Wool

UnknownThere was a bit of buzz around this when Howey published the first in this series, Wool, not so long ago.  Mainly because of the popularity of his self-published novellas in this series.  I’ve always meant to read it, and finally committed to the first one on audio.

Essentially, Wool is a young adult dystopian fiction.  And a well realised one. The world Howey creates is vivid and believable. Wool takes place sometime in the future where the air is so polluted that what is left of humanity live in silos that reach hundreds of storeys underground. It is considered madness to want to leave. But this is also their harshest punishment- being expelled from the silo in a suit designed to fail.

To make matters worse, in Silo 18 where the narrative takes place, the inhabitants are told they are all that is left of humanity.

The narrative takes three perspectives – and the first two, Holston and Jahns, are very short-lived. Both of them end up outside in the ritual called ‘Cleaning’, where they are assigned some Wool and are meant to clean the outside windows of the silo.  Both of these characters – expelled due to questioning the nature of the society in which they live – complete the cleaning and die in the wilderness not far from the silo.  In fact Juliette, the third narrative voice, remarks that she can see Holston’s body, clinging onto the long dead body of his wife who was sent out to clean many years before.

Juliette inherits the information and the curiosity to find out what happened to humanity and why anyone is inquires is sent out to clean.  This results in Juliette too being sent outside – but she refuses to clean, instead taking her chances in the wilderness.  Her suit has been altered by a group of friends, so she has longer to withstand the elements than anyone who was expelled before her.  So Juliette is able to know more than anyone before her, what is out there.

Back in the silo, her co-workers start to follow her trail of information, and challenge the status quo of the silo regime.  Also there is Lukas, a mysterious young man Juliette meets and feels connected too.  Lukas rises high in the silo’s hierarchy and becomes privy to their secrets, allowing the readers a counterpoint to Juliette’s discoveries outside the silo.  The world is bigger than they think.

Plenty more to come no doubt in this exciting series.

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