional and I was only marginally able to become attached to the protagonist.
I did eventually read (and review on GR) both sequels which I found more compelling and better written than Wool. That being said, this initial book did inspire me to learn more about Howey's particular take on a dystopian future. ...more
3

Oct 25, 2013

Bullet Review:

Good story, but OMG, did we REALLY need 500 pages to tell it?! So much of the "story" is just Juliette spending chapters getting into and out of clothes and airlocks, it was about ready to drive me nuts. Could be a superb story minus about 200 pages.

And because of that, it's doubtful I'll pursue the rest of the series. There's a good internet saying for this:

tl;dr

Too long; didn't read

Sums up how I feel pretty well.

Full Review:

It is some unspecified time in the future; people live Bullet Review:

Good story, but OMG, did we REALLY need 500 pages to tell it?! So much of the "story" is just Juliette spending chapters getting into and out of clothes and airlocks, it was about ready to drive me nuts. Could be a superb story minus about 200 pages.

And because of that, it's doubtful I'll pursue the rest of the series. There's a good internet saying for this:

tl;dr

Too long; didn't read

Sums up how I feel pretty well.

Full Review:

It is some unspecified time in the future; people live in silos, but they never talk about the circumstances of living in the silo. If they do, they head out to clean the cameras viewing the miserable outdoor world. Juliette takes over for the Sheriff, Holston, and quickly begins to uncover the secrets IT, led by Bernard, are hiding.

This book got several good reviews from Goodreads' friends, whose opinions I deeply trust. This is what led me to the book; this is what led me to choose this book for my Book Club book. And while my gut churns just thinking this in light of their favorable opinions, I got mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it's got a fascinating story and was a great lesson for me to think about characters being non-white (see my Casting Review below). On the other hand, it's soooooooo sloooooooow. It seriously smarts of "first author syndrome" - the detailing of Each and Every Action, no matter how important to the actual story.

There were definitely great characters. Juliette proved to me that you can have a female lead without relying 100% on the romance angle. Other excellent nuanced characters include the slimy Bernard, Holston, Marnes, Peter, and Knox. Lots of great characters - it was even more fun for me because, instead of imagining each as a white dude or chick, I went out of my way to find non-white actors and actresses for each role.

As I mentioned above, the story and world-building had a lot of promise. I can't help but liken it to Justin Cronin's "The Passage" in this regard - both are about isolated societies in a post-apocalyptic world. I liked learning how the society was, even though there were plenty of details that made no sense (such as young, healthy people treating several stories as a huge deal when they've lived their ENTIRE LIVES on stairs). It felt like a dystopia - not like the fauxtopias that are all the rage these days.

But really, what really kept me from liking it, what is holding back all the stars is the fact the book is too damned slow. This is best exemplified in the second short story where the entire plot is Marnes and Jahns descending and ascending the stairs. Yes, there is character development going on. Yes, it does build the world. But seriously, 100+ pages for this? Absolutely not.

And this never really improves over the course of the novel. Howey spends whole chapters on Juliette flailing through airlocks and removing or putting on clothes. Again, really? I understand trying to detail his surroundings, but it quickly goes overboard.

As I was trying desperately to finish this before the new year, I agonized over something: why was I eager to continue Justin Cronin's equally slow "Passage" trilogy but considering giving up Howey's "Wool" series? Both are slow, both don't seem to go anywhere - so why one and not the other?

And then I remember - yes, "The Passage" was slow and boring in places, but the first 250 pages were AWESOME. I devoured them. They didn't wallow in the characters' every detailed movement from one room to the other. They didn't spend huge chapters just entering an airlock. Stuff happened.

So, while this is a decent book, I won't be continuing the series. I've heard it just gets slower and more dragged out, and if I ever plan on making a dent in my To Read list, I need to start figuring out what books to read and which to let go.

Now, that isn't to say this is a terrible book that everyone should avoid. It just means: be prepared for a very, VERY slow pace.

Casting Review:
Because I have no life and am trying to get over my white privilege bias, I wanted to visualize actors for these characters, with an emphasis on non-white actors. Give me a hand!

Holston: Jaime Foxx



Allison: Lucy Liu



Jahns: Phylicia Rashad (I totally didn't think I could find someone other than maybe Diane Keaton or Sigourney Weaver for this part, because of the age, but Phylicia fits how I think of Jahns!!)



Marnes: Avery Brooks
Thanks to Julia for this one!



Bernard: Paul Giamatti
Thanks to Julia for this one!



Juliette: Michelle Rodriguez
OK, I don't see Juliette looking exactly like THIS pic - but this pic is AWESOME!!



Lukas: Max Mingehella
Thanks Rachel (BAVR) and Becky!!



Peter Billings: Ideas: Anthony Mackie



Scottie: Justin Long



Knox: Tom Hanks (with beard - beard is a MUST)



McLain: Helen Mirren (she popped into my head from the first)



Solo: Michael Ealy
Thank you, Rachel (BAVR), for this excellent selection!!



Marck: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Not sure if he should be Marck, but he DEFINITELY needs to be cast in this movie!! Dude is awesome!!!



Shirly: Gina Torres



Walker: Kris Kristofferson
Thanks to Blade I canNOT think of anyone else as Walker but Kris.



Jenkins: Kal Penn
A bit of a strange one, but I'm thinking of his character from the TV series, "House". Smart, but also completely overwhelmed and underexperienced.



