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Publisher's Summary

Less than 60 kids awaken on a distant planet. The colony ship they arrived on is aflame. The rest of their contingent is dead. They've only received half their training, and they are being asked to conquer an entire planet. Before they can, however, they must first survive each other.

Hugh Howey is the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde Saga and the New York Times and USA Today best-selling Wool series.

©2009- Hugh Howey (P)2013 Hugh Howey

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  • Michale
  • Baltimore, MD, United States
  • 06-07-14

My Favorite Hugh Howey

It seems like my preference is the exact opposite of the majority, because once again I love a book that no one else is wild about.

This is my favorite Hugh Howey novel so far - better than Wool, better than Sand. It reminds me of a sci-fi Lord of the Flies, but with a happy ending. Sometimes I thought I was listening to a Gregory Benford story because the feeling it gave me was reminiscent of the Galactic Center series.

A ship destined to colonize a distant planet carries a few hundred human children, growing in pods. They are hooked up to the ship's computer, Colony, and being trained for their future jobs through a virtual classroom. Unfortunately the computer suddenly decides to self abort the mission when the children are 15 years old. The children awake before they are fully mature and must fight their way out of the ship that is engulfed in flames. Less than 50 children struggle out of the burning ship, realizing they have not completed their training, and are therefore not fully equipped to survive on the strange planet. Because of the arrangement of the pods, the humans with the highest rank were located closest to the flames and died first. The children that are left have the lowest ranking jobs.

Hungry, naked and afraid, the children try to take advantage of the training they have received in their short 15 years. But not all the survivors have the best interest of the group at heart, and a pecking order begins to develop. The strong start to overpower the weak and groups want to splinter off. Things get violent. A democracy quickly becomes a dictatorship. In the background looms the creepy presence of Colony, the computer that decided to kill most of the children off, and manipulates the remaining children into building a rocket for an unknown purpose. Why did Colony abort the mission? What is wrong with the alien planet they have landed on? A group of friends escape the group and begin to discover secrets about the strange planet.

I thought this story was sensitive and intelligent, showing excellent character development. Howey built an alien world that is complex and interesting, and touches on themes such as homosexuality and vegetarianism. I fell more deeply into this world, in a shorter amount of time, than I did with his other novels. I wish there was a second book!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Horrible narration

Who the hell decided that this whiny, emasculated Woody Allen wannabe is a good choice for a Sci-Fi book?? What a turn-off!!
Should have listened to a sample before purchasing... :-/

still really interested in the novel itself, going to read it instead.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Great read

Seemed to fly by and yet I was totally IN their world. Would love to see some more of this story line. Great book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Weakest Howey book I've read

I hate to bash a writers work but this is the weakest of Howey's books I've read. The characters aren't terribly interesting. The main character is wishy washy and whiney. The story is convoluted and just not that engaging. There are leaps and connections that make no sense and I was unable to suspend disbelief. It did pick up a bit towards the end but not enough to save the book. I'd pass this one and read his other series. They are much better in my opinion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A good read, but not great

I loved the "Wool" series, and was hoping this would live up to that series. However, it just didn't do for me what the "Wool" series did. It too, is an alternate look at a future world, this one with Colony setting up colonies to explore other planets. It's an interesting book, but just seemed a little slow going for me, and the characters never reached out and grabbed my interest. No problem with the narration though, as I feel he did an excellent job.

All and all, it just seemed an average read to me, easy to take the earbuds off, and catch up on other projects.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Decent but not great

A few observations about this book which I thought was good but not great. I probably shouldn't compare it to "Wool", but how can I not? "Wool" was so fantastic that it set a very high bar for me when it comes to books by Hugh Howey and this book just fell short. Mostly, it felt unpolished and less sophisticated in its writing than "Wool". Looking at the publishing dates for the two works, it appears that this one was written before "Wool" (at least it was published before "Wool"). If so, his writing certainly got more polished with "Wool". All that said, "Half Way Home" was still a decent read. Parts of it are reminiscent/derivative of many different sci-fi books but there are many serious and thought provoking topics that can be discussed while reading this book. I am glad I also had the print version because the audio version is missing "Chapter 0" although I am not sure why. The narrator is fitting for the book and does a pretty solid job. He's not the best narrator ever but he is definitely good. The book isn't very long and it was a fairly entertaining way to spend 6 hours. I can't fully recommend this book but if it sounds interesting and you really like Sci-fi and Hugh Howey (and have already read "Wool"), then it's worth a quick read (or listen).

