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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Society in a Silo: an entangling start to a series
I try to only give 5 to books I really feel are original, powerful, hard to put down, with well-written characters.

And yes, Wool is all of these things. I love the title, which takes on more than one meaning as the layers of the story are uncovered. I loved the gradual reveal of the truth of the lives the characters are living and the way I can picture the...
Published 6 months ago by K. J. Noyes

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars She went down the 9,999 steps, forgot the dog, went back up the 9,999 steps......
Wool is set in an apocalyptic future. In a world smothered in toxic fumes we are introduced to the inhabitants of a silo which extends over a hundred storeys down into the earth. A world where people are divided into castes according to their occupations. A world where survival is dependent upon rigidly enforced discipline, where transgression is punished by being forced...
Published 3 months ago by P. G. Harris


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Society in a Silo: an entangling start to a series, 10 Jan 2014
By 
K. J. Noyes "Katy Noyes" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wool (Wool Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
I try to only give 5 to books I really feel are original, powerful, hard to put down, with well-written characters.

And yes, Wool is all of these things. I love the title, which takes on more than one meaning as the layers of the story are uncovered. I loved the gradual reveal of the truth of the lives the characters are living and the way I can picture the silo and the long, long walk from one end to the other. I love the way characters you were feeling strongly sympathetic towards were suddenly and brutally despatched.

But most of all, the story. Something has happened to our world. It must have done. A group of people are living in a 160-floor silo under the ground, have never left, work and rest and live within its confines. Segregated into sections within their own society, this group has classes - those closest to the top being the white collar classes, the mechanics keeping it all together being the 'working stiffs' in the depths.

Order must be maintained. And so every few years a dissenter/rule breaker is found guilty and sent out to 'clean' - clean the camera lenses that act as the only window on the world the silo inhabitants possess.

It is only after one such cleaning, of the silo's much respected widower Sheriff, that repressed feelings begin to bubble to the surface as a mechanic from the depths, Juliette, is offered the vacant post.

Very cinematic, you can picture the setting, the characters, clearly. It's a wonderful dystopian fiction that is frightening in the realism it contains: how this really COULD happen to us.

Juliette is a wonderful female role, an Ellen Ripley / Katniss Everdeen heroine, surrounded by a full complement of society's inhabitants. The book is long, but once you see more of the overall picture of Howey's, it's a story you relish will take 500 pages. And of course. It's a series, and ends on a note that leads you to want to follow the story further.

Don't be put off by the length, Wool is worth getting tangled up in.
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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I got lost in the silo, 15 Jun 2013
By 
Marie (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wool (Wool Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
Life is good in the silo. The people are friendly, food is plentiful, healthcare is readily available when needed. Those in charge are democratically elected and take their office on the top floor. A skilled IT department keeps channels of communication open throughout. And the whole silo is kept ticking over by the engineers in Mechanical, deep in the belly of the Earth. Just one look at the screens projecting video images of the bleak, uninhabitable landscape outside, and the inhabitants of the silo know how good they've got it. There are always some crazy folk who question this from time to time. How did the silo get here? What exactly is out there, out of view of the lens? These ungrateful dissenters are punished by being cast out with a woolen cloth to clean the cameras so that everyone else can continue to enjoy the view - fated to certain death. But one day sheriff Holston, the sensible and much-respected warden of the silo, joins the dissident ranks and chooses to go outside. This sets in motion a chain of events that shake the foundations of the entire community.

Wool is actually an omnibus of five short stories that were originally published separately but you can barely see the joins. I can see how books one and two worked as standalone novellas, but by the time you hit book three everything merges seamlessly. And it's a good job, too, because had I been reading this at the time of publication I don't think I would have been able to bear sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happens in the next installment! He spins a hell of a yarn.

Howey has created such a unique and intricate setting in the silo. It's fascinating to have the whole world condensed into one single underground warren. He clearly has a good understanding of sociology and politics, and deftly illustrates both the physical and social hierarchies that exist between the different cliques of inhabitants.

I also particularly appreciated the effort put into characterisation. Howey flits between different points of view but each individual is so well-developed that I was reluctant to leave them behind when it came to the next chapter. So many favourites - Holston, heartbroken after the death of his wife. The wise Mayor Jahns. Feisty mechanic Juliette. Old Walker, the reclusive electrician who's a secret genius.

