Jane Stewart's Reviews > Casting Off

Casting Off by Hugh Howey
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's review
Jan 24, 2013

it was ok
bookshelves: dystopian-sci-fi

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

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.

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

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.

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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