A few years ago, I read Wool Omnibus and immediately proclaimed it to be the best book I had read all year. The best. I still stand by that when I look at the list now. And thank you, Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings, for first posting about it!
And now I finally, FINALLY picked up books 2 and 3 and am kicking myself that I didn't read these in quick succession. Allow me to give you a brief review by saying you're missing out on all things incredible if you don't dive into this unique world.
I'm going to cheat a little bit and use a few lines of my review of the first installment to start:
I couldn't believe how sucked in I was. Each character was so thoroughly developed and the action so intense that I happily read the entire book on my iPhone. That means about 1200+ pages (screens?) that I flew through, desperate to know what happened next. It is one of the BEST books I have ever read in my LIFETIME, and is my absolute favorite book of the year. This, when released in print next year by Simon and Schuster, will be picked up on the day of release and will rest nicely on my bookshelf next to Stephen King's The Stand, Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth, and other favorites that I always want to have at my fingertips. As many of you know, science fiction is not one I'm that used to, so I can easily assure you that if your reading preferences include political corruption, mystery, thrillers, suspense, love, and more, I highly recommend that you step outside of your boundaries and do a dual risk of reading a self-published tale and one that just happens to be labeled as science fiction. The bottom line? I LOVED THIS BOOK.
Where Wool describes a suspenseful period in the world of silos set underground, Shift goes back to the start and outlines how the silos were first envisioned, drafted, built, and ultimately inhabited. Donald, a young congressman with a friendship with a high-ranking senator results in Donald being called on to use his architectural skills and draft a "what if" scenario - if humans had to live underground, how would they do it? What would they live in? Donald, trusting and sensitive, could never have imagined that his ideas would be built, and once they are, that they would ever be used. The reason why is never fully explained to him. Why should it? This senator, so much like a father-figure, is his guide.
Shift encompasses three "shifts," work conducted by the same group over a period of many years, made possible by a simple pill created to erase the past and make mindless the workers to monitor and manage a world very different than what they ever previously lived in. While Shift was sometimes more tedious than Wool, it was a crucial puzzle piece in the overall series and can't be skipped. I would urge you, however, to not take years in-between books the way I did. It's worth it to go back to back.
And then Dust. Ahh. This beautiful installment captures the magic that was Wool and more so. It returns back to characters from Wool and places them in situations to engage with the characters from Shift, and it is awesome. Dust is what I remember Wool to be, and I keep shaking my head when I remind myself that these are self-published books (although Simon & Schuster did convince the author to release Wool in print, which brought a larger fandom). There is no big-five publisher responsible for editing any of it. This is the author, enveloping himself in such a unique world and delivering a knock-out punch to those who feel a self-published book is just not as good as one you'd pick up at the store. This entire series begs to differ with that argument, and wins. He isn't limited by the publishing world to release his books at a certain pace, and after a series of teams edit away the core of it. He writes how he wants to write and releases it whenever he wants to. He has complete control over it and for fans like me? It works because I can keep diving into these worlds whenever I want.
Hugh Howey's work is incredible. It makes no difference if you're a sci-fi or fantasy fan. His robust repertoire are stories that deal with regular people in unique worlds and situations. It's just right for someone who isn't used to these genres. Take a chance. Get his work. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Publisher of Shift: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: 1/28/13
Publisher of Dust: CreateSpace
Release Date: 8/17/13
FTC Disclosure: I purchased and downloaded this story directly to my iPhone.
About the Author
Hugh Howey is the bestselling author of the self-published phenomenon that is the Wool series. He is also the author of the Molly Fyde series and a host of others that can be found by clicking here. He is currently on the trip of his life by sailing the boat of his dreams, which he plans to be on for at least the next decade. And he's writing. Thank goodness.
Hugh Howey is extremely active with his fans and on social media (and with sailing the world, I'd really like it if he got on Periscope, too!), so here are the links where you can visit the author: