This is the sequel to the New York Times best-selling Wool series. It combines the three Shift books into a single audiobook in order to save the listener a few bucks. The saga concludes with Dust, which will be available in late 2013.
In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech (CAN) outlined the hardware and software platform that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate.
In the same year, the CBS network re-aired a program about the effects of propranolol on sufferers of extreme trauma. A simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event.
At almost the same moment in humanity's broad history, mankind had discovered the means for bringing about its utter downfall - and the ability to forget it ever happened.
©Lifetime Hugh Howey (P)2013 Hugh Howey
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I was disappointed that Wool Omnibus was not read by a narrator who was as good as the material so I found it a real pleasure to listen to Shift Omnibus, an even better book IMO, read by the wonderful narrator of one of my favorite series, Riyria Revelations, Tim Gerard Reynolds. This is what audio books are all about for me; take a great book, paired with an appropriate great voice and then revel in the synergy of listening to a good story made even better in the telling.
If you liked Wool, you will almost undoubtedly enjoy Shift because it answers so many questions presented in Wool. Personally, I liked Wool a lot, but I really loved Shift. It is hard to decide how much of that is Howey's writing which has gotten ever more fluid as the story evolves and how much is the great narration by Reynolds. Probably some of both. Howey writes in a style that is very good for audio because he uses a lot of descriptive language; the man can truly paint a vivid picture. EX: Howey describing a character trying to shake off the effects of cold sleep; "Thoughts and memories reluctantly assembled like exhausted soldiers roused from their bunks in the middle of the night and told to form ranks in the freezing rain." And, Reynolds is one of those narrators whose voice pulls you in until you are not really conscious of the narrator at all so the story just flows and you get pictures in your mind almost like a movie.
Although Shift is labeled a sequel to Wool, it is actually almost entirely a prequel (the time periods of the two books start to overlap toward the end of Shift) and provides much of the explanation for the evolution of the "Wooliverse". It would be a crime to give much of the plot away because Shift is just chock full of those "AHA moments" when you suddenly understand something that didn't make sense or was confusing in Wool. I love being witness to real craftsmanship from an author and I could feel it all the way through Shift - Howey mapping out how this crazy society that I saw in Wool could ever have happened - AND making me believe it!
Great characters, suspenseful plot, wildly vivid settings, and a first-rate narrator - what is not to love about this? Can't wait for Dust (the next, last?, in the Wool series) scheduled to be released in August. Fingers crossed that the audio version is released at the same time with this same narrator!
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
After Wool I didn't expect much from Shift. I did not like Wool much, finding the narration poor and the premise, story and characters quite weak. I only listened to Shift because I bought Wool and Shift at the same time. I was pleasantly surprised to find Shift well narrated and well written with interesting adult characters and a story-line that kept me interested. While the premise remained weak the story and characters made the premise almost believable. I found the difference between Wool and Shift astounding. The tone and style are quite different. I will read the third if I hear it is like Shift and not like Wool.
I was so looking forward to this recording. I read Wool Omnibus, which is the first part of the saga in print, because listeners had a poor opinion of that reader. I found it compelling and devoured hundreds of pages in a few days. This recording has Tim Reynolds, who I've loved in other books, so I figured this would be even better. I was disappointed in both the book and its narration;
In contrast to Wool, which takes place over a few weeks, this one takes place over centuries - and it feels like it. There's way too much detail of various characters endlessly enduring in grim environments. There's a plot in the middle that I think was totally unnecessary, apparently to give an idea about the Uprisings mentioned elsewhere. Finally at the very end, the story starts to overlap with the first part of the saga, but by then my interest had waned considerably.
A strong feature of Wool was the opportunity for the reader to figure out what is going on. This one tries to explain it, starting in the 21st century, and I felt that made it less believable. Again there are way too many details of ordinary life in the near future, trying to show how what we have now could lead to the silo world. The whole construction and rationale just doesn't make much sense. Leaving some mystery would have been better.
