Series: Wool #1
Author: Hugh Howey
Pages: 509 (paperback)
Published: March 12th 2013
Published by: Simon & Schuster
In a ruined and toxic landscape, 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.
The world has gone to pot, and what remains of humanity resides within a silo: a self-sufficient tower with all they need to survive. Including a window onto the outside, so they can always see the corrosion of the planet due to the toxic atmosphere. The very worst crimes are punishable by cleaning: being sent outside to clean the camera lenses which give them this picture, shortly followed by certain death in spite of the protective suits they are given.
I've already covered the first three parts of this book, back when they were available as stand-alone ebooks. Now, like 18 months later, the paperback is finally available with all five compiled together in this omnibus edition and I got around to both purchasing and reading it.
And it was well worth both the wait and the read. At the end of the third section there is quite a major revelation, and development in the storyline. This left me hooked and wanting to know what happened next, and while the fourth section did not leave me wanting, it was probably my least favourite out of the five. The first three are setting the scene, pulling you into the mystery of what exactly is going on, what all these people discover, and then comes the reveal. The fourth serves somewhat as what is usually the middle book in a trilogy: the set-up for the grand finale after the hook. It's still very readable, but it felt like a lot went on without anything actually really happening.
Part of this is because of the points of view we see the story from. They aren't in the middle of the action, for various reasons, so we hear about the major things going on rather than experiencing them for ourselves firsthand. There are a couple of exceptions to this, and these were some of the best parts.
This continues into the fifth part somewhat, but is remedied by more action being taken by those we are following. The first two chapters in particular were wonderful in my opinion, showing just how good of a writer Howey is, not just at coming up with the cool ideas but in terms of emotive writing. I'll leave you hanging as to what actually happens, but I thought it was wonderfully done.
As the end to the first part of what is now going to be a trilogy of books (parts 1 to 5 being put together into this, the first book) it was a satisfactory ending with most of the things brought out over the course of the five stories being closed off nicely, but at the same time certain things are left so you're wondering just what will happen to the silo and the people inside it with all this new-found knowledge and the convictions of those now in charge.
I'll definitely be continuing with the series - a great example of indie writing come good.