Normally, I don't do these sorts of things, but in this case, I thought, hey, why not! Also, post images of who YOU think should be each of the major(ish) characters!!h ...more
3

Aug 06, 2017

This reminded me of The City of Ember and a lot of other similar shows and books. I think IT and Engineering would be evenly matched adversaries for power in the silos. Even if they cycled with a history as often as the moties, control over the energy, food, and water should balance out any control that IT had.

That being said I really like Juliette.
2

Apr 19, 2013

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm not one to expound too much on low ratings, but I feel compelled to do so, here, given the high praise heaped on this book by other reviewers.

That said, this will be spoilerific, so if you want out, now would be the time to bail. Seriously. I'm going to spoil the hell out of this.

Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing against indie publishers (authors who choose to self-publish). This review has nothing to do with that.

First, the things I liked about the book.

The author is actually very good I'm not one to expound too much on low ratings, but I feel compelled to do so, here, given the high praise heaped on this book by other reviewers.

That said, this will be spoilerific, so if you want out, now would be the time to bail. Seriously. I'm going to spoil the hell out of this.

Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing against indie publishers (authors who choose to self-publish). This review has nothing to do with that.

First, the things I liked about the book.

The author is actually very good at pacing. The book reads easily -- one might almost say 'effortlessly' -- and you keep turning page after page to see how things come out.

I think that, from a technical viewpoint, the author is not bad. Nothing leaped out at me, as sometimes happens, to kick me out of the story because of some technicality of writing or style that reminded me, "Hey, you're reading a book." Some beautiful little turn of phrase or clever dialogue that made me focus on the words and not the story.

I thought the main characters were likable, and I found myself caring what happened to them at every point. This was, for me, the saving grace of the book.

Now, if that were all I judged the books on, I would easily have given this 4 stars and moved on. I was entertained. But a couple of things just have to be said.

First of all, I'm not a psychologist, nor do I have any clinical understanding of the field. But I couldn't help but notice that the people in this world don't behave like real people living in a real world. We are told early on that none of the people banished to clean the lenses has ever -- EVER, in hundreds of years -- failed to do his or her duty before dying.

Unless we're being lied to -- and that is a possibility, but if that's the case, then it was far too subtle for me to pick up on -- I find it highly improbable that not a single person would have failed to clean the lenses in hundreds of years. I would not have cleaned them, and I don't think I'm SO different from other people. I would have thought, "So long, suckers, I'm going to head over toward that miraculous city over there." Probably tinged with a little, "You jerks kicked me out. Why should I do you any favors?" Or maybe I would have frantically jumped up and down gesticulating wildly at the onlookers, trying to make them understand that they were being lied to.

I had a real problem getting past that. It seemed plausible right up to the point where you kind of started to figure out what was going on, and then with the least bit of thought about it, the premise just collapses.

I read this on my Kindle (so no skipping ahead). After the main character of the first section dies, I thought, "Oh, so that was kind of a prologue. No problem." Then I read the second part, where the mayor was the main character . . . and then SHE dies. "O . . . K," I thought, angry, but willing to move on. Then the third section opens with Juliette about to be sent out for cleaning, and we quickly find out that the deputy committed suicide, and I stopped reading for over a week, absolutely disgusted with the book. This was at 23% in the Kindle.

I mentioned as much to a friend who had read the whole thing, and she told me that Juliette remained the main character for the remainder of the book.

Had I not known this, I would have honestly stopped reading it right there. It's too much. Give me a character to hang onto from the beginning. Don't yank the rug out from under me like that not once, not twice, but THREE times, and expect me to continue reading.

The next time I almost stopped reading was when Bernard explained to Lukas how all the silos came to be. It was . . . just so contrived. I mean, straight out of insane conspiracy theories about the New World Order. In short, the US saw that it was in decline, and rather than just deal with that, the Ebil Gubmint decided that if they couldn't be in charge, no one ELSE could, either, so they literally made the surface of the entire planet uninhabitable and established the silos as a kind of Ark to preserve the species and their ideological way of life. Why? Because they're EBIL. And they're the GUBMINT.

WHAT?

Had this come earlier in the book . . . I would have stopped reading it and moved on to something else. As it was, this came after I was invested in the characters of Juliette, Solo, Walker, Shirly, and Lukas. So I kept reading to find out how it ended. That, incidentally, is why I didn't give it 1 star. I did get invested in the characters, and I did want to know what happened. And, as I said, the pacing was marvelous.

Speaking of getting invested . . . Juliette risks her life to leave silo 17 and return to silo 18. I fully expected Lukas to die, so I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be Bernard. But in spite of her promise to the inhabitants of silo 17, we are not shown that she mentions them AT ALL after her return to silo 18. At the end, in an epilogue, we are given a glimpse into what's going on in silo 17 as Solo is about to call Juliette . . . but we don't know if anyone in silo 18 was primed to receive the call. For all the 17ians knew, Juliette died in the Outside. She was, after all, out of commission for weeks while she healed from her burns.

I was expecting Juliette's acceptance of the Mayorship to hinge on connecting 17 and 18 in the Down Deep and get some engineers over there to get 17 running again. But . . . no.

To be fair, perhaps this is the story for the sequel series, but it would have been nice for him to have at least followed up on this.

