In a dystopian future, everyone lives in an underground silo so large it takes three days to climb from bottom to top. Hugh Howey’s story begins as a murder mystery surrounded by questionable suicides and lost loves.
The people seem to be “us”, with technology at or a little behind today: there are computer monitors displaying green letters. The first part of the book gives detailed descriptions of moving around in this contained world, and realistic descriptions of the technology, from motor shafts to green circuit boards to Phillips head screwdrivers and the smoke curling up from a soldering iron. You may love this or hate it – be forewarned.
About a third of the way through, the story begins to expand and the main characters become more complex. At this point, I would have preferred Howey reduce the amount of detail; I was not interested in learning how transmitters work or how to brew loose-leaf tea once the battles started. But the simple expedient of reading only the first one or two sentences of each paragraph moved me happily through the unexpected twists to the satisfying conclusion. While this book could support a sequel, it has a real ending that stands by itself. Given my technique, it was a fun read.
What others are saying
With loads of reviews and 4.6 stars on Amazon, the book certainly qualifies as popular. It’s hard to find a negative review. The audio version seems to have been a disappointment. The first third left some people cold – that’s the part that focuses on the setting rather than characters. An older review says it was a good book for the price – since Wool became so poular I think the price has gone up. Here’s a quote that made me laugh: “At least there weren’t any zombies.”