Wool by Hugh Howey


“Knowing the truth is always good”

I didn’t realise that this book was as new as it is, for some reason I’d assumed it was written way back when and I just hadn’t heard if it. But when my copy came in the post, the Sunday times had a sticker on the cover hailing it as the next hunger games. Go figure.

Wool is an anthology, made up of a collection of stories which I believe were originally released as individual short stories, each one picking up where the last left off and all set within a community of thousands who live and work in silo that tunnels a hundred or so floors down into the earth. Their society is fully and independently functioning within their artificial little world, contained safely away from the threat of the toxic air out above ground where the landscape that they are able to see through via sensors, seems is devoid of all life. They have a system, pretty decent technology, a government, even a class system and no short amount of mysteries that it’s people are forbidden to question. But the silo also has a number of curious little cats inside it’s sturdy walls, and we all know what curiosity does to cats. I don’t want to say too much about the plot or how the world came to be in such a state as I can’t really describe any one book without giving away something important from the last, but generally the story deals with the nature of society itself, how conspiracy reigns supreme in places where the masses must be kept ignorant ‘for their own good’. But it also shows how the actions of a small few, can sometimes be enough to make great change, even if all they can do is inspire others into daring to hope.

It’s a very interesting and gripping story and really well told. Rather than the post apocalyptic dystopia I’d been expecting, Wool turned out to be more of a murder mystery/ thriller/conspiracy book, and if that hasn’t ever been a genre before, it should be! Howey reveals tiny bits of information to the reader at a time, dangling the carrot just far enough out of reach to keep us reading without getting frustrating. Revelations come to us at the same moment they come to the story’s narrators and I really enjoyed puzzling over what I thought might be happening, even though Howey always seemed to manage to surprise me. Books like these are why I love to read!



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