Wool by Hugh Howey

I finished the first in Mr. Howey’s series about survivors forced to live in silos after a deadly environmental disaster of unknown origin. It’s like living out a  melanin deprivation nightmare. Vitamin D deficiency sets in –I assume–and that’s the reason some siloists are falling over themselves to go outside.

Random thought here. The situation is so bad now that it has resulted in a  lottery approach to childbearing. Does this mean they managed to store up a silo worth of contraception or the world isn’t the only thing left barren?

Where was I?

We learn early in the story that there is a terrible secret that the powers that be are desperately trying to keep from getting out.  Whenever someone comes close to learning the truth, that person (clearly Vitamin D deficient) is suddenly overcome with a demanding sense of duty to go out and clean the windows  (with wool)  so the survivors can get a perfect view of the wretched world outside. (Wool over our eyes, eh? Get it?)

Each silo represents a microcosm of our current society, with lots of obvious metaphors. The most interesting bit of news we learn from Wool is that politicians will survive the apocalypse.

Wool isn’t just a commentary about obstructionism and anarchism. Each silo is a highrise, a perfect metaphor for classism. (It reminds me of the 2015 film, High Rise, but with more subtext).9781476733951_p0_v5_s192x300.jpg

I can always tell when I’m really into a book. Usually, I’m thinking about it even when I’m doing something else, or I’m stealing breaks throughout the day trying to finish the book. I admit it took me about a week to finish this book.

I love that Mr. Howey started out self-publishing. He has a great website and there’s a post he did from a couple of years ago about self-publishing. In the post he shares that he writes because he likes to write, and  not because he is in it for the fame and fortune.

I love that these inspirational were said by a truly prolific author!

Now back to the story. Okay. So it took me a week because I didn’t love the book, and I’m not sure if that’s just my issue. It was too long! Now wait a minute.  I know readers complain about books not being long enough.  And the truth is, I’m one of those people. For example, I loved the Terry Goodkind Sword of Truth series.  Couldn’t get enough.

But at some points during Mr. Howey’s book, I found myself not even skimming the story; I was flipping entire pages.

I wanted to know more about the character Juliette. The actual story about the revolt just wasn’t that interesting to me because there were way too many characters, all purposefully added to pad the pages. Additionally, Lucas was an interesting character, but his connection with Juliette was too immediate–almost too one-sided–and that made their relationship unbelievable. The same is true with respect to Peter.

So, in short, I didn’t find the characters to be well developed in this more than five hundred page book. And, at the end of the first book, I just wasn’t interested in knowing about what comes next or even what’s going on with the other silos.

I guess the question is, if the character doesn’t hook you, are you interested in the story around them? Readers are more likely to pay more for longer books, but what if it’s short on actual character appeal?

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