Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1) by Hugh Howey
***In preparation for Dust, the final piece of the silo saga, I have just finished my re-read of Wool…one year and one month after first discovering this amazing story. There were 1600 ratings on Amazon at that time–now there are over 6000 5 star reviews! If you haven’t caught on yet, it’s time to. You must read Wool!***
Okay, here’s your challenge: Search through Amazon and find me a book with over 1600 PERFECT 5 star ratings. Trust me, you won’t find many. One that is on that short list is Wool by Hugh Howey–and it’s there for good reason. The Wool books are exceptional! It’s the little indie book that could, despite the weird name!
Consider . . .
Your entire world is a huge underground silo, 148 levels straight down into the earth. No elevator, only a giant top-to-bottom spiral staircase. No one even knows what life was like when people actually lived aboveground–those people have been dead for centuries. Life goes on underground in the silo.
Everyone has a job–you might wear white overalls and work in the nurseries where babies are born to parents who’ve won a lottery to allow them to try for children. Maybe you wear green and work in the gardens, where you manage the food supply. Maybe you are assigned to wear the blue of mechanical, and you live in the downdeep–the very bottom. It’s your job to keep the lights on, the air breathable, and the pumps running. Maybe the mysterious red-wearing IT? What do they do exactly? No one knows for sure, but part of their job is to develop the suits you must wear if you’ve committed a crime worthy of the ultimate punishment: CLEANING.
In your world, if you should dare to even vocalize that you want to leave the silo, you are immediately obliged–and banished into the toxic and deadly aboveground. Your last task? To clean the cameras that broadcast the view outside the silo to the belowground world. IT swears that this time they’ve solved the problems, that the suit will provide protection for you to survive . . . that the seals will hold . . . that you won’t die a horrible death when the suit fails and the toxic aboveground air floods into your lungs. After all these years, they still haven’t successfully developed a suit that works. Strangely, there is always just enough time for the cleaning before the suit fails and the criminal dies, collapsed into a miserable pile on the dead grass outside–right in front of the camera–where the body remains eternally, visible to all who remain in the silo below. . .
This is the world of Wool, and you should already have a strong suspicion that everything is not exactly as it seems . . . at least, not how THEY want it to seem . . .
The writing is outstanding and the characters are rich. The imagery is vivid and the pace of the action, especially in the last 1/3, is edge of your seat exciting. Seriously, a few times I had to look up and take some deep breaths to gather myself–I was stressed out!
Unfortunately there is some language–mostly from one character. Looking back, I can see that the language helped to define this character, and as the stress built to the climax and this character’s language got more colorful, I could feel him spiraling out of control. I would have preferred to not have the language, but in this book it wasn’t a deal breaker for me.
The writing in Wool took me to another place. I completely enjoyed reading this book. I’m putting it on my best ever shelf, and giving it my highest recommendation–I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t love reading Wool!