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Wool - Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey

Wool - Omnibus Edition (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Hugh Howey

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2,8842142,004 (4.12)160
Title:Wool - Omnibus Edition
Authors:Hugh Howey
Info:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2012), Paperback, 548 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Have Read

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Wool by Hugh Howey (2012)


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English (209)  French (2)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  German (1)  All languages (214)
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
It was good. Another apocalypse novel, although, you don't actually realize it at first. I had a few plot holes there. Why Lukas? Why did Bernard pick him, although there was barely any contact between the two of them before this. I found it to be quite improbable. This was a crazy megalomaniac, he wouldn't pick someone he barely knew. But all in all, it was an enjoyable story, but again, Peter turning against Bernard, "because he was good at heart" then how do you explain all the other stuff Peter let go on under his nose? If you don't freak over the implausibilities, then you should like this just fine. ( )
  Vinbert | Nov 22, 2015 |
It was good. Another apocalypse novel, although, you don't actually realize it at first. I had a few plot holes there. Why Lukas? Why did Bernard pick him, although there was barely any contact between the two of them before this. I found it to be quite improbable. This was a crazy megalomaniac, he wouldn't pick someone he barely knew. But all in all, it was an enjoyable story, but again, Peter turning against Bernard, "because he was good at heart" then how do you explain all the other stuff Peter let go on under his nose? If you don't freak over the implausibilities, then you should like this just fine. ( )
  Vinbert | Nov 22, 2015 |
I really struggled with the rating for this book. In the end it is only 3.5 stars rounded up. Yes, the concept is great and characters come alive almost from page 1. Yes you want to know what is going to happen and why what has already happened did so. So you keep turning the pages. But I thought that the writing style was no better than functional and the pacing tended to drag at times.
Do I want to know more about this post-apocalyptic world? Well, I've already purchased "Shift" and another of Howey's books and look forward to reading them. I wonder if my judgement is slightly impaired by having read so many rave reviews on the site and by comparisons with another well known trilogy which I enjoyed more. ( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
Maybe really 3.5*? (I really dislike GR's 1-5 star system.)

Compusively readable despite some clunky stretches in the prose, a couple of weird places where viewpoint characters used analogies they couldn't possibly know (given their sheltered situation), and overall being about 100-125 pp too long. In other words, a very good book that suffered a bit from needing a good editor -- which is no surprise given that it was originally self-published. ( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |

Cross-posted to Knite Writes


Part 1 — Holston

Wool begins with the character of Holston, the sheriff of a massive underground silo where humanity has retreated in the wake of an apocalypse. Three years ago, Holston’s wife Allison broke one of the worst laws in the silo — proclaiming she wanted to go outside. She was summarily sentenced to “cleaning,” or exile from the silo with the expectation that you will clean the sensors which give the people their only outside view of the silo. Because the atmosphere is toxic, people are sent outside wearing suits that only last for a limited period of time. Then the suits degrade, and the wearer is killed by the toxic atmosphere. No one so far has made it over the hill next to the silo.

It’s eventually revealed that Holston’s wife, who worked with computers, stumbled upon a program that produces realistic images; she came to believe that the view of the outside world was a lie, and that the world was actually safe. Holston, after three years of fear, paranoia, and depression, finally decides to follow his wife outside. He tells the mayor and his deputy he wants to leave the silo; they have no choice to but to suit him up and let him go.

So Holston goes outside — and discovers it’s a paradise!

Except it’s not. The lie isn’t that the outside world is actually beautiful and clean. It is a toxic wasteland. The lie is that the makers of the suits, IT, use a program to make the suit wearer see a world that is beautiful and clean. In the end, Holston’s suit breaks down like all the others, and he dies next to the body of his wife, never making it over the hill.

