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This Omnibus Edition collects the five Wool books into a single volume. It is for those who arrived late to the party and who wish to save a dollar or two while picking up the same stories in a single package.

The first Wool story was released as a standalone short in July of 2011. Due to reviewer demand, the rest of the story was released over the next six months. My thanks go out to those reviewers who clamored for more. Without you, none of this would exist. Your demand created this as much as I did.

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

An alternate cover for this ASIN can be found here.

530 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 27, 2012

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About the author

Hugh Howey

131 books54.3k followers
I'm the author of WOOL, a top 5 science fiction book on Amazon. I also wrote the Molly Fyde saga, a tale of a teenager from the 25th century who is repeatedly told that girls can't do certain things -- and then does them anyway.

A theme in my books is the celebration of overcoming odds and of not allowing the cruelty of the universe to change who you are in the process. Most of them are classified as science fiction, since they often take place in the future, but if you love great stories and memorable characters, you'll dig what you find here. I promise.

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5 stars
87,691 (44%)
4 stars
73,267 (37%)
3 stars
25,673 (13%)
2 stars
6,079 (3%)
1 star
2,382 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 16,051 reviews
Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
July 12, 2022
things this book does not have:
1. a unique premise
2. three dimensional characters
3. a compelling plot
4. a satisfying ending
5. good writing

things this book has:
1. stairs
Profile Image for Cass.
488 reviews120 followers
July 23, 2023
There are two stupid things about this book, neither have to do with the writing. The writing is good, the story is original, I highly recommend this book.

Let's address the stupid things.
The name is stupid. It is like a garage band was after a clever name. There are no sheep in this book, there is no wool in this book. There is one tiny insignificant piece where a character is knitting but she isn't even using wool, she knits with cotton. Given the subtitles are all knitting related (unravel, cast off etc) I think the book should have been called "knitting" and then the book would have never sold a single copy.

I shall rename the book for the author SILO. Hereafter I shall refer to the book as such... Because it is a much better name that will actually appeal to the target market.

The second stupid thing about SILO (okay WOOL but my name is better) is that it is serialised into individual books. The author asks at the end of this omnibus if the reader would rate and review each book separately. As far as books/stories/novellas go only WOOL1 and WOOL 3 really stand alone. The others are just parts in a novel. They are also all the size of novellas not novels, making this omnibus edition about the size of a book. Here is my advice to the author. Just sell the omnibus edition, ebook users can read a sample anyway, the $6 price tag is very reasonable for the whole book. In fact because I didn't realise it was a series of novellas I bought the first part plus the omnibus which was silly of me. Perhaps good for the authors pocket but it doesn't endear me toward him.

None of that has anything to do with the novel. The novel was original and highly interesting. Finally a novel that I don't think I could flippantly surmise in a paragraph or two.

Usually I do like to give a summary of the novel but I won't in this review as I think there are lots of refreshing little things about the novel that are enjoyable to discover while reading, plus a few good places where you can say "oh wow I didn't see that coming".

WOOL is a good little dystopian novel. The type that leaves you thinking about it for days. The type that creeps back into your mind months after you have read it. It has a fairly original concept that kept me thinking. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to all lovers of dystopian fiction.

Despite complaining about the way it has been serialised I am hoping the author has lots more little stories about this world coming.

ETA: Before you comment. This review has been around for almost two years, and it has spawned a wonderful bunch of friendly people who laugh and joke in the comment section - many (most?) of whom completely disagree with me. Please read the comments (even the first page or two). You don't want to be that douche who thinks he is the first person in 500 comments to think to inform me that wool was used for cleaning, or that is was a metaphor. I disagree with the importance of either as a reason for naming the book WOOL, and if you read even a few of my comments you will find lots of reasoning. Enjoy the community, but don't be the dude that makes us snogger (yes, so crazy is this littler community that we even coined our own word!!).

ETA: Ten years later *cough* Apple TV went with the name Silo *cough* I was right *cough*!! But seriously - WOOT Hugh Howey for a well deserved book getting turned into a series. (Also Kudos to the two woman who read ten years worth of comments before posting, wow!!)
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
November 26, 2019
I read the full 500+ page novel, not the novella. Maybe this should have stayed as a novella because holy shit I was so bored throughout reading this. I found the characters to be flat, many of the lines to be cliche, and the story to be such a mundane watered-down sci-fi apocalyptic narrative (brooding protagonist in grief over the death of his wife who knew secrets about their world before she died, etc.)
Profile Image for Nataliya.
782 reviews12.5k followers
April 25, 2023
Back in the dark ages of early 2012 I came across a short story “Wool” by a then relatively unknown author Hugh Howey, and before I knew it, I flew through the entire pentalogy of it that made sort of a serialized novel. It was a fun ride, and I was mesmerized. A year later a reread left me less enamored once the shine had worn off, and I forgot about it until now, when a GR friend (hiya, Dennis!) was rereading it.

And this read-through was unexpectedly entertaining again, although I knew where the story was headed. No, not nearly as engrossing as the first time around, but quite fun. You see, it does not do anything “new”, it has a few too-easy resolutions, but the storytelling pulls you in nevertheless.
“And now you see why some facts, some pieces of knowledge, have to be snuffed out as soon as they form. Curiosity would blow across such embers and burn this silo to the ground.”

I love generation ship stories, with a sliver of humanity surviving in a confined space for decades and even centuries, with the resultant cultural shifts and new mythology and scarcity of resources demanding multiple adjustments. Here it’s basically the same concept of a generation ship minus a spaceship itself. Wool introduces us to a postapocalyptic world where survivors of whatever disaster that made the outside uninhabitable huddle underground in a giant "silo" that houses hundreds of people. As we can predict, the disaster was man-made (*).
(*) "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!" - courtesy of "Planet of the Apes"

Left - what a silo looks like, in case you are agriculturally challenged, like me. Right - apparently people already live in the underground missile silos. Yup.

Even speaking about the outside has become taboo, and breaking this taboo results in exile to the toxic outside, where - for reasons unknown to most - the condemned take time to clean the silo "windows" before their death, and the survivors inside can enjoy the toxic views for a few more years. For a long time, the Silo has been functioning like a well-oiled machine until we witness a confrontation between a strong-willed young woman who is not afraid to dig through the secrets of this shelter/prison and an equally strong-willed official who for reasons of his own prefers a status quo. The question stands - what is preferable: safety and security or truth and potential devastation? And the answer to that one is not that easy.

Initially there’s a bit of an episodic feel to it given that the story began as a standalone novella and was subsequently expanded into 4 more volumes (and a prequel and a sequel since). The first part has a bleak and haunted, almost vintage sci-fi feel to it. The following four parts expand the world both in the sheer scale of the silo as well as intra-silo politics and class structure, while adding action to replace the contemplative feel of the opening. The characters are not bad, either. Due to originally unplanned expansion of the story, the protagonist Juliette does not take center stage until the third part, but she quickly becomes the natural center of the story, and is easy to root for and relatable — rational, practical, level-headed, strong-willed, courageous, tough, and outspoken.
“People were like machines. They broke down. They rattled. They could burn you or maim you if you weren't careful. Her job was not only to figure out why this happened and who was to blame, but also to listen for the signs of it coming. Being sheriff, like being a mechanic, was as much the fine art of preventive maintenance as it was the cleaning up after a breakdown.”

