Kaila's Reviews > First Shift: Legacy

First Shift by Hugh Howey
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Mar 07, 2016

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, dystopia, science-fiction
Read from April 15 to 16, 2012

I liked this addition to the Wool universe. I was unable to put it down. Once again Mr. Howey draws us in with lifelike characters that emotionally resonate, like this story has already happened and he's just explaining it to us. It's an amazing gift to make the future seem so close. It's gripping and fast paced, but still manages to retain the same poignancy we all loved in the Wool series.

We begin in 2049, following around Congressman Donald Keene as he is given a project to design a skyscraper...underground. How exceedingly strange! If only Congressman Keene had been blessed with the omniscience we now possess. His thoughts about the design made it much easier for me to picture the silo as it was meant to be imagined, like how seeing something through an outsider's eyes allows you to appreciate it all the more. The people who lived in Silo 18 never thought the stairs odd because they've been walking up and down them their entire lives. I cracked a smile when Donald said, "What, no elevator? Are you crazy?" I agree Donald! Had you only known what they were planning...

The second half of the story takes place in the year 2110, in Silo 1, following around a fellow named Troy. As far as I can tell he is like a Mayor from any of the other silos: only nominally in charge. I loved getting to know the inner workings of the, up until now, rather sinister Silo 1. Troy's misadventures just broke my heart, especially as we near the ending and realize what is going on. Once again the last few lines have assured that I will be picking up more of the series.

Mr. Howey, I've decided, is absolutely amazing at the small things. I am now convinced this is why his characters feel so alive, because we all have weird quirks or trains of thought, and unless your character does too, why should we believe in them? He describes a game of Solitaire exactly how I've always thought about it but could never put into words. He explains the brushing of a paper medical gown against the skin, and I can feel it because I've had one on too. It is therefore all the more blissfully agonizing as we lose the characters that have come to mean something to us.

But, but!, something was missing. I had a really hard time putting my finger on it at first, because if I wanted to keep reading, and it kept me up late because I really wanted to finish it, shouldn't it get 5 stars? The little things is what made this story so imminently readable, but the big, overarching story is what made it lacking. The explanation of the apocalypse just didn't hold together for me. In Wool 5 we learn that we were the ones to do it, to push the big red button, and this is where we learn why. The reasoning was rather baffling to me. A dystopia means, at its base, that somewhere along the line mankind failed. Oh we definitely failed here, but I felt it was unbelievable. The plan must have been far reaching for it to go off without a hitch, and all the higher ups were ok with this? No one wanted to stop it? Zuh?

That bugged me, yes, but you know what? It doesn't matter. I loved this story, I love the Wool universe.
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Reading Progress

04/16/2012
35.0% "I have this sinking feeling I know where this is headed."
03/07/2016 marked as: read

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