One last thing that just bothered the crap out of me is resources. It was stated that the silo complex was located near Atlanta, Ga. There were mines and oil wells under the silo. But I find it very difficult to believe that there is enough ore and oil in Georgia to sustain 50 silos for hundreds upon hundreds of years of constant mining and pumping. I also found it very difficult to believe that in all that time, not even once did a wall collapse between the mines of adjacent silos.

Anyway, that's enough. My two stars are because I just can't accept the psychology, world building, physics, and math of the world I'm being asked to accept. And basing the entire premise on a loony conspiracy theory didn't help.

I wanted to like this book more. I'm not sorry I finished reading it, but if someone had told me from the beginning that it was based in New World Order conspiracy theories, I would have passed. ...more
3

Nov 26, 2013

Wool, by Hugh Howey is reminiscent of Robert Silverberg’s Time of the Great Freeze or Philip K. Dick's The Penultimate Truth with a population living underground following a climate-changing catastrophe.

The Wool Omnibus is actually a collection of five novellas connecting the action, a serialization of an ongoing storyline. The setting reminds me of the Zion population in the Wachowski Matrix films, an isolated, encased and quarantined populace. I found the narration mainly good, sometimes very Wool, by Hugh Howey is reminiscent of Robert Silverberg’s Time of the Great Freeze or Philip K. Dick's The Penultimate Truth with a population living underground following a climate-changing catastrophe.

The Wool Omnibus is actually a collection of five novellas connecting the action, a serialization of an ongoing storyline. The setting reminds me of the Zion population in the Wachowski Matrix films, an isolated, encased and quarantined populace. I found the narration mainly good, sometimes very good, but inconsistent, disjointed and with some holes in the plot. I felt like the great work in the beginning slacked off towards the later chapters; I really liked the first story and the second and third novellas, but by the last book, I was ready to see this wrap up. In fairness to Howey, I did like the ending and felt he concluded his story well.

This book also made me consider my interest in the post-apocalyptic / dystopian genre. A study could be made about the course of fantasy /sci-fi from the 50s on and how the dominant themes have moved from generally optimistic to more pessimistic. Was the 1969 moon landing a high water mark in our culture and since then has our collective artistic vision been more depressed and less optimistic?

Ultimately I think this book, like most dystopian stories, is fundamentally optimistic, with a story about the resiliency and determinism of humanity. Howey creates a meaningful metaphor for how we will survive, perhaps a seed tucked away in a silo, awaiting a better time, but surviving and enduring beyond bad times.

...more
5

May 15, 2012


Outstanding!

WOOL began its life as a self-published short novella in July of 2011. That's hard to believe. I feel like I've been hearing about this thing for ages and ages.

So I'm late to the party, but not that late. Due to excited reader response over WOOL 1, author Hugh Howey quickly released the next four parts in the series. Then came along this Omnibus which collects Parts 1-5. There is now a 2013 edition with a great new cover that features a blurb by none other than Justin Cronin, author
Outstanding!

WOOL began its life as a self-published short novella in July of 2011. That's hard to believe. I feel like I've been hearing about this thing for ages and ages.

So I'm late to the party, but not that late. Due to excited reader response over WOOL 1, author Hugh Howey quickly released the next four parts in the series. Then came along this Omnibus which collects Parts 1-5. There is now a 2013 edition with a great new cover that features a blurb by none other than Justin Cronin, author of The Passage.

In a few short years, Howey has given all struggling writers out there toiling away at their craft in obscurity real hope. Word of mouth among bloggers and enthusiastic readers on sites like Amazon and Goodreads has the potential to lift the curse of invisibility from self-published works so that they may find their way to audiences who will love them. Never before have the barriers between author and reader been so few, the access so direct. No longer are authors strictly dependent on big publishing houses to discover them and deem their work important enough to go to market accompanied by a sexy publicity campaign. Authors and readers are doing it for themselves, and I for one think it's a beautiful thing.

I love everything about this story -- I love the details of the world-building, I love the characters, I love the shifting points of view, I love the slow burn when you're not sure what is going on. When it became clear to me exactly what was going on I love that I wasn't disappointed. For a post-apocalyptic story trodding very familiar science fiction territory, it still feels fresh. The author definitely gives it his own spin.

I love that the stakes are so high. I love that the author is patient and in control of his narrative. That he doesn't reveal too much too soon. That he understands the relationship between tension and release. All of that to say, I love that the writing is so strong and capable (I've read too much self-published stuff where the prose is inexcusably sloppy). Howey's writing is the exact opposite of sloppy. It's polished. Its engine hums. The shoes are shiny and it's wearing a tie. It's ready to take home to mom.

Finally, I love Juliette. She's Ellen Ripley, Katniss Everdeen, and Dana Scully all rolled up into one. She's got brains and courage and heart and a will made of iron.

There's a lot of under-developed, underwhelming dystopian fiction kicking around out there these days. WOOL leaves those attempts in its dust. It's worth your time. Trust me.

Book trailer available here ...more
5

Feb 01, 2016

This book is an excellent and unique take on a post-apocalyptic earth. Recently, literature has been saturated with post-apocalyptic stories and sometimes it is hard to find something that is fresh . . . something that doesn't feel like it has already been done before. Everything about this book was suspenseful and interesting - no boredom of rehashed ideas/concepts/storylines for me.

