Summer is upon us and we’re all looking for the next great read. So, what’s on your reading list?
For those looking for recommendations, I suggest you look no further than Wool.
Wool, like The Hunger Games, takes place in a post-apocalyptic future, but that’s where the comparison between the two series ends. In this vision of what’s to come, humanity has taken to living underground in a silo that stretches more than 140 stories deep. The outside world is a grey, desolate place, filled with toxins that spell immediate death for any who step outside. Cameras broadcast a view from the surface, a crumbling cityscape looming on the horizon. But, dust and other contaminants build up on the cameras and, every so often, they must be cleaned.
Those put out to clean the sensors are sent in suits that allow them to live outside just slightly longer than it takes to complete the cleaning. They receive their death sentence for crimes committed, or merely expressing a desire to go outside.
The sci-fi background of Wool is just a catalyst for what becomes a page-turner of a mystery. What happened to make the world the way it is? Are the people in the silo the only people left on (in) Earth? Why does everyone who gets put out to cleaning actually perform the task, despite denying they will do so? Is the outside world really what it appears to be?
Though making up one whole story, Wool was written in five parts. Each section reads like a novella, with a definitive story arc that moves the greater narrative forward. Given the short-form approach to a novel-length story, Howey is ruthless with his pacing and plot twists, making Wool the perfect book for a weekend-long binge.
The title refers to the material used to clean the cameras outside, but also serves as a playful joke employed by the author, Hugh Howey, who circumvented the traditional publishing route by self-publishing his work as a series of ebooks. Nothing in the silo is as it seems and, it would seem, most of the inhabitants of the silo have had the wool pulled over their eyes as to what’s really going on.
Whereas The Hunger Games relies heavily on the political themes of propoganda fueling the uprising and revolt against the oppressive Capitol, Wool uses relationships to drive the story forward. To say more about the characters in the series would spoil some of the fun. All you need to know is that they are drawn realistically and their relationships pack an emotional punch.
I discovered Wool after reading that the rights to the story had been purchased by a major Hollywood film company. Once the marketing blitz takes over, I anticipate that the series, and Howey, will experience tremendous popularity. Read it now, though, and you’ll have bragging rights over others that you discovered it before it was cool.