Part 2 — Proper Gauge

Mayor Jahns, reeling from the death of her good friend and sheriff, Holston, goes to locate his replacement along with Deputy Marnes, whom she has a longstanding friendship with (and romantic feelings for). They descend into the depths of the silo toward Mechanical, the lowest section, to find a smart and driven mechanic named Juliette that they want to replace Holston as sheriff. On the way down, they stop at the IT levels to meet with Bernard, head of IT. Traditionally, IT has held a lot of sway with the decision-making of the silo, but this time, Jahns defies Bernard when the man expresses disdain for Juliette.

Marnes and Jahns continue their way down to Mechanical, and through some compromise, convince Juliette to become the new sheriff. On the way back up, Marnes and Jahns stop by IT again to get Bernard to sign off on Juliette’s new position, but the angry IT head gets someone else to do it instead. He also gets someone to refill Marnes’ and Jahns’ canteens for the long walk back up.

At the end of day, Jahns is feeling unusually worn out, so she stops by the nursery level for a break and to use the bathroom. Then she collapses, bleeding out, and dies right in the middle of the nursery — she realizes moments before her death that she’d spent the day drinking out of Marnes’ canteen instead of her own. A canteen poisoned by Bernard.

Part 3-5 — Casting Off, The Unraveling, and The Stranded

The final three parts of Wool follow Juliette. She takes up the helm as new sheriff, but only days after starting her job, the entire world basically collapses around her. Marnes, depressed at the death of Jahns, commits suicide. Then Juliette discovers the reason why Allison and Holston left the silo — the program that generates realistic images. Thanks to her many connections, she gets help from an IT tech named Scottie, who explains the program to her. Scottie, terrified at the implications, tries to get out of IT after this revelation, but he ends up dead before he can even leave the level. Juliette, devastated, doesn’t even get a chance to investigate Scottie’s definitely-not-a-suicide before Bernard, who is acting as the interim mayor, has her arrested and stripped of her sheriff title on trumped-up charges.

Juliette is summarily sent back down to Mechanical, where she discovers Scottie left her one last message — the image program is for a small 8 by 2 inch screen, not the large wall screens used to for the images of the outside world. Scottie also tells her something else…a while back, Juliette got Scottie to steal some heat tape from IT’s shipment because her own requisition was being pushed back in favor of theirs. Less than a week after using the heat tape, however, it basically disintegrated. Juliette joked with Scottie that IT’s heat tape seemed made to break.

Turns out that wasn’t a joke. IT has been sending people outside in suits designed to fail. They kill people on purpose because they don’t want them making it over the hill.

Unfortunately for Juliette, Bernard comes after her again and gets her arrested and sentenced to cleaning for finding out about the image program. But not before Juliette tells her good friend Walker about the suits. Walker, using his connections with Supply, gets them to to swap out IT’s made-to-fail materials with the good stuff.

So when Juliette goes outside, her suit remains intact. She refuses to clean the sensors and heads toward the hill. All the while ignoring the false image on her 8 by 2 inch visor. Juliette then becomes the first person in the history of the silo to make it over the hill.

Only to discover that over the hill are a bunch of other silos.

From here on, Wool really starts to pick up the pace, jumping back and forth between a number of characters.

Walker tells Mechanical about IT’s machinations, and they stage an uprising to take down IT’s control. Lukas, an IT worker who’s fallen in love with Juliette, gets handpicked by Bernard to be his replacement as the one person in the silo who knows the truth — their silo, Silo Eighteen, is part of a plan to repopulate the world after the atmosphere recovers from an intentional apocalypse.

Juliette makes it over to dead Silo Seventeen, in which nearly everyone died after an uprising went horribly, horribly wrong. She finds a lone survivor, whom she calls Solo, who’s been alone for thirty-four years. Juliette helps him relieve the flooding at the bottom of his silo, but then they’re attacked…by a bunch of kids. Turns out Solo wasn’t as alone as he thought he was. However, before Juliette can finish helping Solo and the kids, Bernard finds out about Lukas’ deception and sentences him to cleaning. Juliette gears up in a new suit and rushes back across to Silo Eighteen to save him.

