In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.
His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared to whisper. Uprising.
©2012 Hugh Howey (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Wool presents an intriguing slant on the post-apocalyptic theme. The story opens with humanity confined to an underground silo consisting of about 150 levels, but without any sort of elevator or escalator, just stairs. Outside the silo is a barren, poisonous landscape. Technologically, society is late 20th century with modern medicine (although nothing special) and limited computer capabilities. The silo is completely self-sufficient with religious beliefs consistent with the silo as a heavenly creation. Banishment from the silo with eventual death by toxic gases is their form of capital punishment. We follow several characters that slowly unravel inconsistencies in this setup with the realization that there are things beyond the silo and history left unspoken.
The author provides some interesting organizational parallels to the society that add to the believability of this world. For example, the levels of the silo are divided into three sections (upper, middle, and lower) that parallel socioeconomic and political status: the upper is political and administrative with IT dominating; the middle section is largely a middle class of professionals, while the bottom sections are relegated to manual and grunt labor. Much effort, subterfuge, and ruthlessness goes into maintaining order until one lone woman manages to undermine the delicate balance.
The major detraction is the slow pace of the entire story with important revelations reserved for late in the tale. At the same, the author slowly kills off early characters that appeared as major players and only gradually introduces the participants around for the denouement. Finally, the narration is suboptimal with a poor rendition of voices and an extreme slow pace of delivery that only adds to the snail's pace.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
For all that I love speculative fiction, I'm not normally a big fan of dystopian tales because I found many to be too preachy, way too depressing, or just plain silly. But there has been SOOO much buzz about Wool - self published novellas go viral and young author is suddenly famous with a film deal maybe coming - that I just had to give it a try. I am really glad I did.This dystopian adventure sidesteps the overly moralistic tone of many, totally avoids the teenage angst and clumsy romance of some recent dystopias, and although sometimes sad and definitely often dark, the book presents a fairly hopeful view of humanity in the end. There is probably not quite enough in-depth science to satisfy the hard core hard science fans, but there is enough working detail to help the listener really visualize the unusual settings and suspend disbelief to become engrossed in the plot. And, the science fiction lover in me found a lot to like.
The book is not perfect, Howey provides more description of the appearance of places than of his characters, the writing is a bit choppy at times, and I was left really wishing I understood better how the world actually got to the "wool times". However, you can hear the writing become smoother and more fluid as the book goes on; physical appearance of the characters is limited, but motivations, behavior, relationships, and personality are well fleshed out and these people ring true; the lack of complete explanation of the evolution to "wool-times" means that there isn't much dull info-dumping going on and there are plenty of surprises left for the sequels :)
In addition to some great characters and very interesting settings, the plot is fabulous. Twisty-turny throughout to the point that it difficult to say much more about the plot than the summary does without committing a "spoiler sin". So I will just say that some of the twists you may see coming, but there were a couple that totally surprised me. Like most dystopian adventures, some of the surprises are shocking and horrific, but a couple of them are just really cool.
Amanda Sayle is OK as the narrator. Her voice in the narrative sections is good, but I found her character voices mostly off-putting and a little distracting.
Wool ends perfectly for a book in a series. It comes to a satisfying conclusion and wraps up most of the immediate plot lines. But it leaves the door wide open for further adventures and left me determined to be first in line to download the next book as soon as Audible brings it to us. Wool is strong enough on good characters and interesting plot to find fans across the genre lines, but most science fiction buffs are sure to enjoy it.
I love to read books; and now just recently I've discovered that audio books are very cool!! I'm also an author. You can find the SciFi book "The Curse of Europa" here on Audible or on Amazon.
A little less description of EVERYTHING. To me the story started out slow and I almost gave up on it. I moved onto a different book and just about returned this book because it was just moving way too s-l-o-w, and the character voices of the mayor and especially the deputy were very annoying. I returned to it a few weeks later and stuck it out - but the beginning almost made me bail.
Once the story picked up steam I enjoyed it. It was clever and smart.
I just listened to story narrated by Angela Dawe. She was spectacular! Sayle's character voices rubbed me the wrong way I guess. Her normal narration voice was okay but she seemed to read a bit slow also which added to the slow start. I bumped the narration speed to 1.5 which helped.
In the end yes. But like I said before, I almost baled on it after about 2 hours. I think the word count could have been cut a lot without loosing any of the story.
