Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror)'s Reviews > Wool

Wool by Hugh Howey
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Oct 01, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: ebook, science-fiction, dystopia, short-stories, post-apocalyptic, male-protagonist, self-published-or-indie, 2012, adult
Read from October 05 to 06, 2012

Basically what my two stars boils down to is this: I had too many questions by the end and I didn't feel attached to any of the characters. I didn't think the "big reveal" was all that exciting or as terrifying as I'm sure it was meant to be either. And the more I found out about the world, such as the technology or what happened in the past, the more questions I had that were never answered. I realize this is a short story and it continues on, but if you're going to sell me a book it needs to feel whole.

Normally when a story features a husband and wife and something happens to one of them I'm a ball of emotions, but this couple's relationship felt flat and mechanical. At one point the guy talks about sobbing through the bars of the jail and I felt absolutely nothing. There's this level of despair that I'm supposed to be feeling for these two people, their relationship, and their potential offspring, but I honestly couldn't care less if the whole silo went up in flames and everybody died. That's probably not a good sign.

Thankfully, Howey writes well so I didn't feel like I was slogging through this and I never felt bored, but I'm not the biggest fan of post-apocalyptic dystopia (or short stories, for that matter) so I think fans of the genre would enjoy it more than I did. This is free on Amazon right now and the omnibus version that contains the first five books is only $1.99 (at the time of this review it was, now on 4/6/13 I see it's been bumped up to $5.99. Hrm.) With the first story being so short and also free it's an easy choice to find out for yourself if it's something you'd like to check out or not. I didn't love this story but Howey dangled just enough in front of me that I might want to find out what happens next, but honestly I don't think I'll ever care enough to continue. I just don't think I'm the intended audience.

Also, here's hoping my choice to read and review a self-published book doesn't come back to haunt me. Oh lord, what have I done ...
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Reading Progress

10/05/2012
0.0% "This is really not something I would normally read, but the reviews are great, it's short, and it fits into a challenge I want to do this month. We'll see if this was a wise decision or not ...

Wait.

Is this self-published?

Oh god, what have I done ...

" 6 comments
10/05/2012
0.0% "I should also mention that this is free on Amazon, if anyone wants to join along with me. It's also less than 100 pages." 3 comments
10/06/2012
100.0% "Well-written, short, and to the point ... but I didn't like it." 16 comments

Comments (showing 1-31 of 31) (31 new)

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message 1: by Kai (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kai I was pretty disappointed also. It started out great, the writing was good, but the characters didn't endear themselves to me and the reveal was really not one. But either way it went, I still would have been impervious at that point.


Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror) I know, right? This is one of those weird ones that everybody loves and I somehow didn't get. And I really felt like I was being told how to feel instead of the story evoking emotion.


message 3: by Julia (new) - added it

Julia Here's what pissed me off: (view spoiler)


Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror) Ha, I didn't even think of that. Good catch.


Nataliya It's to bad you did not like this one, but at least it was well-written.

I think I adored it because I'm an example of a perfect target audience for such a story, with its tone was reminiscent of golden age sci-fi with an added touch of Bradbury-like wistfulness.


Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror) It was Bradbury-esque, I'll give him that. I just wanted more of everything. Have you read any of the rest of the series?


Nataliya The Holy Terror wrote: "It was Bradbury-esque, I'll give him that. I just wanted more of everything. Have you read any of the rest of the series?"

I did. It becomes more conventional, more action, less Bradbury-like. He develops the world quite a bit more, too. I guess originally it was supposed to be a standalone short story, but the unexpected success made the author expand it to a novel-sized series. It has a pretty awesome heroine introduced in the third story as well. It's not ideal but I genuinely loved it.

The first story remains my favorite of the bunch, though.


Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror) Nataliya wrote: "The first story remains my favorite of the bunch, though."

Hmm. That doesn't bode well then.


message 9: by Nataliya (last edited Oct 07, 2012 04:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nataliya The Holy Terror wrote: "Nataliya wrote: "The first story remains my favorite of the bunch, though."

Hmm. That doesn't bode well then."


Well, that's really just because I loved the style it was written in. Most other reader, I believe, preferred the sequels, especially number 3-5.

I actually liked that this world was not fully developed in the first story - sometimes I like when more is left to the imagination. But that's just me.


message 10: by Kai (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kai I did like the way the world was built up only in his view with his personality ingrained in it, the bleakness, the stark dystopian setting, but since I didn't get a good sense of what his wife was doing, her reaction didn't grab me. We only see him with her twice so I didn't get a sense of their relationship, I just get told about it. I guess it just only barely gave me a background build up of why he made his choice so I didn't feel very connected to it. I wanted to love it, because it had a lot about it to love. Maybe it just failed as a short story, but the ending left me with... nothing.


Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror) Nataliya wrote: "I actually liked that this world was not fully developed in the first story - sometimes I like when more is left to the imagination. But that's just me."

Oh, I don't mind when things are left to the imagination or when questions aren't immediately answered, and when I said I wanted "more" I mostly meant characterization and development of the various characters' relationships.

