While I'll be thinking about this book for a long time, I didn't find myself actually enjoying it very often. It promises a story about humans tryingWhile I'll be thinking about this book for a long time, I didn't find myself actually enjoying it very often. It promises a story about humans trying to deal with the end of the world, and it delivers, but both sections of it annoyed me, for seemingly opposite reasons.
In the lead up to, and during the end of the world, the author kept having to remind me how terrible humans are. I mean it makes sense, right, humans are terrible, I get it, but I spent most of that time being a lot more interested in the crazy scramble to try to save some portion of the human race, and the technological hurdles and astrophysical problems they were dealing with, only to get annoyed when some dumb human would make a political power play endangering the mission. It totally makes sense that these sorts of things would happen, I just found it distracting. It's like, sure, the titanic is sinking, but go ahead and kick the captain in the nuts and seize the wheel if you want. Dumb ass.
My other problem with the book is that unlike many of the author's other books, I never really got to know any of the characters. I mean sure, it's the end of the world, and billions of them are going to die anyway (well, billions of people, surely not billions of actual characters), but it was hard to ever feel sad about it because most of the characters were pretty shallow. It's hard to talk about without getting too spoilery, but the book feels like it was written by a guy who has a good understanding of what humans will do under stress and extreme situations, but he doesn't actually justify why, what they were thinking or feeling that made them do these things. They're a bit too robotic. That problem only gets worse later on, too....more
If you ever wanted to know what would happen to the batter (and the city around him) if the pitcher threw the ball at about the speed of light, this iIf you ever wanted to know what would happen to the batter (and the city around him) if the pitcher threw the ball at about the speed of light, this is the book for you. If you haven't wondered that, what's wrong with you?...more
Hugh Howey is really quite adept at world building. While some authors do it with pages upon pages of description and exposition, Howey manages it byHugh Howey is really quite adept at world building. While some authors do it with pages upon pages of description and exposition, Howey manages it by essentially writing as if you already know everything about the world, leaving out as much detail as he includes. He does this so well, sneaking in the detail that the reader needs amongst their various imaginings. The result is well realized, depressing, and fascinating.
In this world, Howey introduces us to a dysfunctional family. A father, with a sparsely detailed and intriguing past, who has disappeared -- abandoning his wife and her four children to a life of poverty -- creates, through his absence, much conflict for the remaining members of his family. The oldest two siblings make their living as divers... scavenging useful material from the titular sand in order to scrounge up a living. One of them stumbles upon a find that changes the small world, setting into motion all sorts of dramatic events throughout the post apocalyptic world.
All that would probably be interesting enough on its own, but the compellingly damaged relationships between the family members, and the evolution and growth of those relationships throughout the story really made the whole thing work.
I look forward to reading more of Hugh Howey's stories, they haven't let me down so far....more