So, I waited a little while to write this review because I wanted to see if, over time, the awesomeness and adoration I feel towards this trilogy wore off a little bit. I didn't want to rave about how truly amazing it was, only to wake up a few weeks later and be embarrassed because really, it wasn't that good, was it? Well, rest assured. It's been a few weeks, and it really was THAT GOOD.
I first heard of Wool, on the Tube, I saw a poster for it and the catch phrase- if the lies don't kill you, the truth will- was very...catchy. I snapped a pic of it, adding it to a thousand other pics of book ads and movie ads and show ads and clothes ads, and didn't think about it again until EW did a two sentence write up of Dust, the third instalment, in their Top Ten page at the beginning of an issue in September.
EW usually nails it in the book department for me, so I immediately googled it. Amazon told me the basic plot, which was INSTANTLY a winner for me: In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.
His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared to whisper. Uprising.
And that's when I found this blurb from Justin Cronin. "'Howey's Wool is an epic feat of imagination. You will live in this world."
Now, for those of you who live under a rock, Justin Cronin penned The Passage, my Absolute Favorite Non SK, Non HP Book Ever Written. My initial review of this stellar piece of literature (yes, literature) can be found here and the sequel is here.
So. Catchy catchprase, check. Interesting plot, check. Approval from EW, check. Public praise by one of the top three writers I've ever read? Check. Sign me up.
My copy was a little more than five hundred pages. It took me a little less than three days to read.
I want to say I've never read anything like it, but that's bullshit, I've read a lot like it. It's the kind of book I like. And when I instantly began trying to get everyone to read it...I was lost as to what to say. "Weeelllll, it's science fiction, sure, but it's not really science fiction." "Weeelllll, yeah, it's a post apocalyptic dystopian society, but that's not really what it's about."
It was hard!! So all I came up with is this. It's an extremely well written story about extremely likeable characters.
And that's like the WORST way to get people to read it!!! Ugh.
I keep wanting to say spoiler alert, but I really can't even spoil anything. To have ANY idea what this story is about, you basically just have to read it. It's all these people (like, four thousand) who live in a silo (like for grain, only it's a hundred and fifty stories tall- to give you some perspective, because that didn't really mean ANYTHING to me, the world's tallest building is in the UAE and it's one hundred and sixty stories, and the second in line is in Taiwan and it's only one hundred and one. The World Trade Center towers were each one hundred and ten. So one hundred and fifty stories UNDERGROUND is a much bigger deal than I realized until I read Shift and asked Nick how big this really was.) They have this video camera that shows them the ruined landscape above them, and it gets really dusty from all the...dust...and people go crazy and have cabin fever, and every few years it bubbles up. So either someone will kill someone and get sentenced to go outside and 'clean' the video camera, then die from the elements, or someone will just go batshit crazy and WANT to go outside, which is how this story starts.
And no matter how often these murderers and crazy people say that they won't clean those damned video cameras...everyone ALWAYS DOES IT. Spooky, right?!?!
One last Fun Fact about this book. This is actually my favorite part. I don't know much about the publishing world, obviously, except that it's hard and somewhat stupid. Dribble like James Patterson and Danielle Steele (sorry mom!!) gets picked up for publication ALL THE TIME and yet how many publishers passed up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone before she got it picked up? So this guy Hugh Howey wrote this short story and published it himself on amazon. I don't know what that means, but it sounds pretty badass, especially when you read it and see how well written it is. I mean, I'm assuming he didn't have a professional editor, right?
Anyway, then he kept at it, publishing all the five different 'stories' that make up Wool. That's why it's slightly confusing if you're buying the kindle version, you've got to make sure you get the Wool Omnibus edition, not just the first story in the series. If it's free or a dollar, it's not right, you want the one that's like five bucks. I put in the link in case you want to just take my word for it, that's not an affiliate link or anything weird.
The second book, Shift, is the same way, you don't want to get The First Shift, Legacy, Book 6 of the Silo Series, you want Shift Omnibus. Or I guess you could just get all the little ones, but that seems dumb. I wish they'd take the little ones off.
So Shift. Shift got ripped apart on Good Reads, and I can sorta see why, but I do NOT agree. So many Good Reads people say it's a waste of time, that you don't even need to read it to get the entire story.
THESE PEOPLE ARE MORONS. You NEED to read Shift!! I mean, come on people!!
Shift starts a few hundred years before Wool. So basically, our present. And guess what? Nano technology. Then it leaps forward a few hundred years, but still a few hundred behind Wool. The characters are NOT very likeable, I found the leaps just a tiny bit confusing, but the entire book was FASCINATING to me, and I tore through that one even faster. It explains how and why Juliette and co ended up in the silo, and how it's worked so well for so long. If you consider it 'working well.' It's all perspective I suppose?
Anyway. Loved this one too. And lemme break into my own ramblings right now to say, you really can't look at these like three different books. More-so than any other trilogy (or even more than trilogy, I'd say even more-so than HP) I've ever read, these three different books are just a way to break up one story into more manageable bites. You really can NOT read one without the other two, in my own humble opinion.
And then came Dust.
Ohhhhhhh, Dust. Never before (no, not even with HP, don't tell Jo) have I been so completely and totally SATISFIED with the ending of a saga. Never. I have high hopes for The Passage (should be out next May!!!) but honestly, after this, I can't imagine anyone else ever nailing it so exquisitely perfect again.
All the lose ends are wrapped up, but in perfect, REALISTIC ways. I'm looking at you Allegiant. It all unfolds so organically and just NATURALLY. I cried. Nay, I WEPT as I read through the final chapters of this book. It was just SO FUCKING GOOD.
So, there you go. A huge ass review that doesn't actually say a single thing about the book. Sorry, I just can't even. Words. Too much.
It was just so good. And of course they'll make a movie and it just won't be any good and it'll suck so much balls and then I'll be devastated. So before that happens, go out there and read these books!!! If you can't afford them, get them from the library. Borrow some money. Email me and I'll send you copies. GO READ THESE BOOKS. Now!!!