Thursday, 14 March 2013

Cannonball Read #8: Wool by Hugh Howey

Good books suck. They keep you reading, dying to find out what happens next, but the more you read, the closer to the end of the journey you get. And when you finally reach the end, you wish you had taken a little more time to look around, listen to the bird song and smell the flowers, that you had made the journey longer somehow.

Hugh Howey's Wool is such a book. The blurb on the back cover of the book claims it is a science fiction book, but if I had to describe it I would probably say it was a dystopian fantasy set in the future. At the core of the story is our heroine, Juliette. Juliette has just become the new sheriff for the top levels of an underground, 130 level deep silo, which is the home of a whole society. These people have lived there for ages and know no other truth than the silo around them. The only thing they know about the outside world is that it is dangerous, the air filled with toxic fumes. They also know that they can get sent out there to ”clean” (that is, die) if they break the rules.

Then Juliette, a strong, curious woman, starts asking the wrong kinds of questions which lands her in all sorts of trouble. To reveal anything more about the plot would spoil the fun, but suffice it to say that there is never a dull moment. The story is excellently paced, keeping you on the edge of your seat, yet without rushing the plot forward. And, if you are so inclined, it can get you thinking about the power (and dangers) of knowledge.

My only -minor- complaint about this book was that...

* Spoilers! *

Because Howey wrote the book as a series, the protagonists of the first couple of books disappear pretty quickly, creating some confusion as to whom we are supposed to be following. But that is only really an issue for a small part of the book, and the rest of it more than makes up for this minor ”flaw”.

* /Spoilers *

At 540 pages, you would think that this omnibus edition would feel like a very long read, but it only left me wanting more. Thankfully, the follow-up to Wool, Shift, is due out soon. Until then, I will have to find some other book to satisfy my cerebral wanderlust.

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