Wool is hard to put down. It starts out with this really eerie description of a future civilization that is living in a silo because the air outside is poison. There’s a strict justice system and anyone who violates the rules is put outside “to clean.” Cleaning means before you die, you’re given wool pads and cleaner and expected to clean the only window with a view of the outside world.
Wool is a self-published novel that was originally written in five parts. The full novel is referred to as the Omnibus Edition. Wool is the first part of a trilogy called The Silo Series.
When the story begins, Holston is the silo’s sheriff and he’s devastated because his wife was put out to clean not too long ago. She discovered a secret about the outside world that he’s been trying to figure out. So he goes outside to clean. Only he doesn’t find what he expected…
There’s a ton more to this story but the fun is in finding it out yourself. Hugh Howey wrote this book in sections, so there are a lot of cliffhangers built into the story. And this is only book one of a trilogy. Is the government lying? What is the IT department hiding? Is the air outside really poisoned?
The silo is a building with hundreds of floors, all built around a rotating stairwell. If you like world-building and dystopian fiction, this is one of the best. I was fascinated by how this shut-in society works – with limited resources, the government has to ensure that people are fed, that order is maintained, that everyone contributes their part. And to keep all this going, secrets are kept.
Howey creates complex characters in Juliette, Lukas, Mayor Jahns, and Sheriff Holston. It’s an action-oriented book but the characters keep you interested.
As someone who doesn’t read a ton of science fiction, I found this book fun to read and thoughtful as well. The book may not satisfy hard science fiction buffs (although my husband liked it). But if you’re intimidated by science fiction, this may be a good read for you.
All in all, Wool is an exciting book that also gave me a lot to think about.
Note: It’s SciFi November over at Rinn Reads, and she’s got lots of recommendations for good science fiction reads.