Jane Stewart's Reviews > The Unraveling

The Unraveling by Hugh Howey
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Jan 24, 13

bookshelves: dystopian-sci-fi
Read in January, 2013

Good sci-fi ideas, but lacks character development. Not enough showing. It drags.

OPINION ON THE ENTIRE SERIES:
There are five titles in the series. They are not complete stories. They are sections of one long story. The author published as he wrote. I suggest you buy the Omnibus Edition instead of the individual titles, which will save you $1, as of the date of this review. The Omnibus includes all five titles.

At the end of some of the titles I was angry or frustrated at the cliffhanger endings. For example, not knowing if the main character is dead or alive. But the ending of title 5 is very good. It’s a happy ending for the group and one main character.

The overall plot concept is good. Neat ideas and events in a dystopian world. People live in an underground silo. The air outside causes immediate death.

But, I was not entertained. I wanted to read fast to get through it. The author doesn’t do characters well. He names a bunch of people, has things happen to them, but I don’t get to know them. At one point a guy does a complete turn around in the story, but I never see it. I don’t see what led to it, why he changed, how he changed, or what he did after. Another guy is killed at the end. I assume I know who the guy was but the author didn’t say. And the author didn’t show conversations and actions leading to that killing. The author needs some John Grisham influence. I get to know John’s characters. I’m pulled in emotionally. That is missing here.

Too many parts of the book are told and not shown. Like reading a newspaper it can be interesting, but you are not living it. For example, there are two battle/fight scenes. In one, we hear there is gunfire and two are dead - but no details prior to or during. Where are the emotions of a guy during battle? Of seeing, fearing, reacting? In the second battle, some guys are on the run, and I hear attackers are after them. But no details at all.

THIS SERIES:
Wool (Wool #1)
Proper Gauge (Wool #2)
Casting Off (Wool #3)
The Unraveling (Wool #4)
The Stranded (Wool #5)

SUBSEQUENT TITLES:
Wool #6, 7, and 8 are a prequel trilogy telling what happened a hundred (or more) years earlier to create the silo and toxic environment. I started to read it, but I lost interest.

DATA:
Narrative mode: 3rd person. Swearing language: strong but rarely used. Sexual content: none. Setting: in the future, Georgia, U.S. Copyright: 2011 and 2012. Genre: dystopian sci fi.
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