Wool

Hugh Howey, Author
Hugh Howey. Simon & Schuster, $26 (538p) ISBN 978-1-4767-3511-5
Reviewed on: 04/01/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
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Former bookseller Howey examines the lives of a group that inhabits a massive underground silo that shelters them from the toxic wasteland outside in this interesting but poorly executed debut novel. Sheriff Holston makes sure that law and order are kept in the silo, especially if anyone breaks the most dreaded taboo: expressing a desire to go outside. Anyone who does is immediately condemned to a ritual called "cleaning", wherein they are sent to clean the cameras that project images from outside on the walls of the silo's upper floors. After Holston breaks the taboo, he is replaced by Juliette, an intelligent and hard-headed mechanic from the bowels of the silo with little interest in being sheriff. Juliette discovers information on Holston's hard drive that explains why he broke the taboo and leads her to believe that everyone has been lied to about the outside as well as the nature and purpose of the silo, starting a chain reaction that may bring the silo's tenuous grasp on existence to an end. Wool's success as a self-published e-book is not surprising given its one-two punch of post-apocalyptic wasteland and futuristic dystopia, but Howey's immaturity as a writer, especially the bland characters and conflict reminiscent of B-movies, overshadows his intriguing world. (Mar.)
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