Some people felt the characters in Wool were flat, but I found them interesting and cared about what happened to them. In Shift, the characters are mostly one-dimensional and mostly passive. My overall feeling listening to this was depression. I had to avoid listening to it before bedtime. Sure, it's a dystopia but the characters could have some human connection and some agency, there's very little of either.
As I said ,I loved Tim Reynolds reading the works of Michael J Sullivan, where he has a mainly English accent. In this one, he tried to sound American and sometimes just sounded weird. For instance, he pronounced "palm" as "pam". You'd be amazed how often that word came up and it jarred me every time. He did a decent job with the various characters but Howey didn't give him a lot to work with.
I rarely regret the hours spent listening to an audiobook, even if it's not the greatest, but this time I did. I will probably read the 3rd installment in print so that if it drags I can skim through it.
Middle-aged, married dad of two, living in Northern Burbs of Chicago. Hard Sci Fi addict, and lover of great storytelling. Almost all of my reading is now in audio format.
Full and fair disclosure... I HATE captive hero novels, big brother overlord novels, and prison stories. So the real question is, why in the hell did I buy this book? I don't have a good answer other than to say that, YUP! Still hate 'em.
That said, I will offer my critique.
The novel is very well visualized. F'ing painful, but it's very clear what the author wants you to see. But part of this is the exhaustive detail that Howey puts into every moment he chooses to write about. There's no skipping, by god. He writes every detail.
It's nice that the main character isn't whipped up from the New York Times Best Seller recipe. He's very unique. But god, what a whuss. If he 'cried' and 'the tears streamed down his cheek' one more time, I was going to reach in through my iPhone and slap him. There's got to be an app for that. He's also completely blind to every, single one of the patently obvious ominous warnings of impending doom.
I just can't get into bottling humanity in a thermos and seeing what happens, so you can tell the threadbare parable of 'free will: good / big brother: bad.' Well, no sh_t. Pretty sure we all know that. Ayn Rand put the cherry on that pie, then shoved every last gooey morsel down our throats, so unless you have something SERIOUSLY compelling to add to that message, please move on.
I just couldn't do it. I gave it two chances. It finally wore me down when a second, upcoming hero in the book got buried under another mountainous overburden of suspicion that absolutely no human being could ever escape.
I saw a lot of reviews that complained that there was too much detail or too many unnecessary plotlines in this sequel. I didn't think so at all! I felt each chapter brought a little more life to the world and the series as a whole. Were the years with Solo's "friend" necessary? Absolutely not. Did I love them? Absolutely. If you're reading this series for the excitement and the mystery-solving of Wool, I can see how Shift is a disappointment. If you liked Wool because of the characters it introduced and the world it created, I think you'll find Shift just as entertaining.
I was really disappointed with the narration, however, because I loved Reynolds in the Riyria Revelation books. Sadly, he just wasn't a good choice for American accents. The southern Georgia accents were particularly jarring and sometimes slipped into something sounding Scottish.
Shift is the prequel to Wool and provides the origin story as well as filling in some back stories to events in Wool. Specifically, the tale "shifts" among several different time frames as early as 2050 with another interlude at 2110 and the 23rd century as well as several decades immediately preceding Wool (24th century). The bulk of the tale is through the lens of Donald who is responsible for the design of the silos, but Donald was never let in on the entire master plan and slowly realizes its full intent over the several centuries (cryogenic sleep is standard in silo 1). We also watch Solo develop as a frightened teenager during the silo 17 uprising through 30 years of his isolation. Finally, the generation of silo 18 preceding Wool's time frame is presented. The story ends at the same point in time as Wool concluded.
Besides cryogenic freezing sleep, nanotech is offered as the basis for the original silo raison d'etre. There's a continual focus on drug induced amnesia regarded as central to the success of the enterprise, but this continues to be weak. In the end, Donald realizes that he must deal with the aftermath of a poorly designed plan to save mankind from its own destruction without being responsible for another round of destruction.
The narration is adequate, but almost painfully slow. Much of the story dwells on minor aspects of life in the silos with much rumination by several characters. Given that the story spans several centuries, the author and narrator convey that slow passage of time.