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating if preachy story

Well-conceived and written. Probably about 5-10K words too long and that's after giving the author credit for brevity. The voice actor as Porter was dead on, but the production value was not. Several different instances of clear changes in audio quality marking separate recordings. The actor did a very good job of creating voices for the various characters. It became very easy to predict who was speaking before being told.

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Liked it

Definitely different from his Silo (Wool) series, but this one held my attention. Interesting concept.

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Half Way Done...

“Half Way Home” by Hugh Howey is a dystopian science fiction thriller published in 2014 and is similar to many of his other works where a group of people struggle to survive, not only against the environment but one another. The audio version is narrated by Max Miller. This book was published about two years after the author’s very successful Wool series. This story however takes place on a distant planet not on Earth. As others have stated in their reviews, this book is not as strong, compelling, or deep as Wool; which set a high standard for future books. If you have not read the Wool series yet, I highly recommend you do. This book on the other hand, I recommend you pass it over as there are many other books in the genre, or written by Howey, that are much better. This is not saying the book was not interesting or unique. It had points of action and thrills making it interesting. But it lacked in so many core areas compared to the author’s other works.

The story and primes is rather thought-provoking by taking the standard earthly dystopian situation and instead putting the characters on an unknown distant world. It reminded me of the TV series “The 100” in many ways with young adults needing to grow up fast in order to survive. I liked the concept of the colony ship and the way the children would learn during their journey. It was similar to what is found in the Matrix movie where individuals are plugged into the computer’s AI and trained while in stasis. Something goes horribly wrong half way into their journey and now they are faced with having to bury hundreds of dead crew members and build a new society from the remaining sixty who survive.

There are points of high and suspenseful action, especially during the opening chapters of the book. We see the many struggles the survivors face when having to decide on who will lead the group, who will enforce the new laws, and who will be permitted to communicate with the computer AI. Friendships grow naturally, enemies are made, and the clan quickly devolves into a dystopian dictatorship of forced labor and meeting the AI’s requirements. The group struggles with their two initial directives involving basic human needs and the ability to attempt to communicate with the outside world by making and launching a rocket. Tension mounts, enemies solidify, and for some, escape is all they can think of for continued survival.

The book’s world was rather unique and made me think of Pandora from the movie Avatar. There were interesting creatures, fauna, and foods. The description of the planet seemed colorful and lively, but it always had undertone of a dark and dreary place. It had me thinking as the characters explored, just how big and different a world they landed on was.

Let me say that for younger readers contemplating this book, there is some strong language used and also a few periods of strong graphic violence. There is also some subject matter and sexual topics that may not be appropriate for all younger readers. Also of note, one of the main characters is a homosexual and this is carried throughout the book. At times, the characters sexual preference is implied while at other points in the book it is not. Just be aware that if any of the above offends you, you may want to pick up a different book.

Sam miller was the narrator for this book, and for someone having a rather small number of narrated books under his belt (at the time of this review), I thought he did a good job. I did not notice any major audio issues such as swallows, edits, etc. The volume seemed to remain consistent. The narrator was even able to voice the many difference characters well. This is the first book I have listened to by this author, so I will need to hear a few more to make a determination on his overall narration capabilities.

In summary, I felt the book had some very strong parts and a solid premise. However, I had much higher expectations based on previous Howey books I have read and it did not live up to them. The story seemed rushed when so much more could have been told about this new and exciting world. It seemed to lack depth, direction, and drive in many areas. This is one of the first Howey books that I would call under-average or average at best. His Wool series is the one that set the high marks for future books, and Half Way Home seemed half way done.

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Good Story

The performance was better than the story but it kept you going. A little on the preachy side, with an obvious social agenda, but the premise was enough to keep me listening. Not enough to get me to read anything else Hugh writes.

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  • sandandstars
  • 01-26-15

Good story, weird production

A long short-stpry. Usual Howey style - action, adventure, easy to read. No real sub-plots.
The audio is strange, with lots of what sound like patches - a few words or a sentence out of place, different intonation, different volume. Almost sounds sometimes like a different narrator. Not so bad as to spoil the experience, but strange.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sadey
  • 10-02-17

enjoyable

quite short. maybe aimed at a younger demographic. not as amazingly good as Wool