REVIEW: Wool (Silo #1-5) by Hugh Howey

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars, Genre: Fiction/ Apocalyptic, Pages: 509, Reading Level: Easy

Book Description:

“In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared to whisper. Uprising.”

I listened to the audiobook of Wool Omnibus as I worked out and I really enjoyed it. I like the different voices (same narrator). The downside is I don’t have any quotes for you.

Wool takes place several hundred years after an apocalyptic event. Everyone is living in a silo due to the toxic environment outside. The one unforgivable crime is to want to go outside and if someone says he or she wants to go outside, that person is sentenced to cleaning. That means he or she is suited up and cleans the lenses that show what is outside. They are not allowed back in. It is a death sentence and everyone knows it, but everyone sentenced still cleans. Why? Wool Omnibus is the story about what happens when someone does not clean.

I have mentioned this before in a different genre but it deserves repeating here. I have read so much post-apocalyptic fiction that even though I still enjoy reading the genre, it is not uncommon for many of the stories to be similar. I was a bit concerned about that with Wool. However I was pleasantly surprised. I wish I had some quotes for you, but Wool did bring up some good discussion questions.

Warning: maybe some little spoilers.

For example, why is the book titled Wool? Is it because the cleaners use wool to clean the camera lenses? Or is it because someone is pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes? You’ll have to read the book to find out what the second question means.

Also, you could have a whole discussion about the silo. Why is it important that they live in a silo? Does it make a difference in the story? I’ll answer that. Yes it does. And it wasn’t what I expected. Let’s just say that I went into the story thinking one thing, and then later realized how wrong I had been. And when I discovered the truth, Wool turned into a whole different story as well as a brought up a reference to a much older apocalyptic story. Indeed, once I learned the truth, it made me view the entire situation much differently, persuading me to reconsider whose side I was on.

End of little spoilers.

I did have a couple of issues with Wool.

First, I wasn’t that into the few parts about fixing things. There was just too much detail for me. Obviously it wasn’t a big issue, but I didn’t find it that interesting.

Second, there are references toward dating and marriage but no explanation. I understand the next book is about how they get to the point in Wool, but particularly with the marriage situation, there were too many references for me with not enough explanation. It bothered me a bit.

Despite those two issues, the writing is great. I cared about all the characters, even the ones who only have brief appearances. In fact, I sometimes still thought about those characters long after they were gone. As far as I am concerned, that is good character development.

Give Wool a try. I didn’t want to stop listening. Even after my workout was done I was listened to the book as I made my breakfast, I listened as I cooked dinner, as I waited in the carpool line at my daughter’s school. It really is a good story.

Reviewed by Christina
October 26, 2013

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