Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Review: Wool by Hugh Howey

Wool (Wool, #1)
by Hugh Howey 

Genre: Sci-fi/Dystopia/Post-Apocalypse
Reading Grade: Adult (Novella)
Publication Date: July 29, 2011
Source: Kindle store
Age Rating: 16+

They live beneath the earth in a prison of their own making. There is a view of the outside world, a spoiled and rotten world, their forefathers left behind. But this view fades over time, ruined by the toxic airs that kill any who brave them.

So they leave it to the criminals, those who break the rules, and who are sent to cleaning. Why do they do it, these people condemned to death? Sheriff Holston has always wondered. Now he is about to find out.

My Review

I read about this story in a blog post somewhere (I forgot where). It's very short (12,000 words), yet was making waves like it's the next great sci-fi/dystopia out there for adult readers. I had to check out how this self-published novella got all these people so riveted over it.

  • Plot: Holston is an aging man, weighed down by his desperation over wanting to leave his home in an underground silo. His wife is already dead because she dared to break the stringent rules of their community, and the sentence was to go outside, above ground, and clean the lenses on the cameras that reveal the outside world's view. That outside world is filled with toxic gases that will destroy anything in minutes, so this punishment truly is a death sentence. But now Holston wants to follow in her footsteps. He wants to find out why she and all the others sentenced to clean the lenses have always followed through with cleaning them, as ordered, even though they all died shortly afterward. He wants to know what's really up on the surface outside.
  • Characters: It mostly centers around the very depressed Holston and why he's decided to willfully break a rule, despite being the silo sheriff, in order to get the cleaning sentence. His wife is featured in a few flashbacks, and she's an amazing character, what little we see of her. She's the one that got this ball rolling because she thought she found some evidence that computer files had been deleted or altered from previous generations. Did it mean their ancestors had lied to them? She ended up wanting to go outside so badly, she broke the rule of declaring she wanted to go out, and thus, got exactly what she wanted. That happened three years earlier, and now Holston is unable to live without her anymore. He wants to put all the pieces of the puzzle she left behind together and solve it, once and for all.
  • Writing: The writing is really top-notch. This author is quite good with words, not to mention his storytelling ability.
  • Story: And, now to mention that storytelling ability. Wow. This one is impressive. I finished it thinking, “I couldn't possibly hope to ever think up something like this. What a story!” It left me questioning so many things about the society Holston and Alison (his wife) had been raised in. And, the shocker at the end.... Yeah, not a happy ending, but it answers the question of why the cleaners always end up cleaning the lenses. Leaves you wondering a lot about stuff like, what did Holston do to get his sentence? I either missed it or can't remember. Who is really in charge down in that silo? Holston is the sheriff and there is a woman mayor, but she seemed so uniformed about stuff. Alison said the IT guys knew everything. Did they? There are sequel novellas, but I'm unsure if they reveal these answers.
  • Overall Quality: Super high! I don't think there was a thing wrong with it, unless you count how short it is.
  • Favorite Scene/Moment: I can't even reveal it to you because it is a major spoiler, but it happens at the end when Holston does finally go outside the silo, above ground to see the real world with his own eyes. Craziest fake-out ever. O__o
  • My Score: 5/5 stars. 


  1. I really enjoyed this one as well even though it's a bit depressing for my tastes. Definitely a quick and entertaining read though. I'm not sure if I want to continue the series though considering life in the silo doesn't seem all that interesting to me.

    1. @Lan: It is kind of depressing, but so clever! I might not continue to read the series, either because I've got too many other books to read. I am interested in where the story will go, though.

  2. Ooh, this sounds super good! I am struggling a bit with the book I am reading now, so I think I will download this one tonight and give myself a break from the novel. Can't wait to read this. Thanks for letting us know about it! I love a good short story or novella. I am esp intrigued that the MC is older. As much as I love YA, I also find reading adult POVs a nice break.

    1. @Camille: You're welcome! I'm not sure how old the MC is, but he's definitely not a spring chicken, lol. But, that works perfectly with this story and its themes. I hope you enjoy it...;)

  3. oh wow this is a fantastic review of this book! I've heard it being praised as an excellent story, but haven't heard WHY, so thank you for breaking it down. :) may have to get a copy of this one.

    Ashelynn @ gypsy book reviews.

    1. @Ash: Thank you very much! I'm glad I was able to pin-point why the story is so good. I tried my best. You may like it and it won't take much of your time to read at all. :)

  4. Yes, now I'm intrigued. Looks like I too might have to go download this one. I want to know what happens at the end.

  5. Have heard such great things about this one.


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