Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bookshelf: Hugh Howey

A few months ago I went home to visit my father. We were supposed to go to the driving range and hit a few balls but he refused to go until I read an article that he'd cut out of the Boston Globe about authors who self-publish online and have great success. The first article he cut out was about author Hugh Howey and his book "Wool". After reading the article I decided to pick the book up. It was advertised as "The Hunger Games for adults". That statement was hugely misleading. There are no fight to the death to survive games in this book and it doesn't take place outside in a manipulated landscape. Instead, we are in the post-apocalyptic future where people live in huge underground silos. If a person mentions that they "want out" then they get stuck in a astronaut-like suit and shoved out the door into the wasteland that was once Altanta. And then the toxic atmosphere attacks them and they die in view of the monitors so everyone in the silo can know what fate awaits them if they even hint at wanting to leave. When the silo's sheriff decides to follow his wife out of the silo the mayor and deputy head down the 130 flights of stairs to the "down deep" in search of a tough cookie named Juliette to fill the empty position. Once she ascends the stairs Juliette stumbles upon secrets hidden by the IT department that it seems IT is willing to kill to keep hidden.

I have to admit that it took me about 150 pages to really get into the book. I just wasn't connecting with the characters in the beginning and even though there was definitely stuff happening, the plot felt slow and stagnant. But then Juliette entered the story and I was hooked. I even recommended it to a coworker for her next book group read. The last third of the book was go, go, go and it jumps from one character's perspective to the next (which I love), which helped move the plot along quickly and also kept me on the edge of my seat. Overall, I am really glad I read this book and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who likes dystopian novels. One word of warning, the book may make you feel claustrophobic. It affected me, reading about being stuck in a buried silo with no fresh air. Perhaps we should take the premise to heart and work more diligently on using renewable resources?

Happy Reading!

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