Another cool thing about it is the book is divided into little novellas which kind of refresh the story every 50 This book is an excellent and unique take on a post-apocalyptic earth. Recently, literature has been saturated with post-apocalyptic stories and sometimes it is hard to find something that is fresh . . . something that doesn't feel like it has already been done before. Everything about this book was suspenseful and interesting - no boredom of rehashed ideas/concepts/storylines for me.

Another cool thing about it is the book is divided into little novellas which kind of refresh the story every 50 to 100 pages while keeping with the bigger story as a whole.

The characters you meet in this book are great. They are easy to empathize with. They are easy to cheer for. They are easy to despise. In the end, some are hard to mourn.

I am not sure this book is for everyone. I have read reviews that say it is too long or too slow. I did not feel either of those things so hopefully you won't either! ...more
5

Jun 18, 2013

Hugh Howey paints a world, or what is left of one post apocalypse, with an eye for detail that is easily visualized; one that you can descend into and inhabit.

This is epic storytelling, told with a taut hand on the tiller, controlling the pace and direction, allowing the reader to uncover truths together with the many, care worthy, relatable characters that populate this place. I blinked a couple of times and found myself entrenched in this world. And it all seems so effortless, the narrative Hugh Howey paints a world, or what is left of one post apocalypse, with an eye for detail that is easily visualized; one that you can descend into and inhabit.

This is epic storytelling, told with a taut hand on the tiller, controlling the pace and direction, allowing the reader to uncover truths together with the many, care worthy, relatable characters that populate this place. I blinked a couple of times and found myself entrenched in this world. And it all seems so effortless, the narrative flows, the voices are real, the soup thickens and the heroine Jules is absolutely kick ass, with a mechanics cool composure; confident in her analytical ability to fix anything, determined to maintain that which is not broken. Stroke it or strike it.
She rocks!

I’m telling you I climbed those stairs from down deep, round and round, to up top, with these people, legs cramping, heart pounding in my ears, breathless and shaken from the trip. And every time I thought I knew where I was going, Howey held his grip firm on that tiller and took me someplace else. I laboured over the details, peeking in at the players, letting the pressure build, scarfing down every morsel offered, thumbing the pages, ingesting the words. Yum.

I LOVED IT!!!!!


Note: Read the omnibus containing all five parts.
...more
3

Aug 21, 2014

A bunch of people live in an underground community and those who break the rules are cruelly expelled to their doom? Reality TV producers have to be kicking themselves for not coming up with this idea themselves.

At an undetermined time in the future, the people of the Silo have lived for generations with only a few dusty camera views to show them the world above ground. After the sheriff steps down from his post in rather dramatic fashion, the mayor and a deputy determine that a mechanic named A bunch of people live in an underground community and those who break the rules are cruelly expelled to their doom? Reality TV producers have to be kicking themselves for not coming up with this idea themselves.

At an undetermined time in the future, the people of the Silo have lived for generations with only a few dusty camera views to show them the world above ground. After the sheriff steps down from his post in rather dramatic fashion, the mayor and a deputy determine that a mechanic named Juliette is the best candidate to replace him, but her appointment results in a series of events that threaten to expose long kept secrets and tear the Silo apart.

Hugh Howey is one of the biggest success stories in self-publishing, and I understand why after the early chapters do an exceptional job of introducing us to this world. The stairwell is a vertical highway connecting the complex, and journeying from top to bottom is no easy task. Having two characters make the trek in the early part of the book was a great way of giving us a tour of the Silo that established not only how it works logistically, but how it functions as a society. Juliette started out as a very strong character against this vivid background, and Howe sets her up perfectly as the hero to carry the story.

Unfortunately, he seemed to have some problems with what to do after that, and I was slightly let down at where the plot went from there. I can’t say much about that without giving the book away though. (view spoiler)[

I was disappointed that Juliette wasn’t given more to do in the sheriff’s role and as a character overall. In fact, while Bernard made for a great villain with his infuriating arrogance, he was so ahead of Juliette at every turn that it made her disappointingly passive. While she takes plenty of actions during the course of the story, none of them really accomplish anything.

Juliette doesn’t uncover the conspiracy; her friend in IT finds the data that clues her into what’s going on although she does figure out the bit about the suits being deliberately made badly. Before she can really do anything as sheriff she’s almost instantly demoted and sent out to clean and only survives that because her friends swapped the faulty parts of the suit. That kicks off the whole rebellion, but Juliette has no part of it. At the other Silo she spends most of her time trying to get a pump working and almost dies doing so, but again, that doesn’t resolve anything in this story. Finally, in the end, she again almost dies because she accidently tries to save the life of the villain of the story, and we learn that Bernard wasn’t bested because of anything she did, rather it was all done by other people.

Part of this is disconnection is because of the structure of the plot. Sending Juliette out of the Silo automatically cuts her out of the action that takes place for the rest of the story. Her dangers mainly come from her environment, not because of anything connected to the plot although an argument could be made that Howey was trying to put in some kind of theme about her overcoming the elements since she almost dies by earth and air (Surviving the toxins and asphyxiation after being sent out to clean.), water and then fire.

One of her Big Damn Hero moments is supposed to be her rushing up the stairs of the second Silo when she’s completely exhausted because she’s desperate to get back into radio contact with her friends, but what exactly was that going to accomplish even if she had gotten back in touch of them? Essentially the character's major achievement is that she suffers and endures so that she can continue to suffer and endure.

