Falcone's Crossroads

Where This Meets That

Book Review: WOOL by Hugh Howey

Holston glanced around the airlock. My life is too tight, he wanted to
say.  My skin is too tight.  The walls are too tight.” – Wool: Part 1

On a friend’s recommendation, I recently read Hugh Howey’s Wool Omnibus EditionWool is a series of five novellas that introduces us to a future dystopia where humanity has been driven underground. The Omnibus Edition wraps them all into one.

In Wool, humanity has been forced by a toxic, post-apocalyptic overland to live in the shelter of a massive subterranean silo that reaches some 144 levels below ground.  In the silo, Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howeyeveryone has neatly assigned roles and follows strict rules that govern every part of life, from power generation to communication to procreation.

Survival of the silo depends on everyone’s adherence to its code.  Anyone who explores other notions risks being condemned for treason and sentenced to “cleaning”, which involves being released up top, into the toxic world, where they are compelled to clean the one screen through which the society is able to view the wasteland outside.  Among the silo’s unfolding mysteries are why the condemned always cooperate with the sentence, why they always “clean” before facing certain death.

Wool is a fascinating and timely work of fiction to read right now when we are again forced to weigh freedom versus security in our own society.  Howey’s prose is both elegant and efficient.  His pacing is wonderful, constantly ratcheting up tension and the stakes while tightening up the silo’s walls and guiding us ever down the endless spiral of the silo’s stairs into the “down deep”.

Wool Omnibus Edition is super-cheap in digital formats ($4.99 on Nook and $5.99 on Kindle), and I highly recommend it for your summer reading list!  I enjoyed it so much that I’m now buried in its prequel series called The Shift, also available for cheap in digital formats.  Stay tuned for that review!

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7 comments on “Book Review: WOOL by Hugh Howey

  1. Claire Ady
    July 4, 2013

    I recently reviewed this one, too. I found it rather shallow, as if it was a bid for a Hollywood movie. lots of plot-holes.

  2. Grande Falcone
    July 4, 2013

    Interesting. I definitely think it took development, but by the latter couple books it had really filled in well. Howey apparently started it as a standalone novella that caught on, and he built on from there. The prequel is filling in some holes.

  3. Pingback: Just a quick heads up: Hugh Howey Interview | C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

  4. Ravenwood
    August 12, 2013

    Nice review; I’ll be cruising the Amazon before the day is out. Is the prequel series complete? I’d prefer to read Shift then go straight into Wool.

  5. Ravenwood
    August 12, 2013

    Done! And a pre-order of Dust.

  6. Grande Falcone
    August 12, 2013

    Right on, Ravenwood. It would be interesting to read it in chronological order, but I read Wool first and can’t unread it, so I must do so vicariously through you. Hope you enjoy!

  7. Ravenwood
    November 27, 2013

    So-far I’ve located seven (7) Presidential emergency facility silos in and around Washington DC. They are:

    Code Name Site Region/State
    Cactus Camp David Thurmont, Maryland
    Cannonball Cross Mountain Mercersburg, Pennsylvania
    Cowpuncher Martinsburg Roundtop Summit, WV
    Cartwheel Fort Reno Washington, D.C.
    Crystal Mt. Weather Berryville, Virginia
    Creed Site R (Raven Rock) Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
    Corkscrew Lamb’s Knoll Frederick County, Maryland

    I personally hiked onto the grounds of Corkscrew and was a bit in awe, having read the Silo series. The existence of these silos are today largely declassified by The White House Communications Agency.

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This entry was posted on July 3, 2013 by in Crossing Guard and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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