Thursday, March 14, 2013

WOOL by Hugh Howey


Humanity has survived an apocalypse in an underground silo, but they don't know what's really going on above the surface.


Hugh Howey's Wool has gotten a lot of attention lately, which it deserves. I recently recommended this book to my sister as the best page-turner I've read in a long time. In the five-part Omnibus edition (it was originally released as serial e-novellas) we are introduced to the silo, an underground tower where a large community survives after an apocalypse they know little (or nothing) about. Although their lives are closely regulated, a few people notice suspicious coincidences and embark on investigations that prove to be dangerous - and even deadly.

The novellas take place chronologically with intersecting characters and story lines. Each main character shares a common desire to learn the truth, though their motivations are varied and personal. The relationships between the characters are complex and often moving, even as they are dealing with issues that turn out to be much bigger than themselves. The silo itself is a fascinating place, divided into over a hundred levels and connected by a massive central staircase (there is no elevator). Everyone wears coveralls corresponding with their jobs, creating factions and identities within the larger community. It's a fresh take on a post-apocalyptic scenario that will likely appeal to people who are not necessarily hardcore sci-fi fans.

The writing style is both economical and vivid. Howey uses carefully placed details to evoke an entire world without wasting words. The inhabitants of the silo have a unique vocabulary that adds authenticity to their world. Howey tackles some big ideas through the voices of his characters, making Wool more than just a good story. He poses philosophical questions throughout the narrative that keep you reading and dig into your mind long after you turn off your Kindle.



The Wool Omnibus (1-5) is $3.99 for the Kindle edition. I would have happily paid that just for the first story.


What makes you unable to put down a book? Do you think a good novel must pose deeper questions about the human condition or is it enough for it to be engaging to the last page?


  1. A page-turner, for me, must have likeable characters. Many books are populated by selfish or evil characters so that, no matter how intriguing the plot, I don't really care what happens to them. "Host" by Stephenie Meyer is a story that kept me engaged because I liked both main characters (trapped in the same body) AND the philosophical questions about what makes humanity worth saving.

  2. I think he is a talented author and I think he is going to go far based on the number of people who loved this book. And if it became a movie, I probably would go watch it.

  3. I loved this book and I am invested in completing the series. I look forward to reading other works by this author.


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