So I found it very disappointing that we had a good character that I wanted to root for as the lead in the story, but she felt removed from the action with little actual impact on the plot. It’s kind of sad that Howey built up such a great sci-fi setting and then pushed the best character away from it to have her explore something similar but decayed and mostly empty.

I was also wishing that the story would have been more than a vast conspiracy storyline. The idea that all the silos were part of some centuries old evil master plan was OK, but I think it would have been far more interesting if the situation in the Silo was the result of internal conflicts that had built up over the decades. Juliette and Bernard at war with each other in the Silo is a story I’m more interested in than just another plot about unspeakable secrets kept from a society. (hide spoiler)]

Overall, Howey created a well written sci-fi tale with an intriguing setting that I was very interested in, but unfortunately, I found the plot and actions taken by the characters far less compelling. I don’t regret reading this, but I probably won’t be checking out the follow-up books to it.
...more
4

Dec 31, 2013

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. When the old sheriff of the Silo dies, Juliette, a Mechanic, is thrust into the role and quickly finds herself in over her head after asking the wrong questions. What will she discover when she's cast out of the Silo into the toxic world beyond and left for dead?

Yeah, that's not a great summary but there's a lot I don't want to spoil.

Since I've become more and more interested in the idea of Kindle publishing as of late, I decided to check out Wool, one of the juggernauts of self-publishing. When the old sheriff of the Silo dies, Juliette, a Mechanic, is thrust into the role and quickly finds herself in over her head after asking the wrong questions. What will she discover when she's cast out of the Silo into the toxic world beyond and left for dead?

Yeah, that's not a great summary but there's a lot I don't want to spoil.

Since I've become more and more interested in the idea of Kindle publishing as of late, I decided to check out Wool, one of the juggernauts of self-publishing. While I heard the title (and thought it was stupid), I went in cold and was pleasantly surprised.

Wool takes place in a dystopian future where what's left of humanity lives in a Silo underground, levels upon levels of apartments, farms, mines, machinery, a self contained community. People who commit certain offenses are sent out to Clean, to clear the grit off the sensors providing the residents a view of the outside, before dying in the nuclear wasteland.

Juliette, the protagonist of parts 2-5, is a fantastic character. Her logical mind, honed from years of repairing ancient machines, quickly has her asking all sorts of questions about the history of the Silo and the possibility of life beyond. Her relationship with Lukas was believable and not at all sappy.

The book reminds me of old school science fiction, exploring ideas about control, conformity, and manipulation. When Juliette and company figure out what's been going on for two hundred years, the manure hits the windmill.

The writing was understated but still good. It's several notches above what you'd expect in a self-published book and probably a notch or two above some Big Six publishing house efforts lately. Is it deserving of the massive hype it gets? Probably not but it's still really good. I think the "little guy done good" aspect of Howey's success gives it a little more punch in some people's eyes.

A few minor things bugged me, most related to pace and how readily some of the people revolted. Also, I wouldn't have minded a little more of Silo 17 in the epilogue. Still, it has some strong scenes in it. Juliette running out of air was a pretty powerful scene and will stick with me for a long time.

Wool should appeal to old school science fiction fans and dystopia fans alike. 4.5 out of 5 stars. ...more
5

Apr 25, 2013

Some books take a while to dig into. The first few chapters set up the story, introduce you to the main characters and build a framework for the tale to come.

Wool sets up the story too, but in a heartbreaking and gripping way that has you consuming the book as quickly as possible, if only to learn the answer to: "that's not really about to happen, is it?"

There are moments in Wool when I wondered if maybe the book was too dark. I mourned for characters and didn't know how they would possibly get Some books take a while to dig into. The first few chapters set up the story, introduce you to the main characters and build a framework for the tale to come.

Wool sets up the story too, but in a heartbreaking and gripping way that has you consuming the book as quickly as possible, if only to learn the answer to: "that's not really about to happen, is it?"

There are moments in Wool when I wondered if maybe the book was too dark. I mourned for characters and didn't know how they would possibly get themselves out of the messes they (or others) had gotten them into. I won't say it worked out for everyone, but there is enough hopefulness and light in the book to brighten the darkest depths of this silo.

Wool is not a long read (even shorter when you can't put it down and read it over two nights) but it is one that will stick with you. ...more
2

Apr 08, 2013


Bad writing. On top of that, the book doesn't make much sense to me.

Along with the writing, more reasons to have disliked the book:

1 - Why the staircase?
The silo in which the story takes place has one mode of transportation along its whole one-mile height: a small spiral staircase. There are no elevators - even freight elevators are absent. Why? Doesn't make any kind of sense. Suspension of disbelief ruined.

2 - Dystopia not believable
The author chose to motivate the reason behind it as being
Bad writing. On top of that, the book doesn't make much sense to me.

Along with the writing, more reasons to have disliked the book:

1 - Why the staircase?
The silo in which the story takes place has one mode of transportation along its whole one-mile height: a small spiral staircase. There are no elevators - even freight elevators are absent. Why? Doesn't make any kind of sense. Suspension of disbelief ruined.

2 - Dystopia not believable
The author chose to motivate the reason behind it as being both planned and necessary, as opposed to, for example, making the dystopia the end result of a series of well-intentioned mistakes. But any motivation is clearly shown to be false, along with any claims of necessity, when the oppressive system is overcome. Evil overlords? For goodness' sake!