I liked Wool quite a bit but this was nothing like it. I hated the main character Donald and I hated listening to him and his infidelity issues. His ex girlfriend was so shameless about trying to get with him and if he had shut it down then he could have saved himself some heartache. Their relationship is the majority of the book unfortunately.
Also this book follows way way too many points of view. Through way too much time.
Someone else said this book was 100 pages too long and I agree. While I understand that the writer wanted to use this world he created to the fullest so he put as many storylines as he could in it but this book seemed filled with things that I would expect to be on a fan blog or if it was a television show maybe a webisode. I wouldn't recommend it.
Cut down on the time. Ring it in. And know that Donald was a waste of a character. I don't think I will be reading Dust because I hate him so much.
Maybe. Tim Gerard Reynolds wasn't horrible but he wasn't good. Minne Good read the first book and while she wasn't great with men characters he wasn't what I was expecting nor wanting for this book. I was disappointed to see he does Dust too.
It did further the story Wool, which was very complicated. In some stories, the reader never does find out why this happened or what happened to that. Especially when that something happened 300 years ago. This showed you first hand what happened and it was unique. My mother read Wool and I saved her the frustration of Shift and told her what she needed to know about it. That is what I would do. Ask someone who has read it to highlight the important issues.
It is a shame. The story of Wool is a good one but the characters are not good. That is always the downfall of writers I find. The plot is good but characters are transparent and flat. Donald's weak resolve and wandering eye isn't the only reason he is a useless character. Maybe Hugh Howey did better in Sand or in Dust but it will be a while until I try it again.
I'm an aspiring author, a lawyer, a sci-fi fan, a father, and a harsh critic of pretty much everything. I enjoy audiobooks because I read very slowly, and audiobooks allow me to consume novels at a rate that would be impossible for me to achieve with printed text.
You'll spend the entire book waiting for our idiot protagonist to figure out what we, the audience already know before picking up the book. Does that sound fun to you?
The story isn't boring, exactly... it's just unnecessary. Wool already told us everything we needed to know about the Silos. The backstory answers some questions... but this all could have been done in a more elegant way... preferably in a single chapter instead of this slow, useless tome.
For the most part the story held my attention, and had it had a satisfying ending, or had the it progressed the plot from Wool in any way I probably could have forgiven the insane redundancies. But it didn't do those things.
I already own Dust, so I'll see this story out to its conclusion, but had I not purchased it on sale, I certainly would have called it quits right now.
I listened to this book on 3x speed, and it was still too long. I don't recommend it to anyone who isn't totally in love with hearing about life in the Silos.
I listen to books while running and walking my dog so on average about an hour day and like books that have a good pace to them.
At first this book did not seem to match up with it's predecessor, which despite the well written material made it a little difficult to relate. This initial disorientation was quickly put aside as it became clear how the books in this series meshed together. As this book moved forward i found myself becoming increasingly absorbed into the lives of the principle characters and the world that was being created/recreated. I was especially struck by the scenes revolving around the entry into the silos. As the the story progressed i was impressed by the intricacy with which Hugh Howey had woven seemingly minor details into the grand plots and intrigues that continued to run through the narrative until the last minutes of the story.
As for the performance i generally preferred it over that of the previous book and felt that the performance was solid overall. I did find moments of confusion when some characters were not as well differentiated from other but overall found the narration easy to follow.
This book sets up and interesting third book and ultimately did a great job filling in some of the spaces in the previous book, that on first listen this writer did not realize were there.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the narration. However, I should warn potential readers that the narrator takes some getting used to. Tim Gerard Reynolds is a talented narrator, but he is also English. This book takes place in Atlanta, Georgia. Some of the characters have southern American accents. The narrator made the choice to actually do the accents. I think I would have preferred if he had just stuck with his normal accent.
That's all. Once you get used to the accent (and I think it gets less pronounced as the book progresses) you'll be fine.
As far as the story goes, it took a little while to get going, and sometimes the main character's inability to understand what's going on around him is kind of frustrating, but once it gets going, it's quite good. I'm really looking forward to reading or listening to Dust.
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