The weakness remains in the ending, which was overall satisfying but a bit too rushed, with a few things quickly recounted rather than shown. And the main villain of the story was stereotypically physically unattractive - short, fat, small-handed, with crooked teeth - as though we need a Hollywood-style telegraphing of “not pretty therefore evil guy incoming!” And the seeming easiness with which people accepted the upending if their established world order was a bit stretching the imagination.

And yet despite the occasional mild eye-rolling I quite enjoyed the world of the silo, with its persistent class divisions (blue-collar, as expected, always ends up on the bottom of the pile), and the imagery of the endless helix of a staircase going up into dizzying heights (and that there’s a good reason for such seeming inefficiency of not including a few large elevators in the place). I liked the exploration of manipulation and control of a small population, even if it was often simplistic. And I liked some classic SF vibes that it has, especially early on.

Solid 3.5 stars. Rounding up since I really did not mind staying up late to finish the reread despite knowing how it ends.

Also posted on my blog.

Recommended by: Dennis
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,850 followers
September 19, 2021
Who would have thought that a small flat with unfriendly neighbors was an imposition should try this very close underground living real reality tv version without an alternative, except certain death.

Whenever society goes underground for whatever reason, there seems to be this tendency to lunatic autocracy and evil despotism, never to utopias and drilling more underground living space, building industries singing happy dwarfs songs, mining the hell out of earth, or at least until it gets hot in here, using the energies one might find there, or generally have a positive outlook. Yes, I know, the resources are rare, but it takes me some big portions of suspension of disbelief to accept that superpowers would be unable to plan and,…ok, you made a point here.

This perfect logistic would make it, of course, annoyingly boring to watch them build a futuristic wonderland, but I would deem it more realistic that a technologically advanced future society, able to built autonomous, huge underground cities, would have an eye on expansion and continuing research to find solutions for the problems that led to the life in darkness deep in mother earth´s womb interior design style.

But humans are humans and Howey uses a well known rebellion, good evil government trope in a new setting to create a vivid, badass future outlook, a cool and especially good version in contrast to some of the similar end of the days scenarios from newer young adult or old apocalyptic fiction waves of redundant works.

Everything was already there, it just had to be welded to a new, shiny subgenre, I don´t get it why nobody put the components together to destill suspsense at very limited space, creating some believable characters and just letting the thing roll towards one of the coolest series of the last years.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for carol..
1,566 reviews8,220 followers
December 5, 2013
Forget Wool. This should have been called Forge.
Writing that's a power-punch to the gut. Direct, slow build of heat, singeing as it suddenly roars into flame. A world that feels solid, heavy, hard-edged, soldered with characters that are heated and molded into something new. This isn't knitting a scarf so much as forging a steel chain.

I absolutely love the character of Juliette, determined, essentially elemental, a person that rocks my character world. I love how all her metaphors are mechanical ones, problems and solutions both. Even though I'm completely tool-impaired, her thinking was relatable, a clear schematic of sense. "But as Bernard's footsteps receded... she felt a new resolve steel her nerves. It was like encountering a rusted bolt that refused to budge. Something about that intolerable stiffness, that reluctance to move, set Juliette's teeth on edge. She had come to believe that there was no fastener she culdn't unstick, had learned to attack them with grease and with fire, with penetrating oil and with brute strength" (p. 132).

But as organized and mechanistic as Juliette is in her world, by no means is she limited in her range of emotion: "She had made the same choices as an adult, to love without sanction, and so her hypocrisy was more keenly felt" (p.137)

Howey has a gift for understated prose, and the writing was one of pleasures of the book. With clear, straightforward language he captures subtlety of emotion and action. The funeral scene just about made me weep:
"But then, the lowering of the body and the plucking of ripe fruit just above the graves was meant to hammer this home: The cycle of life is here. It is inescapable. It is to be embraced, cherished, appreciated. One departs and leaves behind the gift of sustenance, of life... We are born, we are shadows, we cast shadows of our own, and then we are gone. All anyone can hope for is to be remembered two shadows deep" (p.158)

I absolutely loved all the little connections linking the sections. I was particularly fond of the shadow imagery and the chain imagery. A moment in the uprising solidly hit the connection:
"It startled Knox, this sudden link to a mysterious past. And it wasn't that terribly long ago, was it? Less than two hundred years? He imagined, if someone lived as long as Jahns had, or McLain for that matter, that three long lives could span that distance. Three handshakes to go from that uprising to this one" (p.321)

One of my only complaints is

Sophisticated in its ethics and philosophy. Although I expected something unusual given the buzz, I was still astounded at what I found. While it is not a novel I would read again and again (that's what Kate Daniels is for), it's powerful and worth a second read.

Thoughts on the Omnibus:
Wool: Stunning in its character development. Introduces the psychology of the people in the intimate space through the story of the sheriff and his dead wife. Romantic, tragic, doomed; truly a hint of Romeo and Juliet.
Wool Two, Proper Gauge: Compelling mix of character and plotting. Mayor and Deputy find renewal during the search for a sheriff. Using the climb gives a terrific tour of the physics and politics of the silo without infodump.
Wool Three, Casting Off: Juliette takes center stage, struggling in isolation in her new job. Powerful discoveries mean the pattern starts to come together.
Wool Four, The Unraveling: The overarching structure clarifies, like being able to see a map zooming out. Delicious ending line of kickassitude.
Wool Five, The Stranded: Action packed tension. Delicately balanced characterization means no villains here. And I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will never go cave/wreck diving.

Five dust-smudged and elusive stars.

Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...
Profile Image for Maciek.
567 reviews3,410 followers
May 26, 2023
I don't get the hype.

If you'd judge a book by its rating on Goodreads and Amazon, you should consider Wool to be a science fiction miracle - the vast majority of Goodreaders gave it 5 stars, and on Amazon it currently holds an astonishing 3,740 five star reviews - with new ones appearing every day. Wool seems to be a prodigious child of a next Asimov or Heinlein, destined to last for decades and inspire generations of readers and writers.

What's even more interesting is that Wool began its life as a short, self-published novella, Wool, which so excited the readers that the author quickly published the next four parts, finally gathering them all in this omnibus. Film rights have already been sold to 20th Century Fox, with Ridley Scott showing interest in adapting Wool into a movie.

Does anyone here remember the PC game Fallout? Here's its great introductory movie, with its famous war never changes speech. I played the hell out of it when it came out and it's one of the games on which I learned the English language. In Fallout its 2161, and after a major nuclear war humanity has hid in underground vaults. Generations have lived in such way, without having seen natural light. The player controls an inhabitant of Vault 13, where a computer chip responsible for purifying water has broken - and is sent into the outside world to journey to other communities, looking for a replacement. The player has 150 game days to complete the assignment and return to the vault before its water supply runs out. Fallout has won many awards and sprawled a number of sequels, and it stole many childhoods with its addictive qualities - including a large and open word, with many non-pcs ready for interaction, quests and subplots ready to indulge in.

Wool starts intriguing enough, and Howey has a good sense of pacing to keep up the interest all the way through the first part. After an unnamed apocalyptic event the earth has been rendered uninhabitable, and people have to live in an underground Silo, which extends many stories beneath the surface of the planet. Inhabitants can see the outside world only through a lens, and the images are grim: constantly cloudy and dark skies, the ragged plains and mountains depopulated by strong radiation. Despite this, people live quite comfortably in the Silo, except for one small detail: the lens which shows them the outside world gets dirty with dust and rust, and has to be cleaned - a perilous duty, as it involved going outside and becoming exposed to a deadly amount of radiation. Although technicians working at the Silo managed to develop protective suits, they only last for a short time before disintegrating from exposure - effectively making the cleaning a one-way trip. Therefore, the only people who clean the lens are those sent to do so as punishment. And everyone who is sentenced to cleaning cleans - there has not been a case of anyone going outside and not cleaning in the history of the Silo.

The first part of Wool follows the story of Holston, the Silo's sheriff who is trying to understand the circumstances which led to his wife's death. She has been sentenced to Cleaning - and Holston is doing his best to understand why, as he believes the sentence was connected to his wife's investigation of Silo's historical records. Although there is only basic wordbuilding and the characters are sketchily drawn at best, the familiar concept is still intriguing enough to turn the page.

But then Wool 1 ends, and trouble sets in. Although the author maintains that each of the five installments is meant to be read as a standalone, there is simply no way that they could work this way. Wool 1 leaves far too many questions unanswered - each introduced idea begets interest which is never properly cared for. Howey embarks an ambitious idea - trying to create a new society from scratch, and create characters the readers can care for - but a vast majority of questions the reader can have about his world, its past and present, science and technology are never answered. Holston, his wife, their relationship and the whole society is painted rather than presented, never feeling quite real. But how could it in just 50 pages?

Wool 1 ends with a giant cliffhanger, prompting a swift reader response demanding one thing - more! So Hugh Howey wrote four extra parts, again claiming that each was always meant to be read individually, but I don't believe it. Howey seems to be caught between wanting to tell a single story, and split it into several independent short novels - but doesn't pull it off, leaving each installment bordering awkwardly between wanting to experiment with new ideas and characters and dependence on the old for the sake of continuity. This leaves each installment unsatisfying on its own, as new characters are introduced, presented and dispatched - without offering the readers a proper chance to grow attached to them. The single storyline quickly starting to feel convoluted, as the subsequent parts merely dilute the ideas found in Wool 1 instead of presenting truly new and fascinating concepts. I don't know how much of it was pre-planned, but it seems to me that the success of Wool 1 caught the author by surprise, and he didn't quite knew what to do with the plot to do justice to his premise, and what he came up with provoked only a small "eh? that's it?", with the author emerging not carrying a torch of victory but clutching a straw.

The science in Wool seems to be treated with a very soft brush, and paid only minimal attention to for the sake of moving the plot along. But most unbelievable is the cleaning process, on which the whole plot lies - it's really pointless and inexplicable with its needless complexity and waste of precious human resources. I couldn't believe that the society wouldn't invent a mechanical cleaner whom they could simply send out to clean the lens. Really? We sent humans, dogs and monkeys into space. Surely a small robot could be thought of. We have one on Mars right now.
And the sheer idea that every single person in history of the Silo has always cleaned the lens is simply unimaginable. With the cleaning being essentially capital punishment, it's ridiculous to suggest that every single person sentenced to death dutifully cleaned the lens for posterity instead of leaving it be or even breaking it. The cleaners knew that they had one final chance to get back at those who sent them there, sometimes perhaps unjustly - would we really believe that they all cleaned the lens out of their own free will, after they were condemned to death and were beyond the reach of their opressors? What happened to all rebels and simple assholes?

Wool received so many rave ratings all over the web, but in terms of novelty, originality and even entertainment it has delivered so preciously little. It's really nothing more than a relatively simple idea stretched and separated into 5 novellas and then published as a single volume. It has nothing of the grand richness of great science fiction, with detailed and inventive world-building and creative ideas, complete with compelling characterization of both heroes and villains, making them vivid and memorable. From what I see here the author has already pulled a George Lucas on us, publishing a new series of prologue novels of the Silo's origin - but the reviews are beginning to get mixed. I won't be reading them - there are far too many other interesting novels to attend to. This year I have read Paul Auster's In the Country of Last Things and Brian Evenson's Immobility, both also dystopian novels - and much better than Howey's cycle of five. I would recommend them both over this any time, and although the time devoted on it goes by pretty fast it'd be much better spent by discovering the hidden gems of the genre which has so much to offer instead of following this goose only painted to look gold.
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,637 followers
July 16, 2023
Admittedly, this is not my genre, but someone on GR strongly suggested it (who?) and I just finished it. Wool is the first volume of a trilogy (apparently, the 2nd volume is a prequel and the 3rd is the sequel to the first.) The plot is interesting, dystopian future with humans living inside because we destroyed the environment outside (you listening Mr Pruitt?). The character development is a bit thin, folks are pretty much black and white (although one gets the impression that all the characters are white caucasian.) It is a bit predictable to be honest, but there are good ideas here. A commenter as I was reading said the story was similar to (inspired by?) a Philip K Dick book called The Penultimate Truth.
I found myself skimming towards the end, knowing how things would turn out pretty much. The writing is OK, but as I said, I felt the characters were quite 2-dimensional and I was only marginally able to become attached to the protagonist.
I did eventually read (and review on GR) both sequels which I found more compelling and better written than Wool. That being said, this initial book did inspire me to learn more about Howey's particular take on a dystopian future.
UPDATE: I can’t remember all the plot points from the book, it I think that AppleTV’s adaptation by Graham Yost does a great job with this story. I really like the Swedish actress that plays the second sherif, and the supporting cast is rather strong. Definitely recommended, maybe more so than the book.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews47 followers
May 3, 2022
Wool Omnibus (Silo #1), Hugh Howey

Hugh C. Howey is an American writer, known best for the science fiction series Silo. The first Wool story was released as a standalone short in July of 2011. This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: دوم ژانویه سال2017میلادی

عنوان: پشم (سراب)؛ نویسنده: هیو هاوی؛ مترجم: آیدا کشوری؛ ویراستار نیما کهندانی؛ تهران، آذرباد، سال1393، در684ص؛ از سه گانه ��یلو کتاب اول؛ شابک دوره9786006225531؛ شابک کتاب اول9786006225548؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده21م

داستانهای پساآخرالزمانی سری «سیلو» در مورد برخاستگان از یک شهر زیرزمینی بزرگ است، که به روی سطح سمی زمین بازمی‌گردند؛ در این میان ساکنان «سیلو» روی سطح زمین با آینده‌ ای ناپیدا روبرو هستند و در زیر سطح نیز زیر فرمان حکومتی هستند که اجازه‌ ی آزادی باور به افراد نمی‌دهد؛ داستان «پشم (سراب)»؛ چنگ زدن بشر برای مانش و بقا است، برای انسان در لبه، دنیای بیرون نامهربان و سمی شده، نگاه به آن ناچیز، و سخن گفتن از آن قدغن است؛ اما هماره کسانی هستند، که امیدوار و آرزومند رفتن به روی سطح زمین هستند؛ این افراد هراس انگیزند، ساکنانی که با خوش بینی خود، دیگران را نیز آلوده میکنند؛ کیفر آنها ساده است؛ به آنها همان چیزی داده میشود که میگویند میخواهند؛ آنها اجازه دارند از شهر زیرزمینی خارج شوند

