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Wool proves a difficult act to follow,
This review is from: Shift: (Wool Trilogy 2) (Paperback)
Wool introduced us to Howey's subterranean dystopia, where the Earth's atmosphere has become incompatible with life, and humans have been driven underground. In Shift the reader is taken right back to the beginning of the story and given the answers to all the niggling questions we are sure to have asked ourselves. How did these vast silos get there in the first place? What kind of terrible disaster happened to the world outside? And who are the faceless leaders who have been calling all the shots? The book flits around between different timelines and different silos, which can be difficult to follow at first, but works well to maintain pace throughout.
I often find the second installment of any trilogy to be something of a disappointment, and struggle to think of many examples where the second book shines as an outstanding novel in its own right. I think this is why Shift dragged a little for me. It answers a lot of questions, providing welcome context to the events described in Wool. The plot development is sound and I finished the book quite satisfied with the conclusions that were drawn, but it doesn't have that magical 'page-turning' quality that I was looking for.
One of Wool's major strengths in my eyes was the huge cast of genuinely likeable characters. Even minor players were very vividly realised and easy to care about. By sharp contrast, then, I found the opposite to be true in this sequel. All the personalities in Shift are either dull-as-dishwater (the bland protagonist Donald, Mission) or predictable stereotypes (for example military man Senator Thurman and his seductive flame-haired daughter Anna).
Wool was always going to be a tough act to follow, and I'm sorry to say that Shift didn't quite meet my expectations. But there are enough teasing unanswered questions for me to remain hopeful that Howey is merely setting the scene for a fantastic finale to the trilogy, with the return of some of my favourite people from the first book. Despite my reservations about Shift as a stand-alone novel, I'm reluctant for my time in Howey's world to come to an end.