I just didn't feel anything for anyone and the characters are pretty much the most important thing for me. The writing and world-building can be absolutely fantastic but if I don't care whether the characters live or die then I will probably not like the book. This happened with The Knife of Never Letting Go for me, although surprisingly Ness's other book, A Monster Calls, is one of the best books I've ever read in my entire life. That's why I'll probably read the rest of Wool at some point. It's quite possible the series will grow on me!


Nataliya although surprisingly Ness's other book, A Monster Calls, is one of the best books I've ever read in my entire life.

That's awesome because I just got 'A Monster Calls' from the library. I'm looking forward to it!


Susan I thought it was excellent, however I am a HUGE fan of dystopian reads, so I'm sure I was his target audience. I bought all 5 and read them one after the other, so it felt like one book to me, and I had no complaints!


message 14: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky I actually read the omnibus, and totally loved it. The first book is the shortest and weakest of the series, IMO.


message 15: by Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror) (last edited Apr 07, 2013 08:00PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror) Becky wrote: "I actually read the omnibus, and totally loved it. The first book is the shortest and weakest of the series, IMO."

Yeah, I've heard that. He wrote a recent blog that is interesting (and he was also mentioned in the Amazon press release about the GR/Amazon thing) so I reread my review and went back and found some typos and edited some info.

I don't think I'll read him again.


Nataliya The Holy Terror wrote: "He wrote a recent blog that is interesting..."

THT, thanks for the link to that blog. I was quite disappointed - I really liked Howey's Wool series, but I'm disappointed about the looks-based putdown of a woman as well as a gendered insult. It left a sour taste in my mouth which is unfortunate since I enjoyed his writing.


rameau I didn't mind the emotional coldness, because for me it was part of the world building and his characterisation, it was what the Silo and losing his wife had made him into.

I liked this first short story but not the rest (the next two). It's so clear that the subsequent parts are an afterthought to capitalise on the success of the first. And now, after that blog post, I'm happy never to read another word the man writes ever again.


message 18: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky Wow, I'm really disappointed in that entire blog post. I'm usually happy to support really good indie authors, but I definitely won't be recommending his stuff anymore.


message 19: by Faye, la Patata (new)

Faye, la Patata Interesting take! As for me, it was this part of the Omnibus that I loved the best, as it left me pondering for days on the fate of the couple as well as the bleary world they left behind. Then again, I'm a fan of the genre, so it probably communicated to me more. The rest of the series was pretty well done, but I think it gradually felt dragging...


message 20: by Brian (new)

Brian well, this is why the omnibus edition came out :D


Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror) Brian wrote: "well, this is why the omnibus edition came out :D"

Hmm? What do you mean?


message 22: by Brian (last edited Apr 27, 2013 01:25PM) (new)

Brian The Holy Terror wrote: "Brian wrote: "well, this is why the omnibus edition came out :D"

Hmm? What do you mean?"

There's a new book with Wool #1-5 that was published last year.
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13...
It's cheaper and better than buying all the books.
Edit 1: Oh! I get what you mean! You said, "I realize this is a short story and it continues on, but if you're going to sell me a book it needs to feel whole." My reply meant that the new book (omnibus) actually made the story feel 'whole', instead of randomly stopping without an ending.


Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror) Ah, gotcha. Yeah, this series was released in a serial format and the omnibus came out over a year later, I believe. So if someone picked this up when it was released they didn't even have the option to continue on with the next part until months later.


William Hall It's a short story. It's not meant to be scary, it's meant to be briefly entertaining. It was well written, with an interesting twist. Character development is an unreasonable expectation of a short story. I empathize with the character, and the situation.


message 25: by Julia (new) - added it

Julia William, as someone who is an avid reader of short stories, I completely disagree with you. For one, this short story had a huge flaw in that (view spoiler) But, technicalities aside, I agree with THT in that there should be some character development. It certainly is not unreasonable to expect a little bit of it.

Also, note in her review that she does say she might not be the intended audience. I don't think I was the intended audience for this one, either. I just wanted to comment and tell you that it's not an unreasonable expectation to want character growth in a short story. On Tor.com, they have some magnificent short stories submitted that contain heaps of character growth.


message 26: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael McGlinchey I've never read this ,but I was under the impression that this is part of a series?

So naturally you will feel a little unfulfilled.

Maybe there's a second book?


message 27: by Schattenspringer (new)

Schattenspringer What's all this panic about self published books? Did i miss something?


Kasey Thacker I noped right out of there too after the ending of the first part.


Rachel Jongsma I agree one hundred percent! Lukas and Juliet's relationship was so flat. I kinda felt like the story was boring but the writing was the only thing keeping it alive. The whole story was just people getting kicked out of the silo. The fighting at the end in silo 18 was bland. Hate to say it but The Hunger Games (which this series is often compared to) was much better.


Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror) Schattenspringer wrote: "What's all this panic about self published books? Did i miss something?"

Yo this is like a year and a half late but self-published authors tend to have thin skin and attack their detractors.


Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror) Rachel wrote: "I agree one hundred percent!"

*high five*


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