نقل دیدگاههای نویسندگان درباره ی کتاب «پشم»؛ (کتاب «پشم» شگفت انگیز است بهترین رمان علمی تخیلی است که پس از سال‌ها خوانده‌ ام؛ «داگلاس پیترسون»، نویسنده‌ی کتاب «توهین» و «هیولای فلورانس»)؛ (کتاب «پشم» اثر «هاوی» شاهکار محشری از تخیل است؛ می‌توانید در این دنیا زندگی کنید؛ «جاستین کرونین»، نویسنده‌ی کتاب «گذرگاه»)؛ (با سرعتی واقعاً مناسب گره از اسرار گشوده می‌شود…؛ اگر به دنبال داستان پساآخرالزمانی خوبی می‌گردید، مطمئن باشید بهتر از «پشم» نخواهید یافت؛ ریک ریردان، نویسنده‌ی سری «پرسی جکسون و المپیان»)؛ (با «پشم»، «هیو هاوی» علمی تخیلی کلاسیک دیگری خلق کرده است؛ «ارنست کلاین»، نویسنده‌ی کتاب «بازیکن شماره یک آماده»)؛ (در «پشم»، «هیو هاوی» عنصرهای اصلی یک رمان علمی تخیلی بزرگ را به خوانشگر می‌دهد: دنیای آینده‌ ای قابل اعتماد و با جزئیات شرح‌ داده‌ شده؛ شخصیت‌هایی واقع‌گرایانه که در آن زندگی می‌کنند و داستانی با شالوده‌ ی محکم و عمیق؛ قلمِ منعطف و قوی «هاوی» بی‌شک به جذابیت این اثر افزوده است؛ «جاناتان هیز»، نویسنده‌ی «مرگی سخت»)

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 23/03/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 12/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,986 followers
June 16, 2016
This book is an excellent and unique take on a post-apocalyptic earth. Recently, literature has been saturated with post-apocalyptic stories and sometimes it is hard to find something that is fresh . . . something that doesn't feel like it has already been done before. Everything about this book was suspenseful and interesting - no boredom of rehashed ideas/concepts/storylines for me.

Another cool thing about it is the book is divided into little novellas which kind of refresh the story every 50 to 100 pages while keeping with the bigger story as a whole.

The characters you meet in this book are great. They are easy to empathize with. They are easy to cheer for. They are easy to despise. In the end, some are hard to mourn.

I am not sure this book is for everyone. I have read reviews that say it is too long or too slow. I did not feel either of those things so hopefully you won't either!
Profile Image for Crystal Starr Light.
1,357 reviews832 followers
December 30, 2013
Bullet Review:

Good story, but OMG, did we REALLY need 500 pages to tell it?! So much of the "story" is just Juliette spending chapters getting into and out of clothes and airlocks, it was about ready to drive me nuts. Could be a superb story minus about 200 pages.

And because of that, it's doubtful I'll pursue the rest of the series. There's a good internet saying for this:


Too long; didn't read

Sums up how I feel pretty well.

Full Review:

It is some unspecified time in the future; people live in silos, but they never talk about the circumstances of living in the silo. If they do, they head out to clean the cameras viewing the miserable outdoor world. Juliette takes over for the Sheriff, Holston, and quickly begins to uncover the secrets IT, led by Bernard, are hiding.

This book got several good reviews from Goodreads' friends, whose opinions I deeply trust. This is what led me to the book; this is what led me to choose this book for my Book Club book. And while my gut churns just thinking this in light of their favorable opinions, I got mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it's got a fascinating story and was a great lesson for me to think about characters being non-white (see my Casting Review below). On the other hand, it's soooooooo sloooooooow. It seriously smarts of "first author syndrome" - the detailing of Each and Every Action, no matter how important to the actual story.

There were definitely great characters. Juliette proved to me that you can have a female lead without relying 100% on the romance angle. Other excellent nuanced characters include the slimy Bernard, Holston, Marnes, Peter, and Knox. Lots of great characters - it was even more fun for me because, instead of imagining each as a white dude or chick, I went out of my way to find non-white actors and actresses for each role.

As I mentioned above, the story and world-building had a lot of promise. I can't help but liken it to Justin Cronin's "The Passage" in this regard - both are about isolated societies in a post-apocalyptic world. I liked learning how the society was, even though there were plenty of details that made no sense (such as young, healthy people treating several stories as a huge deal when they've lived their ENTIRE LIVES on stairs). It felt like a dystopia - not like the fauxtopias that are all the rage these days.

But really, what really kept me from liking it, what is holding back all the stars is the fact the book is too damned slow. This is best exemplified in the second short story where the entire plot is Marnes and Jahns descending and ascending the stairs. Yes, there is character development going on. Yes, it does build the world. But seriously, 100+ pages for this? Absolutely not.

And this never really improves over the course of the novel. Howey spends whole chapters on Juliette flailing through airlocks and removing or putting on clothes. Again, really? I understand trying to detail his surroundings, but it quickly goes overboard.

As I was trying desperately to finish this before the new year, I agonized over something: why was I eager to continue Justin Cronin's equally slow "Passage" trilogy but considering giving up Howey's "Wool" series? Both are slow, both don't seem to go anywhere - so why one and not the other?

And then I remember - yes, "The Passage" was slow and boring in places, but the first 250 pages were AWESOME. I devoured them. They didn't wallow in the characters' every detailed movement from one room to the other. They didn't spend huge chapters just entering an airlock. Stuff happened.

So, while this is a decent book, I won't be continuing the series. I've heard it just gets slower and more dragged out, and if I ever plan on making a dent in my To Read list, I need to start figuring out what books to read and which to let go.

Now, that isn't to say this is a terrible book that everyone should avoid. It just means: be prepared for a very, VERY slow pace.

Casting Review:
Because I have no life and am trying to get over my white privilege bias, I wanted to visualize actors for these characters, with an emphasis on non-white actors. Give me a hand!

Holston: Jaime Foxx

Allison: Lucy Liu

Jahns: Phylicia Rashad (I totally didn't think I could find someone other than maybe Diane Keaton or Sigourney Weaver for this part, because of the age, but Phylicia fits how I think of Jahns!!)

Marnes: Avery Brooks
Thanks to Julia for this one!

Bernard: Paul Giamatti
Thanks to Julia for this one!

Juliette: Michelle Rodriguez
OK, I don't see Juliette looking exactly like THIS pic - but this pic is AWESOME!!

Lukas: Max Mingehella
Thanks Rachel (BAVR) and Becky!!

Peter Billings: Ideas: Anthony Mackie

Scottie: Justin Long

Knox: Tom Hanks (with beard - beard is a MUST)

McLain: Helen Mirren (she popped into my head from the first)

Solo: Michael Ealy
Thank you, Rachel (BAVR), for this excellent selection!!

Marck: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Not sure if he should be Marck, but he DEFINITELY needs to be cast in this movie!! Dude is awesome!!!

