Friday, 18 October 2013

Review of 'Wool' by Hugh Howey

My review of Wool, originally posted on Goodreads earlier in the year. Posting now in anticipation of reviewing the sequel 'Shift' very soon.

Only a few months ago I hadn't heard of this book, or the author. Then I listened to an interview with him on 'Geek's Guide to the Galaxy' podcast, then it was chosen as the Sword & Laser book of the month, following which I decided to give it a read. In the indie book community at least, it has received a lot of hype, thousands of glowing reviews. Would it live up to its reputation?

First of all a word on how it is put together. Hugh Howey wrote these as a series of linked novellas, and when he wrote the first I don't think he had any idea that he'd write the rest, or that it would be so popular. The first 'book' is in fact a short story, and would work well as a standalone short story. There are five books in total making up the 'Wool Omnibus', each getting progressively longer.

Wool revolves around the 'silo', a subterranean structure of about 150 floors, completely sealed off from the outside world which incidentally is deadly poisonous such that no one can survive outside. There's quite a bit of world building and backplot developing in the early books, which is really quite fascinating. The story really starts to get going around book 3 when it becomes a gripping page turner.

Overall, I thought this was a fabulous book, really quite different to anything else I've read. It is a fascinating world, and a good story too. There are two sequels to Wool, 'Shift' which is mostly a prequel I'm told, and the forthcoming 'Dust' which wraps up the story.

Incidentally - this book works really well for an online book club, as you can have separate threads to discuss each of the five 'books', with no risk of spoilers for the later books.