I was scanning the books aligned on the thrift store’s tall metal shelves, when out of the corner of my eye I see a beautiful two-inch book spine peeking up at me from the bottom of the racks. I looked down at the brown, orange-speckled book and reached for it. What mainly drew me to the this particular novel was not the color or the size of the book, but rather the title: Wool. It seemed like a peculiar word to stamp on the front of a book. The title was so enticing that I did not even bother to read the summary provided on the back of the novel. I carried my find over to the register and I soon then became the proud new owner of a beautiful copy of the novel Wool by Hugh Howey.
Wool tells the story of a civilization of people living in an underground silo after nuclear bombs have left the ground above uninhabitable. This book starts off by telling about the untimely death of a silo sheriff, Holston. The death of this beloved sheriff leaves an open position in need of a replacement; bringing in a fiery mechanic from the “down deep” of the silo, Juliette, to fill in as Holston’s replacement. As Juliette begins to settle in to her new job she discovers a trail of clues that lead into prohibited territory and may have even been the cause of not only one but three deaths. This book is a beautiful tale telling of loss and sacrifice, reward and punishment, and how one woman changed the lives of hundreds with one choice.
Lets Discuss Dystopians
There currently is a trend in the book industry of dystopian novels (i.e. The Hunger Gams, The Maze Runner, Divergent, Matched, etc.), and Wool is no different. By this point in time most people are tired of reading the same theme over and over and over again, but I for one really enjoy dystopian books. I really love reading other people’s ideas about what they believe the world will be like when most of the human race is wiped away. It’s fascinating.
Crazies in this Book
Wool has a very interesting premise, because of Howey’s idea to place people into silos. The living situation of the civilization in Wool is radical and very frustrating — there are too many stairs to climb. However, as you read deeper and deeper into the book you realize that Howey is a genius. The people in the book are put through psychological strain and abuse. Their lives are controlled and planned out. The persons to blame for all that happens to the civilization of Wool take certain measures that are initialy placed to maintain peace among the people, but also keep people in the silo under a mesmerizing trance. The psychological aspect of this book is what kept me coming back to it. Not the characters or the plot, but the behaviors and the state of mind of everyone involved.
Where are my Answers?!
However, no matter how amazingly intricate the writing is, there still were far too many unanswered questions at the end of this book. I found myself puzzling over little things that Howey could have easily answered with a small paragraph inserted into the book. For example, there is big talk concerning “The Pact” in the book, but not once did Howey reference this pact or inform the readers of the pact’s contents. From what I gathered it is a document that states laws all citizens must follow, but that is all I really know. I would have enjoyed an excerpt from the pact or an explanation of what it contains.
A Third of it was Unnecessary
Overall, Wool was a good story. It had great bones and had so much potential, but I don’t believe Howey milked Wool as much as he could have. Oftentimes, the author spent too much time explaining minor, unimportant details that didn’t matter. I think the book could have been about 200-250 pages shorter. Seriously, a third of the book could have been tossed. I think it took me a month to get through Wool because I would find myself reading it, but totally uninterested in the the shape of wrenches or the different scuff marks on the stairs. There is such a thing as too much detail, if you don’t believe me read
The Good, the Bad, and the Rating.
So, I liked the psychological aspect, didn’t much care for the characters, my questions went unanswered, but I would give him another shot (only if this time his book is under 300 pages). But I do have to give Wool a 3 out of 5 stars. Not the best, but not the worst.
Lets Leave on a Positive Note
Howey has a great thing going; his writing is so smooth and picturesque that you actually picture yourself climbing the stairwell, or standing in the engine room of the silo. Howey breathes life into his characters. While I don’t think I would read Wool again, I would definitely give anything else Howey writes a go. Howey has a deep, resounding voice that will echo for years to come.
Please come again