Shirly: Gina Torres

Walker: Kris Kristofferson
Thanks to Blade I canNOT think of anyone else as Walker but Kris.

Jenkins: Kal Penn
A bit of a strange one, but I'm thinking of his character from the TV series, "House". Smart, but also completely overwhelmed and underexperienced.

Normally, I don't do these sorts of things, but in this case, I thought, hey, why not! Also, post images of who YOU think should be each of the major(ish) characters!!h
Profile Image for Char.
1,680 reviews1,553 followers
April 10, 2023
Why did I wait so long?

I know why, actually. It's because I resist jumping onto bandwagons. I want to discover that hidden gem out there, not just read what everyone else is reading. And sometimes, I'm just dumb.

This book was an incredible amount of fun! There are thousands of reviews already out there, and I don't think I have any new information to impart to you. This was loads of fun, full of action, nasty politics and secrets that have been held for generations. Plop all this down into a science fiction type of setting with heroes to root for and villains to hate and I'm a happy gal!

Terrific narration is provided by Edourdo Ballerini, in this new audio edition from Blackstone and all I can say is BRAVO!

*Thanks to Blackstone Publishing, NetGalley and the author for the free audio download in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

**I have been unable to get any librarians to add this new audio edition here at Goodreads. Here is the ASIN for this edition in case you'd like to find it on Audible/Amazon: B0BKR8VBYV **
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
August 29, 2019
Wool, by Hugh Howey is reminiscent of Robert Silverberg’s Time of the Great Freeze or Philip K. Dick's The Penultimate Truth with a population living underground following a climate-changing catastrophe.

The Wool Omnibus is actually a collection of five novellas connecting the action, a serialization of an ongoing storyline. The setting reminds me of the Zion population in the Wachowski Matrix films, an isolated, encased and quarantined populace. I found the narration mainly good, sometimes very good, but inconsistent, disjointed and with some holes in the plot. I felt like the great work in the beginning slacked off towards the later chapters; I really liked the first story and the second and third novellas, but by the last book, I was ready to see this wrap up. In fairness to Howey, I did like the ending and felt he concluded his story well.

This book also made me consider my interest in the post-apocalyptic / dystopian genre. A study could be made about the course of fantasy /sci-fi from the 50s on and how the dominant themes have moved from generally optimistic to more pessimistic. Was the 1969 moon landing a high water mark in our culture and since then has our collective artistic vision been more depressed and less optimistic?

Ultimately I think this book, like most dystopian stories, is fundamentally optimistic, with a story about the resiliency and determinism of humanity. Howey creates a meaningful metaphor for how we will survive, perhaps a seed tucked away in a silo, awaiting a better time, but surviving and enduring beyond bad times.

Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,455 followers
August 21, 2014


WOOL began its life as a self-published short novella in July of 2011. That's hard to believe. I feel like I've been hearing about this thing for ages and ages.

So I'm late to the party, but not that late. Due to excited reader response over WOOL 1, author Hugh Howey quickly released the next four parts in the series. Then came along this Omnibus which collects Parts 1-5. There is now a 2013 edition with a great new cover that features a blurb by none other than Justin Cronin, author of The Passage.

In a few short years, Howey has given all struggling writers out there toiling away at their craft in obscurity real hope. Word of mouth among bloggers and enthusiastic readers on sites like Amazon and Goodreads has the potential to lift the curse of invisibility from self-published works so that they may find their way to audiences who will love them. Never before have the barriers between author and reader been so few, the access so direct. No longer are authors strictly dependent on big publishing houses to discover them and deem their work important enough to go to market accompanied by a sexy publicity campaign. Authors and readers are doing it for themselves, and I for one think it's a beautiful thing.

I love everything about this story -- I love the details of the world-building, I love the characters, I love the shifting points of view, I love the slow burn when you're not sure what is going on. When it became clear to me exactly what was going on I love that I wasn't disappointed. For a post-apocalyptic story trodding very familiar science fiction territory, it still feels fresh. The author definitely gives it his own spin.

I love that the stakes are so high. I love that the author is patient and in control of his narrative. That he doesn't reveal too much too soon. That he understands the relationship between tension and release. All of that to say, I love that the writing is so strong and capable (I've read too much self-published stuff where the prose is inexcusably sloppy). Howey's writing is the exact opposite of sloppy. It's polished. Its engine hums. The shoes are shiny and it's wearing a tie. It's ready to take home to mom.

Finally, I love Juliette. She's Ellen Ripley, Katniss Everdeen, and Dana Scully all rolled up into one. She's got brains and courage and heart and a will made of iron.

There's a lot of under-developed, underwhelming dystopian fiction kicking around out there these days. WOOL leaves those attempts in its dust. It's worth your time. Trust me.

Book trailer available here
Profile Image for Gary.
69 reviews17 followers
May 27, 2013
I'm not one to expound too much on low ratings, but I feel compelled to do so, here, given the high praise heaped on this book by other reviewers.

That said, this will be spoilerific, so if you want out, now would be the time to bail. Seriously. I'm going to spoil the hell out of this.

Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing against indie publishers (authors who choose to self-publish). This review has nothing to do with that.

First, the things I liked about the book.

The author is actually very good at pacing. The book reads easily -- one might almost say 'effortlessly' -- and you keep turning page after page to see how things come out.

I think that, from a technical viewpoint, the author is not bad. Nothing leaped out at me, as sometimes happens, to kick me out of the story because of some technicality of writing or style that reminded me, "Hey, you're reading a book." Some beautiful little turn of phrase or clever dialogue that made me focus on the words and not the story.

I thought the main characters were likable, and I found myself caring what happened to them at every point. This was, for me, the saving grace of the book.

Now, if that were all I judged the books on, I would easily have given this 4 stars and moved on. I was entertained. But a couple of things just have to be said.

First of all, I'm not a psychologist, nor do I have any clinical understanding of the field. But I couldn't help but notice that the people in this world don't behave like real people living in a real world. We are told early on that none of the people banished to clean the lenses has ever -- EVER, in hundreds of years -- failed to do his or her duty before dying.

Unless we're being lied to -- and that is a possibility, but if that's the case, then it was far too subtle for me to pick up on -- I find it highly improbable that not a single person would have failed to clean the lenses in hundreds of years. I would not have cleaned them, and I don't think I'm SO different from other people. I would have thought, "So long, suckers, I'm going to head over toward that miraculous city over there." Probably tinged with a little, "You jerks kicked me out. Why should I do you any favors?" Or maybe I would have frantically jumped up and down gesticulating wildly at the onlookers, trying to make them understand that they were being lied to.

I had a real problem getting past that. It seemed plausible right up to the point where you kind of started to figure out what was going on, and then with the least bit of thought about it, the premise just collapses.

I read this on my Kindle (so no skipping ahead). After the main character of the first section dies, I thought, "Oh, so that was kind of a prologue. No problem." Then I read the second part, where the mayor was the main character . . . and then SHE dies. "O . . . K," I thought, angry, but willing to move on. Then the third section opens with Juliette about to be sent out for cleaning, and we quickly find out that the deputy committed suicide, and I stopped reading for over a week, absolutely disgusted with the book. This was at 23% in the Kindle.