The uprising a dismal failure for Mechanical, everyone has basically lost hope, and Lukas finds himself being escorted to his death by Peter, Bernard’s handpicked new sheriff. Unfortunately for Bernard, Peter is a little too curious, and he overhears Bernard talking to Juliette on the radio. Realizing the implications of her still being alive, he betrays Bernard and helps Lukas.

Together, they send Bernard to cleaning instead.

But Juliette doesn’t realize the switch has been made until she’s in the decontamination chamber mid-fire blast trying to save the person inside. It’s okay, though — she survives (with many bad burns), and Bernard dies the death he deserves.

As Wool closes, Lukas and Juliette finally get together, Juliette becomes the mayor thanks to her miraculous return to the silo, and Juliette, Peter, and Lukas discuss the pros and cons of telling the entire silo the truth about the outside world and the other silos — making Silo Eighteen the silo that knows.

Cue Sequel.


My Take

As you can see from my longwinded plot summary, a lot happens in Wool. It starts off a bit slow with Holston and Janhs, but once you get to Juliette, things start moving exponentially faster. There’s a ton of action and fighting and treachery and shocking revelations. And it’s all very well put together. Howey grows bolder as Wool goes on, adding more and more character POVs to his epic apocalyptic saga. He even manages to throw in some romance without it seeming forced or extraneous.

All in all, I found Wool to be a pretty well-rounded series. Howey establishes a good balance between action and drama, between periods of war and periods of peace, between characterization and world-building. The fact that he accomplished all this through self-publishing makes it all the more extraordinary. I applaud Howey for his efforts and believe he’s set up a fantastic apocalyptic setting to further explore in Shift and Dust.

And best of all, his characters are vastly different and interesting — they represent different sections of the silo, different life experiences and histories all neatly organized and fitted together in this one tiny silo in the middle of a great big barren world.



There’s nothing especially extraordinary about Howey’s writing style. Past tense. Third person. I will say Howey does a great job slipping philosophical ideas into his narration without them seeming overbearing. They come off very much as natural character thoughts, which is something I appreciate. I’ve seen too many heavy-handed philosophical concepts forced in the middle of good drama before. Like with his plot, Howey achieves a balance in his writing style between dialogue, description, and thought.


Is It Worth Reading?

Yes. Very much so. The Kindle Omnibus for Wool is only $6, and the paperback goes for $9. For the quality of the writing, those prices are steals! And since it’s split into five different stories, you have natural stopping points if you have limited reading time. If you like post-apocalyptic stories or just good drama in general, I highly recommend Wool!



( )
  ClaraCoulson | Nov 16, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
The novel has been compared with the post-apocalyptic fiction of Cormac McCarthy and Justin Cronin, and is more character-driven than conventional sci-fi.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Howey, Hughprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aaltonen, EinariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This collected work is dedicated to anyone who dares dream of a better place.
To those who dare to hope.
First words
The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do.
He’d only ever seen a gun once, a smaller one on the hip of that old deputy, a gun he’d always figured was more for show. He stuffed a fistful of deadly rounds in his pocket, thinking how each one could end an individual life, and understanding why such things were forbidden. Killing a man should be harder than waving a length of pipe in their direction. It should take long enough for one’s conscience to get in the way.
He sounded flustered. Juliette watched him busy about the stove, his movements jerky and manic, and realized she was the one cloistered away and ignorant, not him. He had all these books, decades of reading history, the company of ancestors she could only imagine. What did she have as her experience? A life in a dark hole with thousands of fellow, ignorant savages? She tried to remember this as she watched him dig a finger in his ear and then inspect his fingernail
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Disambiguation notice
This edition (often just titled "Wool") contains five short stories:
1) Holston
2) Proper Gauge
3) Casting Off
4) The Unraveling
5) The Stranded

Please do not combine it with the standalone short story titled "Wool".
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Book description
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.
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In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. In a society full of regulations meant to protect the community, Sheriff Holston, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: he asks to go outside. 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....… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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