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BOOK REVIEW: Wool by Hugh Howey


Hi everyone! So I finally finished all 540+ pages of the indie bestseller Wool by Hugh Howey. It's been ranked alongside 1984 and Brave New World as a new dystopian classic—but is it? Let's find out!

WOOL by Hugh Howey

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
People live in an underground silo and every so often, anyone who goes mad or commits a crime gets sent outside the silo to face their death—but by who? By what? What's outside of the silo? The less you know, the better, because whatever you do—STEER CLEAR of any spoilery plot summaries.

IS WOOL A FANTASTIC BOOK?
There's no doubt about it—Hugh Howey is a great writer. His lyrical prose paints vivid images while the storytelling is a real page-turner. The book is broken up into 5 parts, and each part ends with a thought-provoking and sometimes mind-blowing revelation that makes you go: "Wow. This is really good!" But it's also fucking boring. I'll get to that point below.

IS IT REALLY THAT GOOD?

Some terrific praise for Wool.
Yes and no. I prefer a book that starts slow and ends with a bang, whereas Wool is the complete opposite. Part 1 of Wool has a shockingly brilliant ending that's one of the best endings in any form of entertainment in recent memory. 

And then the quality goes up and down throughout the rest of the book when more characters are introduced. The characters are all believable, but none really stand out—and they're kind of boring—which leads me onto one of the biggest faults of Wool: it's endless descriptions.

Hugh Howey should be locked up in literary prison for boring the fucking shit out of readers with description after description of some of the most excruciatingly unexciting scenes in the history of storytelling

There were about 4 or 5 occasions where I skimmed/skipped 5-10 pages out of a 12 page chapter because it was one long, endless, snooze-inducing description of a character fixing a water pump—or walking down an endless set of stairs—or fixing a radio or some other insomnia-curing activity! Watching a group of elderly grannies knitting or snails racing would be more exciting than some of the passages in Wool.


Long descriptions are fine as long it's describing something a reader wouldn't be able to imagine, e.g. something fantastical or science-fiction-ey—but NO—Hugh Howey just loves splurging his creative juices describing stuff that I can't imagine anyone would get a hard-on overexcept maybe an electrician or civil engineer.

WHAT ELSE SUCKS?
The story sets up exciting possibilities, but never touches them again because once you've finished the book you realize, "Ah-hah! There's a prequel and a sequel as well. Fucking great! I wonder if it's in any of those 2 books!" It's like promising someone a new Ferrari that will take them to a secret mansion where the world's biggest orgy with the world's hottest supermodels is taking place—but instead—a Toyota Rukus (such an ugly car) shows up and takes you on a boring-ass wine tasting tour with Rosie O'Donnell and Clint Howard.

Whoever designed this tissue box with wheels should have their hands cut off and their eyeballs gouged out.
It's infuriating because for a 500+ page book, you'd expect it to cram more in. But since Wool is self-published, Hugh Howey can do whatever the fuck he wants, but if I was his editor, I would easily edit this down to a tight, tense and nail-biting 350 page book.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO BITCH ABOUT?
The ending's a cop-out. 

Don't worry, I'm not spoiling anything by talking about the way the ending is written. But just imagine watching a movie for 80 minutes and just before it gets to the main showdown with the big baddie, the projector dies. Then the projectionist fixes it but you only get to watch the last 3 minutes of the movie. Or imagine watching The Empire Strikes Back without its "I am your Father" encounter or The Lord of the Rings without Frodo entering the volcano to destroy the ring. It's infuriating.

BUT IS IT A DYSTOPIAN CLASSIC?
Any great dystopian tale should make the reader or viewer go: "Ahh fuck, what a dreary, depressing shithole world this is! I definitely don't want to live there!" Hugh Howey has crafted an absolutely shitty world to live in, but can it be any worse than getting your head stuck inside a cow's anus? Can it?

Also, check out the foreign cover art for Wool:
http://www.hughhowey.com/worldly-wool/

Pretty amazing isn't it?

If you've read the book, feel free to leave a comment on what you thought of the book. Or if you drive a Toyota Rukus, then I'd like to apologize. Actually, no, I take that back. How about you take your car to the junkyard and buy something else? I'll throw in a free copy of my upcoming novel if you do so.

I'll have a review of Ender's Game and The Forever War on my blog soon, so look out for it.

BOOKS I'M CURRENTLY READING 
Matter of Resistance by Raymond Vogel
Leather to the Corinthians by Tom Lucas
Surrender to You by C.S. Janey

 
BOOKS I'M PLANNING TO READ
Prodigy of Rainbow Tower by Charles E. Yallowitz 
Night Bells by L.M. Sherwin
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Highmage's Plight by D.H. Aire

Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Thanks for reading!

 
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Until next time, something wonderful awaits!


BOOK REVIEW: Wool by Hugh Howey Reviewed by Tuan Ho on 15:44 Rating: 5
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