Review: Wool by Hugh Howey
Title: Wool (The Omnibus)
Author: Hugh Howey
Publication Date: January 25, 2012
Genre: Science Fiction
Overview: Jules has lived her whole life in the Silo. No one who lives there can remember the world before it. They only know that the outside is desolate and that the cleaners (those who leave the safety of the silo to clean the cameras) always die. When Jules is picked to be the new sheriff, she finds out that the silo is not just an isolated safe haven, but that it harbors the secrets of a society long since dead.
For fans of: Orson Scott Card, Veronica Roth
World-Building: The world building was crucial to Jules’ narrative. Everything hinged on the way in which the social and technical world around her was organized. In a world in which people are stuck in silo with over 100 floors, the world has to fit together well. Howey does this well. Major equipment and mining occur on the bottom (where resources would likely be more accessible), agriculture is spread evenly throughout and operates on hydroponics, the water is both recycled and taken from an aquifer (It’s not sure where this happens exactly, but at least it exists), and the government is placed at the top. All of this does create a feasible society with a well thought-out social stratification.
Additionally, Howey makes sure to answer the more important questions about the world: what do people do for trade (gain chits), how does the air get cleaned (entire floors are dedicated to air cycling), why aren’t there elevators (I can’t actually tell you this).
Character Development: This is one of the interesting points. Jules is herself throughout, and, while she does find out significant facts about her world, it’s no real surprise that she takes on large burdens and is unafraid of the challenges that face her; her character is that way from the beginning.
Lucas, however, changes a great deal. He starts out as a simple IT support man. He doesn’t really think about the inner workings of the Silo. What I like most about his development is that he takes these revelations and ruminates on them before making any decisions. He isn’t just taking anyone’s word at face value. This makes his later decisions and changes of heart that much more valuable.
An aside: I loved how he acts at the end of Casting Off. I had all of the feels.
Plot: The plot is faced-paced and Howey keeps you moving. Some of the twists are awesome. I will say that there are times when the danger is there just to make things feel more dangerous rather than to serve a purpose to the plot. Maybe if I were reading this as the novellas came out I would have seen them as having more purpose, but I doubt it.
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Wool-Omnibus-Edition-Silo-Saga-ebook/dp/B0071XO8RA
Book Depository Link: http://www.bookdepository.com/Wool-Omnibus-Edition-Hugh-Howey/9781469984209