The Stranded, the fifth and final installment in the first Silo saga, follows the continued unraveling after Juliette's expulsion from silo #18 -- the...moreThe Stranded, the fifth and final installment in the first Silo saga, follows the continued unraveling after Juliette's expulsion from silo #18 -- the uprising that continues to wrack the silo's core, Lukas's trials as Bernard's new second, and Juliette's own trials in silo #17.
This last book flowed so urgently from the last (as all of them do, really) that I hardly noticed I was on book five. Actually thought I was on book four for half of this one, until I noticed there really wasn't room left for another book. This is a much longer installment--as Howey says, a full book-length as opposed to the short story and novella lengths of the previous ones. I noticed the longer length as I read, but didn't truly feel the length (wouldn't have guessed it was actually novel sized, as I breezed through it), since the story pace keeps right on going.
I did, however, slow down a bit for another reason. It just got so darn depressing (view spoiler)[with everyone dying and all (hide spoiler)]. Things definitely go from bad to worse, for a while, in this final installment, and I began to wonder if anyone was going to make it.
I docked one star off my rating because I was a bit disappointed in the end, in that the event that seems like the main climactic moment actually ends up happening off-stage, where we don't see it. That is, (view spoiler)[when Bernard ends up getting sent out to cleaning instead of Lukas. I would have liked to see that final tussle and then maybe be left wondering who exactly got sent out to cleaning before the narrative switched back to Juliette for the reveal (hide spoiler)]. Having us not see that conflict at all seemed like a bit of a cop-out.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Juliette has been excommunicated from the silo, sent to clean. And her friends in Mechanical now know why. But they can't just sit back and do nothing...moreJuliette has been excommunicated from the silo, sent to clean. And her friends in Mechanical now know why. But they can't just sit back and do nothing while IT pulls the wool over everyone's eyes, justifying their cleanings and outright murder. This is how the uprising begins. And how the uprising ends.
My four, as opposed to five, stars are only because at this point the story breaks off into several different points of view, which I think dilutes the strength of the narrative a bit. (Not that Howey has much choice, since the action is now taking place (view spoiler)[in two different silos (hide spoiler)].)["br"]>["br"]>(less)
In the wake of the recent deaths of Sheriff Holston and (view spoiler)[Mayor Jahns (hide spoiler)], Juliette finds herself far from the Mechanical flo...moreIn the wake of the recent deaths of Sheriff Holston and (view spoiler)[Mayor Jahns (hide spoiler)], Juliette finds herself far from the Mechanical floors of the down deep that she considers home and trying to get her bearing as she takes over the role of silo sheriff. But she can't get over her curiosity about what led to Holston's death. Or her suspicions over the recent murder that still blankets the silo in a pall of tragedy. Yet asking too many questions is what seems to lead to the inevitability of death by cleaning.
Juliette is a great character. This third story continues the highly enjoyable, tension-filled pace of the previous two in the Wool series. I also have to take a few moments to gush over how much I love Howey's series and story titles. Wool, the title of the series and of the first installment, has several meanings in and of itself. Wool is used for cleaning. It signifies the wool pulled over the eyes of the silo residents--an obscuring of the truth. And yet it is also used to clean the camera lenses, to reveal and expose truth. It also supports the knitting metaphor of the titles of the other installments. And, being a knitter myself, I just love that.["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This second installment in the Wool series follows Mayor Jahns, emotionally drained by the recent cleaning of Sheriff Holston, as she and Deputy Marne...moreThis second installment in the Wool series follows Mayor Jahns, emotionally drained by the recent cleaning of Sheriff Holston, as she and Deputy Marnes journey to the down-deep of the silo to find the brilliant young mechanic who they have selected to succeed Holston as sheriff. But Jahns finds her choice for sheriff at odds with the wishes of Bernard, the head of IT. And the conflict leads to much more than she bargained for.
Again, fantastic. Loved the pacing and the slow unfolding reveal and growth of the relationship between Jahns and Marnes (though I can imagine some might find it a bit slow). The ending, again, had the perfect blend of unexpected and dreaded anticipation.(less)
Wool was a fabulous start to Hugh Howey's riveting Wool series. I can see why it was such a runaway success.
This first installment begins with Sherif...moreWool was a fabulous start to Hugh Howey's riveting Wool series. I can see why it was such a runaway success.
This first installment begins with Sheriff Holston's trek up to the top level of the silo--a 100+ floor, self-contained structure buried underground to protect it from the uninhabitable air that now permeates Earth's surface. He is finally ready to declare that he is finished, ready to leave the silo, to clean the camera lenses that allow the silo's only view of the outside and then die out in the poisoned air, just like his wife inexplicably did three years earlier.
Yep. Seriously. Read it.
One sidenote -- Okay, I admit Wool wasn't perfect. In a few places, Howey's prose leave a little smidgen to be desired. For example, the beginning of this first installment takes just a little too long to get started, wallowing in description for several beats too long. He also sometimes relies too heavily on weak verbs. But that's all. Otherwise: fantastic! Surprising! Smart! Unexpected! And this first one (at the moment) is available free on Kindle. And no, I have no connection to the author. :-)(less)
I found this fifth installment of L'Engle's Time Quintet to be disappointingly on par with A Swiftly Tilting Planet (see my review). An Acceptable Tim...moreI found this fifth installment of L'Engle's Time Quintet to be disappointingly on par with A Swiftly Tilting Planet (see my review). An Acceptable Time skips ahead a generation to follow Polly O'Keefe (the daughter of Meg Murry and Calvin O'Keefe, the protagonists of A Wrinkle in Time) on a visit to her grandparents. She and her friend Zachary Gray stumble unwittingly into the past and find themselves in the midst of growing tensions between two Native American tribes about an ongoing drought and the merits of blood sacrifice.
For me, the beginning of the book--before Polly and Zachary get stuck in the past--takes way too long and is riddled with lengthy scenes of exposition through dialogue where the adults discuss theories of time and worry unnecessarily about Polly's safety. I found Mr. and Mrs. Murry's (Polly's grandparents') old aged closed-mindedness and penchant for worry rather unbelievable when they had been (at least to my recollection) so progressively minded in previous books. L'Engle was a bit too heavy-handed with the fact that Zachary (view spoiler)[was only a romantic red herring and would end up causing trouble. I would have liked to like him first, feel some sympathy toward him, before he turned bad (hide spoiler)]. I did enjoy the Celtic warrior Tav and his dynamic relationship with Polly, (view spoiler)[particularly his conflicting desires to be with her and to sacrifice her to the gods in exchange for rain (hide spoiler)]. That was probably the most interesting part of the book.
On the whole, An Acceptable Time does not at all make me want to read the others in the O'Keefe Family series, which also feature Polly and of which An Acceptable Time is I guess considered the fourth.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The presentation in this novella is extremely surreal and disjointed. I recommend reading it all in one or two sittings rather than as I did: a half h...moreThe presentation in this novella is extremely surreal and disjointed. I recommend reading it all in one or two sittings rather than as I did: a half hour here, a half hour there over the course of four months. By the time I actually finished the story, I could hardly remember where it began. It is heavy in metaphor and theme that I wasn't able to connect up meaningfully because of my disjointed reading of it. However, I could still appreciate the quality writing, and the very cool concepts and technology. Silently and Very Fast doesn't contain much of a plot, but will definitely make you think and work for the underlying meaning. It definitely left me wanting more, like a fully fleshed out novel within this fascinating world that Valente has created. (less)