3 - The 5 volumes that comprise the omnibus edition are quite uneven. The first three stories are just mildly boring. The claustrophobia of the Silo is almost noticeable. On the other hand, the last two stories are much more verbose and the previous negligible tension of the first 3 stories is lost.

As a dystopian world it needs developing as much as its characters, and unfortunately it never quite got there for me. ...more
2

Nov 09, 2015

I enjoy Post apocalyptic Stories every now and again and as this book had been getting rave reviews I had to give it a go.

The idea is really interesting, "This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very I enjoy Post apocalyptic Stories every now and again and as this book had been getting rave reviews I had to give it a go.

The idea is really interesting, "This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside"

The first chapter had me gripped and I really thought I had another The Road in my hands and really looked forward to something special.
While I did like the concept of the novel I found the book lost its initial impact after the first couple of chapters. I found the characters very weak and poorly developed and the I got bogged down in the overwhelming descriptions of everything and this made the book seem endless. There are a couple of twists and turns towards the end of the novel but they came too late for me.

Having read and loved The Road and The Passage I was hoping that Wool would be just as atmospheric and eerie but unfortunately it didn't appeal to me.

The book is over 550 pages long and I really felt that it could have been a lot shorter .

Having read this back in November, I had to re-read this one for a book club read this month. I listened to it this time and the narrator was quite good but the book dragged regardless. ...more
5

Nov 08, 2013

The basic premise: mankind has devastated the surface of the world, leaving ruined cities, endless wasteland and a toxic atmosphere. The only survivors live in an underground silo, a closed society with a mayor, a sheriff, and a shadowy IT department that seems to control everything, including the population's understanding of reality outside the silo. Cameras offer a glimpse of the outside world on monitors throughout the silo, letting the inhabitants see the sunrise over the wasteland and The basic premise: mankind has devastated the surface of the world, leaving ruined cities, endless wasteland and a toxic atmosphere. The only survivors live in an underground silo, a closed society with a mayor, a sheriff, and a shadowy IT department that seems to control everything, including the population's understanding of reality outside the silo. Cameras offer a glimpse of the outside world on monitors throughout the silo, letting the inhabitants see the sunrise over the wasteland and allay some of their claustrophobia, but the cameras often get grimy because of the atmosphere. Hence the silo's ultimate punishment: cleaning. For many crimes, including the forbidden act of simply expressing a desire to go outside, the convicted is put in an airtight suit and sent on a one-way trip to clean the lenses of the cameras. For some reason, the convicted always does the job, no matter how much they protest in advance. Within minutes, however, the suit deteriorates and the convict collapses, becoming another permanent feature of the landscape.

There is much more going on than the IT department lets on, however. When a new sheriff of the silo begins to explore some dangerous secrets uncovered by her predecessor, she makes powerful enemies and stirs up forces that could lead to civil war.

The characters are well-drawn, and even the villains have a sympathetic side. Secrets unfold with just the right pacing, and I had to set my e-reader down several times and say, "Wow," when a major twist was revealed. The structure of the story, told in five interconnected parts, makes WOOL unlike a conventional novel, and gives it extra depth, much like the layers of the silo itself. I loved the feisty heroine Juliette especially, who endures so much tragedy and shows so much courage. And who can't relate to the notion of an IT department being run by nefarious villains who deliberately sabotage the exchange of information? If you're looking for a good post-apocalyptic read, you can't do much better than WOOL. It's targeted at adults, but is completely appropriate for YA readers as well. ...more
4

Apr 16, 2012

This is going to end up being one of those books I force on all my friends, insisting that they read it immediately. I loved it and can't wait for more.

Please see my full reviews of the stories:

Wool 1
Wool 2: Proper Gauge
Wool 3: Casting Off
Wool 4: The Unraveling
Wool 5: The Stranded

Now go read this! You won't regret it!

Update May 13, 2012:

Hugh Howey has announced over on his blog that his self-published book Wool has been acquired by Fox! I couldn't be happier for him, and I am so excited for the This is going to end up being one of those books I force on all my friends, insisting that they read it immediately. I loved it and can't wait for more.

Please see my full reviews of the stories:

Wool 1
Wool 2: Proper Gauge
Wool 3: Casting Off
Wool 4: The Unraveling
Wool 5: The Stranded

Now go read this! You won't regret it!

Update May 13, 2012:

Hugh Howey has announced over on his blog that his self-published book Wool has been acquired by Fox! I couldn't be happier for him, and I am so excited for the future of this promising author. How crazy to have something explode so quickly like Wool has!

Update October 29, 2012:

Wool has been spotted at Powell's Books in Portland!

I was bleary-eyed and walking towards the coffee shop when lo! what should I spot on the new release shelf but the Wool Omnibus. I gasped and ran over to it and fondled it affectionately. The person shelving close by gave me a weird look and stepped away.

Nobody gets between me and my Wool.

Another update! October 30, 2012:

Guess what book is totally on the Goodreads choice for best sci-fi novel?

Yeah!

I know!

I cast my vote so fast I didn't even see what else was on there.

I'll be rooting for you, Hugh! ...more
5

Feb 10, 2017

With great pleasure, I read this book. From the first page, I was simply drawn into the world of Silos. This dystopian world is also well presented and I felt as I read it is literally in the Silos with numerous underground levels in which people live for hundreds of years. The writer has evoked the world with such ease and enjoyed in this imaginary world through the book. In a hostile world that has destroyed large war, in the huge Silos live last remnants of civilization. At the top of the With great pleasure, I read this book. From the first page, I was simply drawn into the world of Silos. This dystopian world is also well presented and I felt as I read it is literally in the Silos with numerous underground levels in which people live for hundreds of years. The writer has evoked the world with such ease and enjoyed in this imaginary world through the book. In a hostile world that has destroyed large war, in the huge Silos live last remnants of civilization. At the top of the Silos, there are four lenses through which to see the destroyed outside world. Live in the Silo is under strict rules with which all the people are kept in ignorance and obedient. But that's not the only thing that keeps them in obedience, there is a myriad of lies with which they use a certain layer of society at the top of government. Anyone who opposes these rules for whatever reason is thrown out of the Silos. After cleaning Holston who was the last marshal, in his place come Juliette, a mechanic from the deepest part of the Silos. Although she does not know anything about the law, she begins to explore the reasons why Holston voluntary departure in death, and soon realizes that everything around it is based on lies. Silos are beginning to deal with carefully hidden own past. All Juliette had previously believed decomposes into dust and her life is found in immediate danger. Believe me; the story will draw you into such vortices in this cruel world, where human life is worth less than a speck of dust. I enjoyed the whole book and I recommend it to all fans of dystopian science fiction, but also to all lovers of fiction. The story is great. ...more
4

Oct 01, 2012

Before I read this, I . . . er . . . siloed myself off from other reviews. Now that I'm finished, I'm glad I did. The sense of claustrophobia and restrained liberty was complete, as a result. But I'm a middle class American living a life of relative freedom when compared to most of the world today, and definitely when compared to the world of Wool. There were times, many times, when I had to remind myself to breathe! This is the amazing thing about the book - the way it captures you and slyly Before I read this, I . . . er . . . siloed myself off from other reviews. Now that I'm finished, I'm glad I did. The sense of claustrophobia and restrained liberty was complete, as a result. But I'm a middle class American living a life of relative freedom when compared to most of the world today, and definitely when compared to the world of Wool. There were times, many times, when I had to remind myself to breathe! This is the amazing thing about the book - the way it captures you and slyly leads you from plot point to plot point without you knowing you are being shepherded along by the author. It's much like . . . well, like living in a dystopian world where you don't know anything about what is beyond your immediate reach, while someone, someone else does. Someone who you might know. Or maybe not. How would you know? The plot is really the unveiling of masks, nothing fancy, nothing elaborate. It's a very workman-like plot, and I guessed a few things before they were revealed. But I was along for the ride like a child locked in a car seat with a lollipop. The writing is just that smooth.

But what I really enjoyed were the characters. Jahns, Lukas, Juliette, Bernard. These were maybe not entirely believable all the time (Peter's "conversion" was off-putting, though necessary), but each character was identifiable enough and warm enough that it was fairly easy to willingly suspend my disbelief.

And what can one say about Juliette? She is strong, determined, yet vulnerable. Smart, but prone to mistakes. Her heart is crusted on the outside, but soft in the middle. She is, in a word, "human". I greatly enjoyed getting to know her.

And Lukas was one of the most believable characters I've read in a long time. "Conflicted" is the word that comes to mind when I think of Lukas. He wants to do what's right, but is torn between the logic of duty and the freedom of his heart. I felt like I related to him a great deal, like there is some of Lukas in me. That's the kind of connection I felt while watching him move, tentatively and naively, perhaps, to an emotional space that was simultaneously sad, bold, and endearing.

No, the science isn't perfect, and the deep history behind the whole setup was hackneyed. But Howey uses the setting, the situation, and the players so well that those minor annoyances soon melt into the background.

You've probably noticed that I'm not giving a blow-by-blow on the relevant plot points, that I'm being vague. This is intentional. I want you to be submerged in the silo, as well, so you can discover for yourself something about human nature, the need to control, and the need for freedom. I hope you'll jump into this world and struggle and hem and haw and backtrack and embolden yourself so that you can find your own way out.

You're going to have to trust some people to help you on your way out. You can't do it alone. Be careful who you choose as your friends, but once you've chosen them, trust them . . . and yourself. I wish you luck. Oh, and don't believe everything you see or everything you hear. The world isn't how it seems. But maybe you aren't how you see yourself, either. ...more
5

Apr 13, 2017

So. How does one start a review for a book as big as this one..?

Wool feels like the best book I've had in my hands this year. I know it's only April. But I don't feel like I'll read another one like it soon. Books like this you only come across every so often.

All I can think it reminds me of is Way Station by Clifford D. Simak, although that one was more sci-fi, and this one's more dystopian. But the scope, the ideas, the implementation... That's what feels close.

In case you haven't read So. How does one start a review for a book as big as this one..?

Wool feels like the best book I've had in my hands this year. I know it's only April. But I don't feel like I'll read another one like it soon. Books like this you only come across every so often.

All I can think it reminds me of is Way Station by Clifford D. Simak, although that one was more sci-fi, and this one's more dystopian. But the scope, the ideas, the implementation... That's what feels close.

In case you haven't read that one, well. Let me explain. It's THAT BIG.

THAT. BIG.

Before I get into it more, there are going to be images. You can go to my blog to view this post in full.

