As promised, I finally finished reading Wool and I'm reviewing it today. For me, this is my favorite novel of the year and probably will become one of my all time favorite books. When people asked what I was reading, I'd tell them the basic plot in a few minutes and then expended on it for much longer! At the end I'd add that it's the kind of book I wish I'd written. That really just goes to show how this book made me feel. Luckily, there are two more books, so I won't have to say goodbye to it just yet!
If you are currently looking for a good, length book to take away on holiday, then I'd so recommend Wool. I'm taking the second one away with me next week. The minute you start reading, you get gripped into the world and the characters' lives. This carries on through out the novel and at the end it leaves you wanting more. I think what most surprise me about this novel is that though it's genre is dystopia everyone can read and understand it. This is because the force is mostly on the characters and their discovers about the world they live in. The dystopia does come through strongly throughout, but as the action deepens for the characters you just get lost in what's happening to them, more then the background.
My second surprise was that the Silo series is actually nine novellas divided into three books and that the first one was self-publishing on Amazon Kindle. The book become popular and Hugh Howey wrote more and got a publishing deal. He's now also signed the rights to movie. It'll be interesting to see that when it comes out. Once again though, its interesting to see that there is a growing trend of writers being picked up via self-publishing.
The plot of the novel appears simple on the surface: the earth has become inhabitable and people have moved underground. They live in silos which are carefully divided up and go deep down into the earth. They live by strict rules and most of them are fine with that. Those that break the rules get sent outside to clean the cameras the allow the people keep an eye on the outside world. They are also destined to die.
The first novella, Wool, tells the story of sheriff Holston and his wife. They uncover a part of the silo's and the world's past that has been hidden away. They can't really tell this secret and it ends up sending them both outside to clean. This secret is then re-discovered by two other people; Jules and Lukas, whom the second and third novella's follow the stories of. I'd love to write more about the plot, but I really don't want to give anything away!
- The characters are really well written and they are easy to get along with. The background characters also come across as being realistic and they all add a lot to the plot. I really loved all the characters and could connect with each one. Jules was my favorite though and she is an awesome female character. With her being the main character, a lot of time is spent with her, but this works out nicely because of the things she uncovers. The antagonist characters (bad/evil) are understandable too and you do start to see things from their point of view, even though their actions seem wrong.
- The narrative is all third person and switches between a group of characters. This works out well because all the points of the plot get covered and a lot of characters get to share their experiences, (as it were). The characters voices can be heard clearly through the dialogue, which is also really well written. It has a gritty realist feel to it and all the voices come across as being very different from each other. Something else I liked about this novel. The narrative flows well between the different scenes and the words feel like they have a lot of movement. Some jargon and science fiction terms/words are used, but nothing heavy and they are easily explained. That just adds to the world that Howey has created.
- Lastly, the imagery that gets created by this novel is big. It feels like there's a lot going on all the time, but because of all the description and details, the images are easy to create in your mind. It's not overburdened with them and just feels right for this kind of work. I can easily see how this would make a good movie and when reading it almost feels like watching one.
- Overall, I would strongly recommend Wool to everyone. The dystopia genre might not appeal to everyone, but this novel is about a lot more then that. It's about family, friends, survival and choosing your own destiny. The novel is wonderfully written, the characters are so realistic and the plot is hard gripping. I'm so looking forward to reading the next books now.
Image from: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wool-Trilogy-1-Hugh-Howey/dp/0099580489