I'm so glad I picked this up as it's a really satisying tale to get tangled up in. I certainly feel that Wool deserves the great reviews it has received and would be enjoyed by many readers, even those who aren't usually attracted to sci-fi/dystopian fiction.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars She went down the 9,999 steps, forgot the dog, went back up the 9,999 steps......, 1 April 2014
By 
P. G. Harris - See all my reviews
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Wool is set in an apocalyptic future. In a world smothered in toxic fumes we are introduced to the inhabitants of a silo which extends over a hundred storeys down into the earth. A world where people are divided into castes according to their occupations. A world where survival is dependent upon rigidly enforced discipline, where transgression is punished by being forced into the hostile external environment and a swift death.

Wool started life as a series of self published novellas, and it origins show in the episodic feel of the early chapters where we are introduced first to Sheriff Holston, and then to mayor Jahns, who strut and fret their hours upon the stage and then are heard no more. After their departures the rest of the book is given over to Juliette, a mechanical engineer in a world run by IT, and her literally star-crossed lover, Lukas.

As the novel progresses,the true nature of the world is slowly revealed as Juliette goes through a series of physical trials before finally confronting her blandly evil nemesis, the terrifyingly named........ Bernard.

There is much to be admired about Wool. It is an original concept (putting aside thoughts of HG Wells' molochs) and a well realised world. However, for me it somehow didn't really work. I think I can work out why it doesn't from one of the positive reviews. The Daily Express is quoted as saying that it is one of dystopian fiction's masterpieces alongside the likes of 1984 and Brave New World. Therein lies the problem. Those works were, like all great speculative fiction, like Philip K Dick, allegorical, using a world of fantasy to comment on contemporary society, or on some facet of human nature.

Wool doesn't do that. It is purely a work of world building, and as such, needs to stand on its own. Seen through that lens, the holes start to appear. The physical environment is 130 storeys deep. Lets say what,12ft a tier, thats 1560ft. Why does its take days to walk up or down ? Why just one staircase? Why are the farms so far from the surface? Why are there no lifts? The closer one looks, the less coherent the narrative becomes, and above all, one question, everybody ejected for crimes dutifully cleans the sensors which enable the inhabitants to see outside, before dying. WHY? The explanation given doesn't make any sense. Which is problematic for something so central to the plot.

The writing style didn't engage me either. First it needs a damn good editor, there is just too much mundane detail. Secondly the narrative switches between different observers, with virtually every one ending on a cliffhanger. Eventually that destroys rather than creating tension. Thirdly Juliette's adventures get repetitive. She does something dangerous. Initially all goes well. Then something goes wrong. Then by superhuman effort she gets out of it. Finally, the slow reveal of what is going on didn't create any tension for me. I just found myself thinking, "Oh for goodness sake explain your scenario, then get on with the story.

So, its ok. It's not a light read, it's fairly grim, there are some interesting ideas, but it could do with being more coherent, and with moving more quickly. In the end its a bit of a shaggy dog story, a lot of repetitive detail, but not quite worth the pay off in the end. It's definitely not 1984 or Brave New World, more like Logans Run written with vague memories of having read Lord of the Flies at school.
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70 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wool has been an amazing experience,, 2 Feb 2013
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wool (Wool Trilogy 1) (Hardcover)
Review

Wool has been an amazing experience, the book started out for me as one mans emotional turmoil in a desolate world. It then led me to see and then feel the inner workings of the power structure of the Silo. All of this was engaging as a story, but it wasnt until the screen was peeled back that you began to see and experience the true 1984 style control surrounding the lives of everyone in the silo.

The Silo is one huge air tight world, an organism that functions only as long as every part functions properly, as long as there is a back up ready to take its place or to fix a problem. Disease cannot be allowed to fester and ideas are a disease. This is a world of do your job, live your life and don't question the world at large. This is how the end of the world looks and it's a scary sight.

This story is high tension, high stress and a bloody scary look at humanity in a confined space. It's not a book I can say I loved, but its a book I can say made me think and think and think, its a book you experience as much as you read it. I would highly recommend this book to all readers

(Parm)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blinking addictive!, 10 Dec 2013
By 
Liz Wilkins "Lizzy11268" (England) - See all my reviews
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In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo's rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

So I'm aware that this was originally written in parts and this is the whole brought together in one volume - I am actually immensely grateful that this did not appear on my radar earlier because it would have driven me absolutely insane to have to wait for each new instalment - ok I am pretty insane most of the time anyway, but still.

Wool is that rarest of things - a completely character driven dystopian novel. Its a beautifully written one at that. The pace is fairly slow but oh so compelling - as we meet various characters living in the Silo, a lot of whom for one reason or another start to doubt the facts they have been living with. Endlessly fascinating, this little snapshot of a life led in one place and in one way, following very specific rules whose purpose seem to have been lost in the mists of time, its a living breathing thing.

Of course that is not all there is to it by any means. The world building here is also superb but rather than extensive descriptive passages, we see pretty much all of it through the eyes of our characters - as they move through the various levels of the Silo and a wider picture emerges. The various aspects of the life they lead, the social structures and different communities that make up the whole. Some familiar themes are woven into the narrative - power, responsibility, rebellion and realisation - at times its emotive stuff - you will come to know these people well.

As our protagonists start to learn more about the realities, what came before, what is being hidden, it is absolutely addictive - I could barely put it down. Absolutely brilliant writing.

I am so pleased that I still have two more novels to go - I believe the next one is in the way of being a "prequel" and that the last will pull all the various strands of the tale together. I can't wait to see the whole picture. I really can't. Highly recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise, but as dramatic as could be, 25 Nov 2013
By 
Nikola (Slovenia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wool (Wool Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
Sci-fi in undisclosed year in a future, describing life in a silo, where human population obviously escaped from the problems on Earth surface or in atmosphere. We are following few characters and some things are slowly (hey, its a trilogy) becoming clear to us.

It started quite well, and first part of the book would deserve better rating. However, things get slower with time, and I could not say I cared too much about characters. Also, some "action sequences" are described in too many details - I dont mind action, but we have some descrptions of dramatic sequences over several pages, while you are almost sure the characters will make it... the drama is lost with that.

3 stars from me, and I will think about reading next two. Many good books on my reading list...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow, failed to hold my interest, 30 Mar 2014
I know a lot of people like this series. It failed to keep my interest i'm afraid. I lost patience waiting for something original or interesting to happen. Pity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wool, 13 Jun 2013
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OMG this book is so different to anything I've read recently. I immediately bought the second part. It seems like your typical 'apocalypse' story except how it happened and where the survivors end up living. It is brilliant. The second book is a prequel to this one and it explains a lot! The individual characters story lines are written with care and lots of detail. I love that.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice idea but..., 21 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Wool (Wool Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
I picked up Wool after hearing many good things about it.

I really like the basic idea of the Silo (an underground bunker which the remnants of humanity live in hundreds of years in the future) and the possible world beyond it. The mystery of this world is what kept me turning pages - I was intrigued by the overall concept and eager to find out more about the silo and how it came about.

However, in many ways the book was disappointing. The characters were very thin, with the exception of Juliette, who was the one character I cared about. Aside from her we have a pantomime villain and, in my opinion, a very unlikeable love interest.

The central love story seemed utterly unbelievable to me. The male character at first seems to be some sort of cool, enigmatic stranger but pretty soon seems to have turned into an annoying, angst-ridden, easily-led dimwit. Why on earth would a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman fall for this guy?

The other main issue was that the book had very long passages which were intended to be tense situations but which in fact were incredibly boring. These usually involved a character having to work out some intricate combination of electronics to make something work or go through a painstaking number of steps to remove protective clothing (imagine a very slow moving Houdini with a toolkit). One scene in particular, set in water, seemed to go on forever, with absolutely no tension because the character was obviously going to be fine.

Finally, I don't often see twists/surprises coming in books but there is one "reveal" very near the end which had me cringing due to its obviousness.

Overall, the thin characters and love story makes me think this would have been a good young adult title... but for the fact that it is far too long and slow. Unfortunately, the sometimes clunky writing prevents a nice scenario from becoming interesting.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 19 Oct 2013
As a huge fan of dystopian and post-apocalyptic literature, I came to Wool by Hugh Howey with high hopes. The book has been lavished with praise since it's episodic release as a self-published e-book and has garnered massive numbers of positive reviews across the net. I am saddened to report that the hype sucked me in and I was expecting much more than what I got. Although I have tried to keep them to a minimum, his review may contain minor spoilers, so read with caution.

Set in an underground silo hundreds of years in the future, the story follows a number of main characters. A huge concrete tube has been burrowed into the earth and inside it thousands of survivors subsist in relative comfort. They have numerous different levels in which to live, specialising in farming, mechanical, bazaars, child-care and many more. The story follows the unravelling of the silo community as a number of dark secrets are slowly revealed to its residents.

As already mentioned, the book was originally released in episodes via Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing. This is evident during the first two chapters of the book which are quite different in tone and approach to the main chunk of the story. First we follow the sheriff, Holston, as he voluntarily sacrifices his life in order to brave the toxic 'up top' atmosphere in order to ensure the silo continues to maintain a live feed of the desolate outside landscape. Upon Holston succumbing (with a twist) to the hazardous toxins outside, we briefly trek the silo with the aged mayor Jahns and her old flame as she searches for a suitable replacement. Until she dies as well. The majority of the book thereafter follows the newly elected sheriff, Juliette, as she acclimatises herself with her new role, finds her self in trouble and is then cast out of the silo to die. She doesn't, though, and much action and revelation follows.

I think the book's episodic nature shines through despite the amalgamation into one full tome and found this jarring, especially at the start of the book with the rapid turnover of characters. I think the short story that starts the book was originally meant as a standalone short with no further progression until the book's success convinced the author to expand it into a full-length novel. The author has since made a shedload of cash from his story and even sold the film rights to Ridley Scott, the former sci-fi master who more recently sullied the Alien franchise with the release of Prometheus. I, personally, however, feel that the promising foundation of the book did not have the scope to fill a full-length novel, never mind a trilogy - a word that sends shivers down my spine when associated with modern literature. There is a short peak in the middle of the book, around the time of the big reveal involving Lukas and Juliette's first steps in the outside world, that grab your attention and force you onwards, but unfortunately they are drowned out by uninteresting filler. Soon after these riveting scenes the book descends into a pretty poor action segment as the uprising begins, for me at least, at the drop of a hat.

Howey has a tendency to overwrite much of his narrative. This leads to overly long and repetitive descriptions of mundane actions such as climbing or descending the silo's stairs, pains in the thighs from these ascents/descents, in-depth mechanical explanations, and even a huge paragraphs about air bubbles in an underwater scene near the end of the book. One thing that grated on me is how Howey regularly uses more than one metaphor/analogy to describe a single item, action or object. A flooded staircase, for example, is described thusly: 'that tall column of water, that flooded straw, that sunken stairway' which to me is needlessly wordy. A more choosy editor could likely have shortened this effort dramatically and made the delivery far more punchy. Another thing I found grating was Howey's insistence on using mechanical terms in metaphors/analogies. I can see why he did this, what with most of the characters being mechanics, but most of his choices often seemed amateur and weak. A dog wagging its tail is lengthily likened to an air-filled hose flopping around the floor having been dropped - the wagging of the dog's tail is inconsequential, why go into such detail about it in the first place?

I had other problems with what I was reading that weren't related to the author's choice of language. Your suspension of disbelief will be tested to its limits. The love interest that a large portion of the story hinges on is unbelievable love-at-first-sight guff reminiscent of a pulpy Mills and Boons style tale. The residents of the silo, despite having spent hundreds of years underground, deprived of much of the knowledge and literature we currently possess, acted as normally as any sane aboveground person living today. Surely, given the fact that the residents of the silo believe elephants to be imaginary beasts, they would act and behave far differently to present day people and be far more ignorant in many, many ways? Not so. In one moment, reminding me of the roundly slated film Battlefield Earth, a mechanic fathoms an unfamiliar piece of complicated radio tech he has never seen before in a matter of days, in the process coming to a very astute and inexplicable observation regarding the waves they pick up. The biggest clanger Howey drops, however, is the notion that the lower levels of the silo would be much colder than the higher levels. This completely overlooks geothermal gradiation which dictates that the farther one burrows into the earth, the higher the temperature becomes. The silo is described as an impossibly huge structure; the bottom layers would likely be a number of miles underground and have to face problems with crippling heat not debilitating cold. This anomaly renders one important scene towards the end of the book embarrassingly inaccurate. As the book can be found in the hard science category on Amazon, I doubt I am the only person to be irked by this mishap.

Although the novel wasn't god-awful, I was expecting much, much more from it. I can't quite understand the rave reviews the book has received. I myself have little inclination to read the other parts of the trilogy. Did the Wool story really need to be spread out over three books? Could some of the filler have been shaved from this tome and the ideas of the other two novels condensed into one large book in the vein of King's IT, for example? I struggle to see where the story could go from here that could warrant a further two releases and, if I'm honest, I'm not likely to find out, either. Unfortunately, Wool was just not to my tastes.
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Wool (Wool Trilogy 1)
Wool (Wool Trilogy 1) by Hugh Howey (Paperback - 25 April 2013)
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