Wool by Hugh Howey book review

I’m not sure I’ve received such a positive response to a book as when I posted about Wool on my Twitter the other week. I posted out asking whether it was a book that was worth picking up as the new TV series was coming out soon. Hugh Howey, the author did retweet the post himself and so I imagine the majority of responses came from his fans but even so, it was such an overwhelmingly positive response, I knew I had to pick it up ASAP. And I’m glad I did!

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The story behind the publication of Wool is quite an interesting one. Initially, it was written as a short story back in 2011 and published directly on Amazon via their self-publishing platform by Howey himself. After the popularity grew, he continued to write sequels as novellas and then eventually sold these novels and the initial short story as one book called Wool.

The Wool series is set in a dystopian version of Earth where humanity has been placed into these silos under the ground that has over a hundred levels meaning it can take days to get from one end to the other. The first book initially covers the story of Holston and his wife and then goes on to focus on Juliette and her attempts to discover more about the world in which she lives.

Wool plot – 4.5/5

As mentioned above, the whole focus on Wool is around the idea that the Silo is everything everybody has ever known. However, what if there is more to that? What’s really outside the SIlo? What are the powers that be not telling us? It’s a great premise and this initial book starts off really well with the story of Holston and his wife after she begins to question what they see through the screens that are up around the place which are meant to represent windows.

The story then expands and continues to keep up a good pace until around the middle where it really slows quite dramatically to a point where not a vast amount is happening for a good 50 pages. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t feel like nothing is happening, just after the first half of the book throws some fantastic moments at us, it really feels like the pace slackens as the book further on.

The finale of Wool also seems to teeter out quite a bit more than I’d hoped. There are some dramatics that happen but it very much felt like a book that’s setting you up and welcoming you more into the world rather than one that has a true, start, middle and end.

Wool characters – 4/5

When you’re writing a book about a dystopian future, you’ve really got to write characters that make you want to route for them and want them to find out the truth. If they aren’t that interesting then you don’t really care what happens to them and you find yourself way more interested in getting to the bottom of whatever the great big secret is.

Wool does suffer from that just a tad. However, Juliet is just intriguing enough that you do end up rooting for her instead of not caring if she’s thrown under a bus to progress the story. She is a determined and thoughtful character but not one you’re going to fall in love with and find yourself missing once you’ve finished the book.

There are some other supporting characters in the book, one of whom comes much later on and is a character I think many people will enjoy and love. On top of them there are others, who, without ruining the storyline I can’t exactly name but who I can tell you offer up some nice diversity from Juliet in their personalities and who bring further dimensions to the plot too.

Wool final rating – 4.25

Was Wool worth the overwhelming hype I’d heard from it? It felt like it was going to be for the first third, but as it progressed it slowed down and the surprises and action slowed to a pace of walking. I’ve been told the series really kicks off in the second book which is the best of the trilogy and so I’m going to presume people were referring to the series as a whole as being great. Wool will satisfy any and all dystopian science-fiction fans – it ticks all the right boxes for lovers of these genres and opens up a deep world which will leave you interested in finding out more.

Pick up a copy of Wool from Amazon here.

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