I mentioned as much to a friend who had read the whole thing, and she told me that Juliette remained the main character for the remainder of the book.

Had I not known this, I would have honestly stopped reading it right there. It's too much. Give me a character to hang onto from the beginning. Don't yank the rug out from under me like that not once, not twice, but THREE times, and expect me to continue reading.

The next time I almost stopped reading was when Bernard explained to Lukas how all the silos came to be. It was . . . just so contrived. I mean, straight out of insane conspiracy theories about the New World Order. In short, the US saw that it was in decline, and rather than just deal with that, the Ebil Gubmint decided that if they couldn't be in charge, no one ELSE could, either, so they literally made the surface of the entire planet uninhabitable and established the silos as a kind of Ark to preserve the species and their ideological way of life. Why? Because they're EBIL. And they're the GUBMINT.


Had this come earlier in the book . . . I would have stopped reading it and moved on to something else. As it was, this came after I was invested in the characters of Juliette, Solo, Walker, Shirly, and Lukas. So I kept reading to find out how it ended. That, incidentally, is why I didn't give it 1 star. I did get invested in the characters, and I did want to know what happened. And, as I said, the pacing was marvelous.

Speaking of getting invested . . . Juliette risks her life to leave silo 17 and return to silo 18. I fully expected Lukas to die, so I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be Bernard. But in spite of her promise to the inhabitants of silo 17, we are not shown that she mentions them AT ALL after her return to silo 18. At the end, in an epilogue, we are given a glimpse into what's going on in silo 17 as Solo is about to call Juliette . . . but we don't know if anyone in silo 18 was primed to receive the call. For all the 17ians knew, Juliette died in the Outside. She was, after all, out of commission for weeks while she healed from her burns.

I was expecting Juliette's acceptance of the Mayorship to hinge on connecting 17 and 18 in the Down Deep and get some engineers over there to get 17 running again. But . . . no.

To be fair, perhaps this is the story for the sequel series, but it would have been nice for him to have at least followed up on this.

One last thing that just bothered the crap out of me is resources. It was stated that the silo complex was located near Atlanta, Ga. There were mines and oil wells under the silo. But I find it very difficult to believe that there is enough ore and oil in Georgia to sustain 50 silos for hundreds upon hundreds of years of constant mining and pumping. I also found it very difficult to believe that in all that time, not even once did a wall collapse between the mines of adjacent silos.

Anyway, that's enough. My two stars are because I just can't accept the psychology, world building, physics, and math of the world I'm being asked to accept. And basing the entire premise on a loony conspiracy theory didn't help.

I wanted to like this book more. I'm not sorry I finished reading it, but if someone had told me from the beginning that it was based in New World Order conspiracy theories, I would have passed.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 256 books408k followers
November 8, 2013
The basic premise: mankind has devastated the surface of the world, leaving ruined cities, endless wasteland and a toxic atmosphere. The only survivors live in an underground silo, a closed society with a mayor, a sheriff, and a shadowy IT department that seems to control everything, including the population's understanding of reality outside the silo. Cameras offer a glimpse of the outside world on monitors throughout the silo, letting the inhabitants see the sunrise over the wasteland and allay some of their claustrophobia, but the cameras often get grimy because of the atmosphere. Hence the silo's ultimate punishment: cleaning. For many crimes, including the forbidden act of simply expressing a desire to go outside, the convicted is put in an airtight suit and sent on a one-way trip to clean the lenses of the cameras. For some reason, the convicted always does the job, no matter how much they protest in advance. Within minutes, however, the suit deteriorates and the convict collapses, becoming another permanent feature of the landscape.

There is much more going on than the IT department lets on, however. When a new sheriff of the silo begins to explore some dangerous secrets uncovered by her predecessor, she makes powerful enemies and stirs up forces that could lead to civil war.

The characters are well-drawn, and even the villains have a sympathetic side. Secrets unfold with just the right pacing, and I had to set my e-reader down several times and say, "Wow," when a major twist was revealed. The structure of the story, told in five interconnected parts, makes WOOL unlike a conventional novel, and gives it extra depth, much like the layers of the silo itself. I loved the feisty heroine Juliette especially, who endures so much tragedy and shows so much courage. And who can't relate to the notion of an IT department being run by nefarious villains who deliberately sabotage the exchange of information? If you're looking for a good post-apocalyptic read, you can't do much better than WOOL. It's targeted at adults, but is completely appropriate for YA readers as well.
Profile Image for Arah-Lynda.
337 reviews532 followers
December 28, 2015
Hugh Howey paints a world, or what is left of one post apocalypse, with an eye for detail that is easily visualized; one that you can descend into and inhabit.

This is epic storytelling, told with a taut hand on the tiller, controlling the pace and direction, allowing the reader to uncover truths together with the many, care worthy, relatable characters that populate this place. I blinked a couple of times and found myself entrenched in this world. And it all seems so effortless, the narrative flows, the voices are real, the soup thickens and the heroine Jules is absolutely kick ass, with a mechanics cool composure; confident in her analytical ability to fix anything, determined to maintain that which is not broken. Stroke it or strike it.
She rocks!

I’m telling you I climbed those stairs from down deep, round and round, to up top, with these people, legs cramping, heart pounding in my ears, breathless and shaken from the trip. And every time I thought I knew where I was going, Howey held his grip firm on that tiller and took me someplace else. I laboured over the details, peeking in at the players, letting the pressure build, scarfing down every morsel offered, thumbing the pages, ingesting the words. Yum.


Note: Read the omnibus containing all five parts.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
January 11, 2014
When the old sheriff of the Silo dies, Juliette, a Mechanic, is thrust into the role and quickly finds herself in over her head after asking the wrong questions. What will she discover when she's cast out of the Silo into the toxic world beyond and left for dead?

Yeah, that's not a great summary but there's a lot I don't want to spoil.

Since I've become more and more interested in the idea of Kindle publishing as of late, I decided to check out Wool, one of the juggernauts of self-publishing. While I heard the title (and thought it was stupid), I went in cold and was pleasantly surprised.

Wool takes place in a dystopian future where what's left of humanity lives in a Silo underground, levels upon levels of apartments, farms, mines, machinery, a self contained community. People who commit certain offenses are sent out to Clean, to clear the grit off the sensors providing the residents a view of the outside, before dying in the nuclear wasteland.

Juliette, the protagonist of parts 2-5, is a fantastic character. Her logical mind, honed from years of repairing ancient machines, quickly has her asking all sorts of questions about the history of the Silo and the possibility of life beyond. Her relationship with Lukas was believable and not at all sappy.

The book reminds me of old school science fiction, exploring ideas about control, conformity, and manipulation. When Juliette and company figure out what's been going on for two hundred years, the manure hits the windmill.

The writing was understated but still good. It's several notches above what you'd expect in a self-published book and probably a notch or two above some Big Six publishing house efforts lately. Is it deserving of the massive hype it gets? Probably not but it's still really good. I think the "little guy done good" aspect of Howey's success gives it a little more punch in some people's eyes.

A few minor things bugged me, most related to pace and how readily some of the people revolted. Also, I wouldn't have minded a little more of Silo 17 in the epilogue. Still, it has some strong scenes in it. Juliette running out of air was a pretty powerful scene and will stick with me for a long time.

