Review of 'Wool'

Wool by Hugh Howey
1st book in the 'Silo' series

wool.jpg In a huge 140 story underground bunker, a society attempts to survive with only a video screen showing them the outside. After their sheriff is sent outside to perform a “cleaning” - Sent out through an airlock to clean the lenses that bring the outside to the inhabitants in a suit that fails after only a few minutes leaving an unknown biological agent free reign to quickly kill the cleaner - The mayor is forced to find a new sheriff. Her eyes turn to a talented mechanic from the depths of the bunker, Juliet, or “Jules” to her friends, of which she has many. After the beloved Jules reluctantly agrees and is promptly sent for cleaning, insurrection is not far behind…

An interesting post-apocalyptic story that focuses on a deception imposed in an attempt to ensure the survival of mankind. As is common with such books it serves as a warning to us all but at the same time provides for some really interesting dynamics between the characters: Bernard, the demanding, obstinate head of the IT department whose resource requirements are always given top priority to Jules, a intelligent young woman who wants to understand the world around her (and gets more than she bargained for) to Lukas, a would-be stargazer who falls for Jules but ends up in the IT department and privy to the most secret of secrets…but at a price.

It is a well thought-out book that obviously lends itself to sequels, of which there are two, “Shift” followed by “Dust” which explore the world Howey has developed and the social issues it raises: At what price survival? When, if ever, is a societal lie a good thing? From a technical perspective I appreciated here understanding how the world actually functions and how the political factions are kept in place, and the ramifications of it all. “Wool” does tend to drag a bit in the 2nd quarter but it definitely picks up as the blood starts flowing and the secrets are revealed…but not all, that is for the next books.

Easy to read and quite interesting, I will be definitely reading the sequels to see how this all turns out after where this (rather long at more than 530 pages in soft-cover) novel leaves us.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2021-02-20

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Arrow Books

Publication Date: 2013

ISBN: 9780099580485

Other reviewed books in the 'Silo' series: