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80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I got lost in the silo
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...
Published 15 months ago by Marie

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27 of 29 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 5 months ago by P. G. Harris


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80 of 84 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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18 of 19 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
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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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27 of 29 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended Sci-fi, 7 Feb 2013
Quite simply, Wool is the best science fiction book I have read. Extremely addictive, exquisitely written, a story with twists and turns that grip you right to the end. The world building is layered (excuse the pun) and the detail drip fed in exactly the right quantities and at exactly the right time.
Mainly a character driven story with engaging dialogue and a plot that sucks you in and refuses to let go.

Wool is set in a post apocalyptic world, hundreds of years in the future after mankind has all but destroyed itself. Before rendering the earth's atmosphere uninhabitable, the destroyers ensured some remnants of humanity survived by sinking silo's deep into the earth to forge a new civilization and patiently wait for the toxic clouds to subside.
The silo sinks over a hundred floors into the earth and the structure of the society contained within is equally intriguing with a sense of authenticity, that life could actually turn out this way.

This book is both fascinating and scary. The only place the population can go is up or down the vast steel steps of the silo, floor after floor, it can take days to descend to the depths of the engineering department. Where the electricity is produced by a generator powered by oil, farmed from below the silo. You can feel the pain in their legs having to go up those flights of stairs, like climbing a lighthouse as big as a skyscraper.

There is an overwhelming theme of keeping the truth quiet, keeping your darkest thoughts quiet or you run the risk of inciting an uprising and that simply cannot happen. Voice your concerns and you invite the ultimate sacrifice upon yourself, whether by nefarious means or the more official 'Cleaning' process. Either way a death sentence.

At the top level of the silo is a giant screen showing a view of the surface outside, distant decaying structures and the bodies of the dead, those sent out to clean the silo's sensors or cameras. Cleaning is the hanging of old, a punishment for those stepping outside the ingrained system of the silo or for those whose utter despair at life leaves them with only one choice, to volunteer. Dressed in a suit and helmet designed to fail, a cleaner is given the tools to clean the grime from the sensors before they succumb to the toxic atmosphere.

Holston the silo's sherrif lost his wife to the cleaning three years ago and cannot cope with the loss any longer, his investigation into what his wife discovered on the servers grinds at his core until his own thoughts turn to the fated journey and joining his wife on the hill. His decision causes a shockwave, one that will reverberate through every floor of the silo, give the forbidden knowledge to all protected within and expose the lies meant to reinforce the survival of the people.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like reading a film. So much so infact, you may aswell just wait for the film., 5 Sep 2014
This review is from: Wool (Wool Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
Wool is exactly like one of those inescapable blockbuster movies that come out every year. Low on production quality, high on marketing budget; a good idea, recycled and poorly executed.

You know the films I mean, film's like Transformers or Iron Man. They're fun to watch and the adverts for them are everywhere and the marketing hype get's rammed down your throat and the reviews all come out saying how great it is and it's the best film since Citizen Kane and everyone else has seen it also says it's great, then you finally watch it and.... it's just 2 hours of a computer generated robot disguised as a car fighting another computer generated robot from Mars. You look around and you can see other disappointed people thinking the same thing but too afraid to admit they were misled, others are enjoying it because, well... the reviews all said it was amazing so therefore it is... look how real those giant robots look!!!

That is how I feel about Wool. There are loads of great reviews hailing it as the epitome of dystopian sci-fi and modern writing. But it isn't. It's new and it's gained mass-appeal which is unusual for a sci-fi. But it's gained mass appeal in the same way blockbuster movies gain mass appeal and it's not because they're good or genre defining. For starters, the writing is ok, but not great. The first quarter of the book skips though characters on a nearly per-chapter basis. (I appreciate this is a result of it's early episodic writing style, but it's slightly annoying.) Finally we get a great, strong character in Juliette (a strong, lady hero, albeit not-feminine in the slightest) who we can stick with as she slowly pieces together the truth behind the Silo and manages to get herself out of several tense, life threatening scrapes on the way. Surely, I thought to myself, this would make a great film!

But, ironically, it's for this exact reason that Wool wouldn't make a great film, or for that matter, why it doesn't make a great book. When reading this, I had a near constant mental image of exactly how the silo and it's inhabitants would look and that's because it's all too similar to other sci-fi works out there, especially films. Even the plot twists were straight out of a screen play ("Oh no, I hope that person who know's too much won't mysteriously die like all the others shortly after revealing dangerous information").

I can only assume that the reason so many readers (and reviewers) found the plot original and riveting is because none of them have seen The Matrix. It's quite old now (1999) so it's possible! In this film, humans live a peaceful existence and go about their lives without questioning why they're there or what they're doing... a lot like Wool in fact. However, and again this bit is quite similar to Wool, a few rogues do attempt to ask the forbidden question and seek to find out where they are and why, and they discover that the have been lied to! They exist for a different, higher purpose that has been hidden from them by greater beings (Bernard/IT in the case of Wool, The Architect in the case of The Matrix) and are instead forced to live in a carefully controlled environment where the illusion of individual freedom is provided to citizens to prevent them asking too many awkward questions. Questions like: why do we live in a Silo? who built the Silo? what's on the Servers that's so important? where did these books come from? what's over the hill? Once the truth is out, a revolution begins to overthrow the evil overlords with a promise to free the slaves and tell everyone the truth.
Aside from plot similarities, the Matrix and Wool are also similar in their settings. Both feature a world with an uninhabitable irradiated surface forcing what's left of humanity to live in cold, concrete, industrial environments underground. Juliette, as described, could even be a non-matrix Trinity (ie; no PVC cat-suited).

The only potentially intriguing plot twist occurs when it is revealed for what purpose the Silo's were originally built. It doesn't, however, explain why the inhabitants were required to be denied freedom.

In conclusion: Wait for the film!
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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 Future dystopias -again, 14 Jun 2014
Everybody seems to love this book - it's got five stars ago-go. I wanted to read it because it's one of the few self-publishing success stories. I enjoyed it but I didn't love it. As usual, I feel the fault must lie within me. Science fiction isn't my favourite genre but when I find a good one I really adore it. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is one of my favourite books of all time. Howey describes a futuristic world where people live in a silo and never venture outside because the atmosphere is poisoned from some unspecified disaster in the past. The silo appears to be modelled on a huge grain silo except much bigger with many levels going deep into the earth. The "down deep" is where the engineers toil to keep the machines turning. There is also an agricultural level where hydroponic farms grow food. Higher up there is an IT level and an admin level. The society is strictly socially stratified like Brave New World. The world is authoritarian and controlled so there are shades of Orwell's 1984. Transgressing individuals are put to death by cleaning. They are sent outside in space suits with just enough air to clean the windows/ monitors/ cameras which give a view of the outside. The world is evoked in detail and the writing style is simple and elegant. Perhaps for me the scenarios were too similar to other books in the genre. The hero, standard modern issue strong feisty female, Juliette, embarks on a series of actions which change the world forever. The plot is exciting and fast-paced at times and at other times it is slow. The book is quite a door stopper so you need patience and time to finish it. I am sure sci-fi fans will lap this up but it doesn't quite make the cut to classic status.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read the whole trilogy if you never read anything else!, 24 May 2014
This review is from: Wool (Wool Trilogy 1) (Hardcover)
I have now finished the whole trilogy. Wool was found in a charity shop and from almost the first page I was hooked and couldn't put the book down. it is an imperative read for sci fi and dystopian fans.

In a post apocalyptic world , mankind has had to live underground as the outside world has become too toxic to support life,you will have to read the 3 books in order to find out how and why this has come about.. Home is an immense silo, with many levels and a huge winding staircase being the only access to each of them; there are no lifts! Ordinary people go about their lives as we would here on the surface; there are people who live and work "up top" in the "mids" or the "down deep". A visit to "Mechanical" in the "Down Deep" for example from the Cafeteria at the top would take more than a day to accomplish to give you an idea of how big this silo is.

These rather simplistic descriptions conjure up a real picture in the mind of the reader as to what it must be like to live and work in such a place. what is rather more sinister is the rules that these people live by, the Order and the Pact, and there are some who would question this and start to probe a little deeper into the silo's history.

It becomes clear to Jules, our Protagonist, that all is not what it seems, especially the mysterious "cleanings" that take place once in a while, and from which nobody ever returns. It is when the Silo's Sherriff Holston, is sent out to clean and Jules is called upon by the Mayor to fill his role and move up to the "up top" from her role in "Mechanical" that matters start to take a very sinister turn indeed.

I am not going to reveal any more of the plot, save to say that all the characters you will meet in this novel and very well drawn and thought out. There are truly poignant parts and plenty of suspense to keep you turning the pages, keeping you up well into the small hours and ensuring you will buy the next 2 books before you finish this one. I had no hesitation in rushing out to buy Shift and Dust new and read all three straight off.

I can quite honestly say that this is the best trilogy I have ever read, I can find nothing negative to say about any of it and it simply HAS to be on everyone's bucket list! I felt quite lost and bereft after I had finished it.

You MUST buy these books, and read them in order, Wool, Shift, Dust. Simply brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Storytelling, 1 April 2014
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I had heard of the novel before I bought it, I knew that it had critical acclaim but as always I chose to just plunge in and form my own opinion. Post apocalyptic, dystopian and captive universe novels have always fascinated me. The whole quest of: What if we had a fresh start? Captures my imagination. I'm a pessimist and a bit of a cynic so it is perhaps unsurprising that this kind of fiction appeals to me.

Wool is most definitely a page-turner. I wanted to discover the secrets of the silo from the opening pages. Howey kept me reading at a voracious rate. The story telling aspect was top notch, the prose was uncluttered and it flowed superbly. However, I found the characters a tad undeveloped. Bernard was a convincing enough villain and we do discover his motivation ultimately but he's just a little two dimensional. A cartoon villain if you will. I felt much the same about Lukas. This strange dreamer was a character I could neither understand nor get to grips with. Overall a book worth reading but it didn't rock my world. A solid three stars.
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Wool (Wool Trilogy 1)
Wool (Wool Trilogy 1) by Hugh Howey (Paperback - 25 April 2013)
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