ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



October 2023



Wool by Hugh Howey

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Three Stars

Best for:
Those who like their science fiction without a ton of world-building

In a nutshell:
The Silo is a 130+ story underground bunker, housing 10,000 people. Juliette is a mechanic there who ends up discovering more about this world than she is meant to.

Worth quoting:
(Nothing jumped out at me.)

Why I chose it:
I thoroughly enjoyed the first season of Silo, which is roughly based on the first third or so of this book.

What it left me feeling:

I know everyone has their own ratings, and for some, a three star review is almost like damning with faint praise. But for me, three stars is a decent book. And for me, this was a decent book. It did take me three months to finish though; I think there was just too much in it, but I understand the arc of the story that Howey wanted to tell in one go.

The premise of the book is fairly simple – in a place that may or may not be earth (and might be the US), a few thousand people live in what they call the Silo. The Silo is 130+ stories underground. There are no windows, save one projection of a small camera that shows the outside world, which is gray and bleak.

No one is allowed outside, ostensibly because the air will kill them. Which serves as a handy punishment – anyone who is said to have uttered the words “I want to go outside” is sent out to clean. Cleaning means wiping any accumulated dust from the one camera on the outside, and then basically dying from the elements.

The main focus of the story is Juliette, who is a mechanic who is asked the replace the sheriff, who was sent out to clean three years after his own wife is sent out. I can’t say more without spoiling it, but I will say that Juliette wasn’t wrong to be concerned about taking on that new world.

The broader issues of the book explore authority, class hierarchies, and knowledge. What do people deserve to know? What is reasonable for the government to hold back? Anything? And who should be trusted with power?

If you’ve seen the TV series, there are some differences in the book. I also didn’t expect the book to cover the same ground as the TV series so quickly. And because I’ve seen the show, the characters now are the actors in my mind, which is a bit limiting.

I did enjoy this, and will be reading the next book soon.

Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it:
Keep – my partner wants to read it.

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