Wool should appeal to old school science fiction fans and dystopia fans alike. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,967 followers
September 4, 2014
A bunch of people live in an underground community and those who break the rules are cruelly expelled to their doom? Reality TV producers have to be kicking themselves for not coming up with this idea themselves.

At an undetermined time in the future, the people of the Silo have lived for generations with only a few dusty camera views to show them the world above ground. After the sheriff steps down from his post in rather dramatic fashion, the mayor and a deputy determine that a mechanic named Juliette is the best candidate to replace him, but her appointment results in a series of events that threaten to expose long kept secrets and tear the Silo apart.

Hugh Howey is one of the biggest success stories in self-publishing, and I understand why after the early chapters do an exceptional job of introducing us to this world. The stairwell is a vertical highway connecting the complex, and journeying from top to bottom is no easy task. Having two characters make the trek in the early part of the book was a great way of giving us a tour of the Silo that established not only how it works logistically, but how it functions as a society. Juliette started out as a very strong character against this vivid background, and Howe sets her up perfectly as the hero to carry the story.

Unfortunately, he seemed to have some problems with what to do after that, and I was slightly let down at where the plot went from there. I can’t say much about that without giving the book away though.

Overall, Howey created a well written sci-fi tale with an intriguing setting that I was very interested in, but unfortunately, I found the plot and actions taken by the characters far less compelling. I don’t regret reading this, but I probably won’t be checking out the follow-up books to it.
Profile Image for Rebecca Roanhorse.
Author 55 books8,061 followers
March 20, 2023
I am very late to the party on this one, but I saw the Apple TV trailer for the upcoming adaptation and was intrigued. I read the entire collection of the Wool stories as a novel and thoroughly enjoyed it (them?) Fun premise, great tension, lots of characters die (so don't get attached), and it kept me up reading until 3am two nights in a row. I'm really looking forward to the TV show.
Profile Image for Veronica Belmont.
Author 5 books4,842 followers
April 25, 2013
Some books take a while to dig into. The first few chapters set up the story, introduce you to the main characters and build a framework for the tale to come.

Wool sets up the story too, but in a heartbreaking and gripping way that has you consuming the book as quickly as possible, if only to learn the answer to: "that's not really about to happen, is it?"

There are moments in Wool when I wondered if maybe the book was too dark. I mourned for characters and didn't know how they would possibly get themselves out of the messes they (or others) had gotten them into. I won't say it worked out for everyone, but there is enough hopefulness and light in the book to brighten the darkest depths of this silo.

Wool is not a long read (even shorter when you can't put it down and read it over two nights) but it is one that will stick with you.
Profile Image for Dennis.
658 reviews276 followers
September 4, 2021
2021 re-read:

I enjoyed this even more the second time around. Looking back at my review (clearly written under the influence of ... something) I have to say that the slow pace in the beginning didn't bother me this time. Also, while the world does indeed not open up that much, that's perhaps more a strength than a weakness. The silo does certainly come alive and the intrigue of slowly figuring out the surroundings is a strong one.

Upgrading my rating to 4.5 stars.

2017 attempt at being funny (I guess):

So, in 2017 I finally noticed there is this author named Hugh Howey.
I don’t know why it took me so long. Maybe it’s because at some point I rather surprisingly and inadvertently was time-traveling to the sixties. There I was kidnapped by aliens that looked like plumber’s friends, only they were green and had a hand for a head. How inconvenient.
They beamed me into their flying saucer and greeted me with “Welcome aboard, Mr. Pilgrim. Any questions?” Strange little guys really. Also, my name is not Pilgrim. I’m a bit confused.

Anyhow, after I returned to the present I read Howey’s 2015 novel Beacon 23 and totally loved it. I also read his short story ‘Select Character’ and thought it was very good as well. Since I was doing kind of a short story binge anyway I decided to buy his 2017 collection Machine Learning. And who would have thought, this is also pretty good. But then I noticed there’s a whole section devoted to the Silo series. So I had to read this as well. Well done Hugh Howey! So that’s how you trick involuntary time travelers into buying your novels?! Shame on you! Now, go stand in the corner and count to 5,624!

Turns out I already owned the Wool Omnibus for months. How did this happen? Very confused indeed.

I enjoyed this little dystopian read very much. Talking about the actual book I’m reviewing now. When I say “little”, I don’t mean the book itself, which is over 500 pages long. But rather the world, which doesn’t open up all that much. Maybe that’s because this is a trilogy. We will see.
Yes, of course I recently bought the second and third novel. All this time travel stuff and some clever author made me kind of weak, I guess.

I liked the mysterious feel, especially in the first half and how this Hugh Howey guy was able to build suspense. This feeling of dread and wonder. I also liked the characterization of the seemingly good and bad guys. I don’t think at all that these characters were all black and white. There was a lot of grey there in my opinion. Or at least this novel made me think. Which is always appreciated.
Still, the pace was a little bit off at first. What? You thought I'm only going to say positive things here, Mr. Howey? Well, think again. And don’t you dare stop counting!
In the second half the pace picks up a lot. And the story finally starts to progress. This took a bit too long for my liking. So only 4 stars in the end, for an otherwise very entertaining read.

Note to self: If you look back on this review in a few years time, it wasn’t drugs, but a Vonnegut.
Profile Image for Lori.
308 reviews99 followers
May 12, 2018
This reminded me of The City of Ember and a lot of other similar shows and books. I think IT and Engineering would be evenly matched adversaries for power in the silos. Even if they cycled with a history as often as the moties, control over the energy, food, and water should balance out any control that IT had.

That being said I really like Juliette.
Profile Image for Blaine.
782 reviews656 followers
March 6, 2023
I picked up Wool because I needed to read a self-published book for a reading challenge. I was pleasantly surprised. The writing is strong, and there are several well-developed characters. The first three parts are especially strong, with a good mix of plot and mystery. I thought the final part was much too slow—interesting things happened, but they are bogged down in an excessive amount of detail. A solid read.
Profile Image for Dem.
1,190 reviews1,131 followers
April 13, 2016
I enjoy Post apocalyptic Stories every now and again and as this book had been getting rave reviews I had to give it a go.

The idea is really interesting, "This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside"

The first chapter had me gripped and I really thought I had another The Road in my hands and really looked forward to something special.
While I did like the concept of the novel I found the book lost its initial impact after the first couple of chapters. I found the characters very weak and poorly developed and the I got bogged down in the overwhelming descriptions of everything and this made the book seem endless. There are a couple of twists and turns towards the end of the novel but they came too late for me.

Having read and loved The Road and The Passage I was hoping that Wool would be just as atmospheric and eerie but unfortunately it didn't appeal to me.

The book is over 550 pages long and I really felt that it could have been a lot shorter .

Having read this back in November, I had to re-read this one for a book club read this month. I listened to it this time and the narrator was quite good but the book dragged regardless.
Profile Image for Kaila.
836 reviews103 followers
February 18, 2016
This is going to end up being one of those books I force on all my friends, insisting that they read it immediately. I loved it and can't wait for more.

Please see my full reviews of the stories:

Wool 1
Wool 2: Proper Gauge
Wool 3: Casting Off
Wool 4: The Unraveling
Wool 5: The Stranded

Now go read this! You won't regret it!

