***Congratulations to Hugh on his Simon and Schuster deal to bring WOOL to US bookstores. Pre-Order for the March 12 release in hardback.***
I’ve had moments as a book reviewer where I was unsure how to rate a book, but this was not one of them. Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey is my easiest 5 star rating since A Game of Thrones. This book was five star, without a doubt. There is so much to like about it, but I think my favorite aspect is the philosophical gems that Hugh interjects through each character’s voice. This unique aspect of Hugh’s style allowed me to see them as more than just real people, but a representation of humanity. This aspect of his style fits perfectly with Wool’s theme of survival. Some characters believed segregation, hidden truths, and murder were the key to survival, while others believed the exact opposite. Part of what makes this story feel so real is the diversity of perspectives on what is absolutely necessary to survive in such a life or death scenario. Seeing what humanity would be like on the brink of extinction helped make me question what I’m doing to help those around me survive, or if I’m only interested in my own.
Hugh’s unbiased narration keeps the reader on their toes because either side could reasonably succeed. Hugh adeptly portrayed each character’s struggle to survive in a way that made me root for them, put myself in their shoes, and experience their emotions as they fought to survive. Even his antagonist is sympathetic. No spoilers here, but Hugh makes a strong case for this character’s motivation. Hugh does a great job of raising the stakes, interlacing conflict, and surprising the reader at every turn. Hugh’s writing is as rare a gem as his characters, and is diverse enough to appeal to anyone who wants to know what it feels like to hope in the midst of overwhelming doubt.
I first became a fan of Hugh through his novelette, The Plagiarist, which is an excellent Science Fiction story about worlds within worlds, and what it would feel like to enjoy the artificial world more–a concept many gamers are well acquainted with. You can read my Goodreads review here.
Hugh has a prequel series out now, First Shift – Legacy (Part 6 of the Silo Series), but he recommends reading Wool Omnibus first. You can buy each of the five stories in Wool Omnibus separately, but trust me when I say you’ll save money by just getting them all in one. Try out the sample if you are a real skeptic, but that should be more than enough to convince you to take the plunge into the Silo Series. I believe all of his books are available in paperback, and he even offers to sell signed copies on his website.
After seeing Hugh read a few chapters of his next release, I, Zombie, I am sure to put everything on hold as soon as that comes out.
Other Science Fiction titles (or Hugh Howey) I’ve reviewed:
Nexus by Ramez Naam
Germline by T.C. McCarthy
Exogene by T.C. McCarthy
I, Zombie by Hugh Howey
Haywire by Justin Macumber
Acts of the Apostles by John F.X. Sundman
Legendary Space Pilgrims by Grace Bridges
Invasive Procedures by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston