Jenny's Reviews > Proper Gauge

Proper Gauge by Hugh Howey
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Jan 18, 12

bookshelves: 2012, spec-fiction
Read in January, 2012

Wool 2 carries on from Wool 1 and focuses on Mayor Jahns. Now that Sherrif Holston has left his post a new sherrif must be appointed. When Deputy Marnes suggests a woman who works in mechanical in the bowels of the silo, Jahns and the deputy embark on a downward trek to interview the candidate. What follows is a largely introspective tale where the aging mayor reflects on her beliefs, desires and goals for the future of her people. While there is little action, other than the never-ending descent and climb through some 100+ silo levels (this structure is obviously HUGE),Howey uses this journey well to immerse readers further in the people of the silo and how the community functions. This is the sort of detail I found lacking in Wool 1.

This isn't to say, however, that I don't still have questions that I feel weren't adequately addressed, such as the law-keepers. For a good portion of the story it seemed that there was only one Sherrif and one deputy, which surely must be wrong given the size of this community and the fact that there's been at least one uprising in their 100 year history. Another thing that struck me as odd was the presence of a beggar encountered by the pair on the journey. Given that births are so strictly metered out, as they must be in a community with limited resources, surely every person has a purpose? And then there's the question of what effect 100 years without sunlight would have on the residents of the silo. Would there be genetic abnormalities or other changes?

Anyway, despite these minor concerns this is a well-crafted story. Howey handles characterisation well and this is his biggest strength. While Wool 1 reads like a somewhat rushed short story, Wool 2 has the detail and pace of a much larger story. I like the way it has been divided into bite-sized chunks. It worked for King in The Green Mile, and it works here. I'll give this one 3 1/2 stars as I'm hovering between 'liked' and 'really liked'.
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