loveallthis’s #cbr4 reviews 26, 27, 28: Wool Omnibus, First Shift, Second Shift
(cross-posted from my blog.)
My last three reviews of the year! Finished the half-Cannonball. Phew.
26 / Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey
I’ve read a lot of sci-fi. I’ve read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction. I’ve read a lot of straight fiction (or what we might call “drama”), suspense, and a few mysteries. Comparatively, the Wool Omnibus (which is a collection of five short novels self-published by the author) is one of the best in its field.
Ten or so thousand people live in an underground “silo,” a cylindrical city bored 150 stories deep into the earth. The air outside will kill you, so criminals sentenced to death are sent outside, to “clean” the sensors that let the silo’s inhabitants know it’s still bad out there. You’ll learn all this in the first five pages, and I really don’t want to tell you more.
Imaginative, thrilling, with well-drawn characters and a compelling world, Wool also happens to fall into one of my favorite sub-genres: The Book in Which the Backstory is the Real Story. I’m such a sucker for it. While spinning a contained narrative that stands well on its own, Howey simultaneously reveals the history of the silo, its inhabitants, and the greater world with exquisite skill.
I recommended this book more in the last couple of months than any other in recent memory. It’s insanely readable.
Five stars. One of my favorites this year.
27 / First Shift – Legacy by Hugh Howey
This series just keeps getting better: prequel slash simultaneous timeline FTW! (See also: Ender’s Shadow.)
If you finished Wool with more questions than answers, like I did, First Shift will do a great job at answering most of those questions and creating a ton more.
A slighter book than Wool, this kicks off the prequel series with style (and quite a bit of action).
28 / Second Shift – Order by Hugh Howey
Darker and twistier. I love it.
Following Wool and First Shift, Second Shift continues exploring a timeline parallel to the original story to great, cliffhanger-y effect.
Five stars. Can’t wait for the next installment.