Update May 13, 2012:

Hugh Howey has announced over on his blog that his self-published book Wool has been acquired by Fox! I couldn't be happier for him, and I am so excited for the future of this promising author. How crazy to have something explode so quickly like Wool has!

Update October 29, 2012:

Wool has been spotted at Powell's Books in Portland!

I was bleary-eyed and walking towards the coffee shop when lo! what should I spot on the new release shelf but the Wool Omnibus. I gasped and ran over to it and fondled it affectionately. The person shelving close by gave me a weird look and stepped away.

Nobody gets between me and my Wool.

Another update! October 30, 2012:

Guess what book is totally on the Goodreads choice for best sci-fi novel?


I know!

I cast my vote so fast I didn't even see what else was on there.

I'll be rooting for you, Hugh!
Profile Image for Paul Weiss.
1,251 reviews232 followers
June 18, 2022
"We are the seeds, ... This is a silo. They put us here for the bad times."

A toxic world after a disaster whose exact nature was left undefined has forced humanity to flee into dystopian underground silos. And, taking a page from the oft-used sci-fi trope of multi-generational starships, humanity has lost the knowledge of the nature of that disaster, the nature of their previous existence, and even the existence of other silos in which humanity was planted like seeds for a far distant future time and an unplanned and only distantly hoped for return to the surface. The existence of that possibility seems to have been lost to subsequent generations born underground who know life only in the limited environment of the silo.

“She had a sense of the size and scope of the world below them. And then she had seen with her own eyes the view of the outside with its phantomlike sheets of smoke they called clouds rolling by at miraculous heights. She had even seen a star, which [she] thought stood an inconceivable distance away. What god would make so much rock below and air above and just a measly silo between?”

Think of WOOL as a slow-paced, unquenchable slow-burn yet entirely compelling and gripping coming-of-age story of an entire civilization after a global disaster and toxic political managment by a close-knit, tightly held autocracy that controls an unknowing population through lies and manipulation. But even the government’s own comprehensive guide books and procedure manuals knew that the revolution was a foregone conclusion. WOOL is the story of that revolution.

“ ‘What do seeds do when they’re left too long?’ she asked him … ‘We rot,’ he said. ‘All of us. We go bad down here, and we rot so deep that we won’t grow anymore.’ He blinked and looked up at her. ‘We’ll never grow again.’ ”

A tenacious, resourceful, courageous and self-willed heroine, Juliette was having none of that.

So why not a 5-star rating? My personal take on the plot needs a deeper development of the back story of the autocracy within the silo. Did mankind place themselves into a silo “starship” to seed future generations and then restrict mankind’s movement back to “mother Earth” by creating an authoritarian autocracy or did that somehow develop on its own after mankind had retreated from a clear existential threat above ground? This reader needs to know. That said, I have no hesitation in recommending WOOL to lovers of the sci-fi and dystopia genre.

Paul Weiss
Profile Image for Stjepan Cobets.
Author 13 books504 followers
November 13, 2017
With great pleasure, I read this book. From the first page, I was simply drawn into the world of Silos. This dystopian world is also well presented and I felt as I read it is literally in the Silos with numerous underground levels in which people live for hundreds of years. The writer has evoked the world with such ease and enjoyed in this imaginary world through the book. In a hostile world that has destroyed large war, in the huge Silos live last remnants of civilization. At the top of the Silos, there are four lenses through which to see the destroyed outside world. Live in the Silo is under strict rules with which all the people are kept in ignorance and obedient. But that's not the only thing that keeps them in obedience, there is a myriad of lies with which they use a certain layer of society at the top of government. Anyone who opposes these rules for whatever reason is thrown out of the Silos. After cleaning Holston who was the last marshal, in his place come Juliette, a mechanic from the deepest part of the Silos. Although she does not know anything about the law, she begins to explore the reasons why Holston voluntary departure in death, and soon realizes that everything around it is based on lies. Silos are beginning to deal with carefully hidden own past. All Juliette had previously believed decomposes into dust and her life is found in immediate danger. Believe me; the story will draw you into such vortices in this cruel world, where human life is worth less than a speck of dust. I enjoyed the whole book and I recommend it to all fans of dystopian science fiction, but also to all lovers of fiction. The story is great.
Profile Image for Evelina | AvalinahsBooks.
879 reviews446 followers
April 13, 2017
So. How does one start a review for a book as big as this one..?

Wool feels like the best book I've had in my hands this year. I know it's only April. But I don't feel like I'll read another one like it soon. Books like this you only come across every so often.

All I can think it reminds me of is Way Station by Clifford D. Simak, although that one was more sci-fi, and this one's more dystopian. But the scope, the ideas, the implementation... That's what feels close.

In case you haven't read that one, well. Let me explain. It's THAT BIG.


Before I get into it more, there are going to be images. You can go to my blog to view this post in full.

I do not know how to review this book without giving things away, to be honest. Hugh Howey appears to be like that magician who pulls rabbits and other surprises out of his hat, and they just never stop coming. Plus, he's extremely good at creating suspense. I wouldn't even call his suspenseful surprises twists . It's more like you get to see the story bit by bit, layer by layer being uncovered, new to both you and the characters. The characters do the unthinkable many many times too, except it's the kind of unimaginable that you can actually ground logically. Another thing is that being the protagonist is handed down like a relay - a relay of danger. Being Hugh Howey’s protagonist is no enviable task.

The story begins in a silo - which isn't really a silo, it's more of a shaft, a bomb shelter, deep in the ground - sheltering the last remaining life on Earth, because the outside is a vast deadland. As comfortable as you can get in a place like that, it bothers you if you can't see the outside. Apparently. Because the people who live there don't really know why they need to see outside. Not like it's changed much over the hundreds of years. It's still deadly.

But in order to see the outside, someone needs to go out and clean the cameras. Which is... Also sort of... very deadly. Which is why it's the punishment for wanting to leave the silo.

The story begins as a simple “what's really outside" and ends up where you never would have expected it to. I can basically promise you you'll be surprised. The silo, to me, seemed like a parallel to our world - the top only cares about appearances, and the bottom part cares about actually making things work.

Let me describe at least some of the divisions of people living in the silo:

Despite the visual rendition, I really liked the mechanics. They are the good guys here.

The top to middle people, basically the middle class:

The IT, or the guys at the 2% of society:

I hated most of the entitled bastards from IT, but I have to admit - Howey knows how to write his villains. Even the biggest villain in the book, Bernard, is someone you can't quite hate. Because he's written so well. You can even empathise with him, because you know what he knows - and considering that, perhaps there was no other way. It's the creators of the silos that committed the true primal sin. All of their spawn have no choice but to survive, and they do all the best that they can - in the only way they've been told.

I loved this book, and I loved it entirely.
(Not just me, so did my mom. She's also finished the sequel already and keep pestering me to drop my current read and just finish this one so I can TALK TO HER. LOL)

There's not a thing I would change in it, not a thing I was skeptical about. It's a story I recommend to everyone - but most especially to all apocalyptic and sci-fi fans. It's definitely worth your time. It's worth more than that. It's worth your feelings.

Efka. Thanks for the rec, man. Priceless.
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