I do not know how to review this book without giving things away, to be honest. Hugh Howey appears to be like that magician who pulls rabbits and other surprises out of his hat, and they just never stop coming. Plus, he's extremely good at creating suspense. I wouldn't even call his suspenseful surprises twists . It's more like you get to see the story bit by bit, layer by layer being uncovered, new to both you and the characters. The characters do the unthinkable many many times too, except it's the kind of unimaginable that you can actually ground logically. Another thing is that being the protagonist is handed down like a relay - a relay of danger. Being Hugh Howey’s protagonist is no enviable task.

The story begins in a silo - which isn't really a silo, it's more of a shaft, a bomb shelter, deep in the ground - sheltering the last remaining life on Earth, because the outside is a vast deadland. As comfortable as you can get in a place like that, it bothers you if you can't see the outside. Apparently. Because the people who live there don't really know why they need to see outside. Not like it's changed much over the hundreds of years. It's still deadly.

But in order to see the outside, someone needs to go out and clean the cameras. Which is... Also sort of... very deadly. Which is why it's the punishment for wanting to leave the silo.

The story begins as a simple “what's really outside" and ends up where you never would have expected it to. I can basically promise you you'll be surprised. The silo, to me, seemed like a parallel to our world - the top only cares about appearances, and the bottom part cares about actually making things work.

Let me describe at least some of the divisions of people living in the silo:

Despite the visual rendition, I really liked the mechanics. They are the good guys here.

The top to middle people, basically the middle class:


The IT, or the guys at the 2% of society:


I hated most of the entitled bastards from IT, but I have to admit - Howey knows how to write his villains. Even the biggest villain in the book, Bernard, is someone you can't quite hate. Because he's written so well. You can even empathise with him, because you know what he knows - and considering that, perhaps there was no other way. It's the creators of the silos that committed the true primal sin. All of their spawn have no choice but to survive, and they do all the best that they can - in the only way they've been told.

I loved this book, and I loved it entirely.
(Not just me, so did my mom. She's also finished the sequel already and keep pestering me to drop my current read and just finish this one so I can TALK TO HER. LOL)

There's not a thing I would change in it, not a thing I was skeptical about. It's a story I recommend to everyone - but most especially to all apocalyptic and sci-fi fans. It's definitely worth your time. It's worth more than that. It's worth your feelings.

Efka. Thanks for the rec, man. Priceless. ...more
5

Jun 22, 2012

Wool tells the story of a group of people living in an underground bunker with over 100 floors. Just talking about what's on the outside, or a desire for any change in their situation is considered treason, and may cause them to be sent for Cleaning. Cleaning is when the condemned person cleans the windows so the people can get a clearer view of the world outside. This series has Twilight Zone written all over it, and I'd be surprised if it doesn't end in a Twllight Zone-type fashion.

Wool One, Wool tells the story of a group of people living in an underground bunker with over 100 floors. Just talking about what's on the outside, or a desire for any change in their situation is considered treason, and may cause them to be sent for Cleaning. Cleaning is when the condemned person cleans the windows so the people can get a clearer view of the world outside. This series has Twilight Zone written all over it, and I'd be surprised if it doesn't end in a Twllight Zone-type fashion.

Wool One, 4.5 stars
A man who is still grieving for his wife who was sent out for Cleaning three years ago, decides to go for Cleaning himself. Through flaskbacks, we learn what led to this decision. This left me full of questions, but not in a bad way!

Wool Two, 4 stars

The elderly Mayor is interviewing for a job position that's opened up, and travels down 100 levels to interview a person who wants nothing to do with the job. We get to see what goes on and how they're able to survive living underground for so long.

Wool Three, 5 stars
A young woman searches for answers.

Wool Four, 5 stars

Wool Five, 4.5 stars
Don't forget to read the epilogue after the Q&A. I almost missed it. I don't know what I can say about Wool 5 that wouldn't be a spoiler of the previous books, so I won't say anything, except that I loved it!

Great worldbuilding, Hugh! Thank you! ...more
5

Mar 22, 2018

I read this a few years ago and as I remember I enjoyed it very much.
4

May 09, 2018

Buddy read with the MacHalo group.

This is a book I have had on my to-read shelf since 2013 and it's another one where I ask myself, "Why did you wait so long?!" It looks like *everyone* has read and reviewed this already. I'll just say it lived up to the hype, in my view.

I think the author did a great job building his world and making the characters come to life. I felt emotionally invested and there was enough thrills and mystery to keep me hanging on every page.

I loved Juliette, the mechanic, Buddy read with the MacHalo group.

This is a book I have had on my to-read shelf since 2013 and it's another one where I ask myself, "Why did you wait so long?!" It looks like *everyone* has read and reviewed this already. I'll just say it lived up to the hype, in my view.

I think the author did a great job building his world and making the characters come to life. I felt emotionally invested and there was enough thrills and mystery to keep me hanging on every page.

I loved Juliette, the mechanic, who is thrust into the job of sheriff, only to discover the deception of the IT department in keeping the members of the silo complacent and unaware.

Jahns, the elderly mayor's story was fantastic. I have never shipped an older couple so hard. Her friend, Deputy Marnes' unrequited love, was so sweet. I loved their journey down the silo together.

The last two sections might have seemed a bit too long, but overall, I was swept away, and definitely want to continue the series.

I could see something like this happening to us in the future. Uninhabitable surface due to something mankind did. The silo had everything from farms to gardens, fruit trees, hospitals, nurseries, schools, administrative offices, supply, apartments, a market, etc. ...more