I'm glad I stuck it out. After the mayor and the deputy voices were no longer needed, the other ones were not as bad. I was excited to dive into this book and was sad when I was ready to give up on it thinking it just wasn't my style. But I did like it over all. I think the author just has a way of over describing stuff, but I think that is what others liked about it. You can't please everyone :)
I heard about this book via TechDirt b/c the author published the book through Amazon directly and did tremendously well on sales. When I saw the Audible version, i had to get it since i had owned the Kindle version for a year w/o reading it. The book is now being made into a movie so its an all around win for independent authors.
Anyways, this book is one of the best books I've listened to in a while (and that's coming off of a long stretch of Alastair Reynolds and Peter F Hamilton books, among others). The writing is very, very good and i completely understand how and why it would be considered 'movie material'. This is one of those books that when you see the movie after finishing the book, you'll have the feeling that you've already seen 'that part' b/c the imagery Howey creates is vivid and complete. In that sense, i would say its comparable to Harry Potter and Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice & Fire series).
Onto the narration by Amanda Sayle - I was impressed. This book doesn't have a sole main character, it has many that all follow a similar story line and the split is pretty even, half male, half female. Audible books tend to have a narrator with a gender matching the protagonist but this one could go either way. I think Amanda did a wonderful job that certainly adds to the overall quality of the story.
Finally, i will say that had i actually read a synopsis of this book before buying it, i would not have purchased it b/c the type of story that it is doesn't typically appeal to me. That said, i'm glad i got it and i think you should skip the synopsis and hype too, just get it and listen/read!!
Brett from NC
I am not a perfectionist when it comes to the narration, but I could not sit through this performance. The narrator sounds like Glinda the good witch of the north after an ambien overdose in her best voice. Things get rediculous when the other male characters come into the story. Seriously I have heard more reasonable voices on Sponge Bob cartoons. It ruined the story for me. Skip the audio and just read this one.
Several hundred years from now, in a post-apocalyptic world, the surviving humans live in underground silos. There are secrets that will be protected at any cost. Most follow the rules and ask no questions. Only a few dare to challenge and this puts their lives in grave danger.
“Wool” is among the best books I have listened to since joining Audible.
Long haul trucker, nerd, and scifi fan.
Overall this is a pretty good dystopian tale. The originality of the silo habitat throws some fresh air into the genre, and some new twists to keep it interesting. There is one thing that readers may struggle with...
On a sentimentality scale of 1-10 with 1 being Vin Diesel and 10 Being Richard Simmons... the male characters in the story would score a 12. The weepy emotionally fragile men become a distracting influence on an otherwise great story.
This book is wonderful. It's thought provoking and is not a predictable dystopian novel. I can see it appealing to a YA audience but I would categorize it as adult. There is minimal profanity and no sexual content. The narration is bad as many have commented and I understand that they use a different narrator for 'Shift.' ...I am grateful.
The book is captivating and I will be reading the next book, 'Shift', by Hugh Howey. It explores a silo and its society after the world, the "up top," has been contaminated and made unlivable. What is intriguing about it is it takes place generations after anyone has any idea about what happend to the surface and elephants and green grass in books seem to be made up creations. The general population has no idea what happend before and it is designed to be that way. The book explores the human need to find out their history and the need to leave the silo. The book shows how these needs effect their society. It is forbidden to discuss going "up top" or to go outside. It's is very much a contained psychological experiment in the essence that you have an absolute control group. The difference is it isn't an experiment in the book. It is their reality. There are good twists and I highly recommend it.
The use of whispersync for this book was very nice particularly because of the narration. I hadn't used whispersync before and found I liked it. It was cheap to pick up the audible portion after getting the book through amazon. I think it helped my review of the book. I started reading 'Wool', which was fortunate, because Amanda Sayle's ability to do additional character voices is lacking. She does fine on regular narration and Juliette's portion but her interpretation of male voices and some of the women is really bad and I think it would have led me to find some of the characters that I interpreted in my head as strong as juvenile. I utilzed whispersync for Julietts's portions and went back to the book if there was a lot of dialogue. I believe I might have abandoned the book if I hadn't. I would only get the audible version of this book if you choose to use whispersync. If you don't want to do whispersync I would read it and not listen to it.
I have not read the print version, the audio edition was fantastic. Contrary to some of the reviews posted critical narrator, I never found Sayle's voicing of the characters confusing.
Jules. Strong and intelligent .
Jules' attempted rescue of (?) at Silo 18 near the end of the book.
Yes, when one of main characters at the beginning decides to go outside.
This book exemplified the good and bad in humanity by brining to life a tale of struggle.
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