Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review: Wool by Hugh Howey

Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey
550 pages
Broad Reach Publishing
Nook Edition April 6, 2012
From the book description:
Thousands of them have lived underground. They've lived there so long, there are only legends about people living anywhere else. Such a life requires rules. Strict rules. There are things that must not be discussed. Like going outside. Never mention you might like going outside.
Or you'll get what you wish for.
Let me start by saying although I love science fiction, I’m not a fan of dystopian stories. So when such a novel overcomes my innate objections to this sub-genre, it has to have great characters, narrative, detail that makes it real, and a satisfying denouement. Wool hits all the points.
Howey’s character development is most impressive. I’m going to get a tad technical here, so please bear with me. Wool was written in third person limited, which means the only character whose head the reader should be able to see into is the point of view (POV) character for that scene or chapter. Here’s an example where Howey added flesh to another character through the eyes of the POV character:
Jahns glanced over and saw that her deputy's gaze had crept toward that dark crook in the hill. He covered his mouth with a fist of sharp knuckles and faked a cough.
    Most of all, it was the quality of the writing that allowed me to suspend my disbelief and ignore the some of my objections to the plausibility of the silo “world”—essentially an underground biosphere. I still wonder why Howey didn’t use geothermal energy and heating, the best source of power readily available to this underground environment that he created. One thing that made me buy into the author’s vision was his attention to detail while leaving enough for the reader to imagine and play with. I felt the reader needed this insight into how the silo could provide a livable environment that would support a viable population for hundreds of years.

    Even though most people don’t read such things as acknowledgments, I would have liked one, and was disappointed that it was missing from my edition. Perhaps there’s one in the print edition.

    This is one book that I will read more than once.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very excellent little story...grim, sad, dystopian, but incredibly well-written and satisfying.
    I shall now consider Hugh Howey as an author to watch out for.