Jon Scott's Reviews > Wool Omnibus

Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey
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Nov 23, 12

I read about this book as a Goodreads book of the year selection. I had never heard of it and read some of the reviews which sounded good so I went to Amazon and read some more reviews before I decided to purchase it. Wow. This book sucked. I can't really understand why so many readers gave it such strong reviews. I wanted to like the book (I consider the omnibus one book) but I just could not. After reading the mock interview at the end of the book, I was pulling for the author. From what I could gather, Wool was a self published book. I am all for self publishing to bring edgy work to the public eye. But from essentially page one, question marks kept popping up in my mind as to the quality of the work.
When it comes down to it, the major problems with Wool were twofold: plot and character. When it came to plot, I felt like I was reading pages of materials where the content was going nowhere and ultimately it didn't. Way too much detail was written about nothing important. A major character spends pages attempting to pump water out of the base of a silo, and to what end? Nothing. She really didn't have much of a plan, and what she did plan seemed stupid, ill considered, and a colossal waste of time for both reader and character. Another example comes from the beginning of the book when two characters are seeking out a third to become the new sheriff. They plod on for pages climbing up and down the endless stairwell for what? Nothing too revelatory or interesting.
I believe Howey loves his characters and wanted them to live and breathe, but to me, they were flat, underdeveloped and cartoonish in nature. Howey failed to develop their inner lives. Long felt emotions appeared flat and uninspired. New found relationships seemed strained and ill conceived. I'm not going to go into detail to dismember each character but let it suffice to say that I could not believe in them. Howey seemed to lack the skill or ability to bring to surface the unique qualities of the characters that people his world. While I'm at it, the lead male character loves the girl so much he has to tell his mommy? And then his mommy comes to visit him in lock up where he spends hour after hour on the telephone discussing sweet nothings with his "babe"? The relationships are more mature in Twilight, for goodness sake.
I love sci-fi from its early ages through its golden age and even to today, but Wool failed on every level, coming off more as an endless sample of student writing than cutting edge fiction. I was disappointed not only in the novel, but also the Goodread readers who included it as one of the best of the year. If that is the case, then 2012 will fade into obscurity quickly as a barren year for quality sic-fi and for good reason. One final observation. Wool? Does this have to go down as one of the most misleading, inconsequential titles in the history of novels? I guess Howey pulled it over my eyes.
Sorry, Hugh.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Sandy I'm glad to see someone else essentially felt the same way I did. There was way too much detail in all the wrong areas.

DavidO I'm exactly with you on this review, and I've only read parts 1 and 2. Does it get better or do I have lots of skimming to look forward to?

message 3: by Sam (new)

Sam I pulled the Wool off after book 3 for the same reasons. Lifes too short.

message 4: by Rose Ann (new) - added it

Rose Ann Don't you think that this is often the problem with self-published books? They could benefit from a capable editor. And don't get me started on the things that a good copy-editor would have taken care of!

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