“Holston could feel the vibrations in the railing, which was worn down to the gleaming metal. That always amazed him: how centuries of bare palms and shuffling feet could wear down solid steel. One molecule at a time, he supposed. Each life might wear away a single layer, even as the silo wore away that life.” (Wool by Hugh Howey)

wool coverWool is a dark, thought-provoking dystopia, perfect for those who loved The Giver as a kid but who’ve found new-fangled YA hits like Matched or Uglies too perky and swiftHowey creates the perfect grimy, grungy atmosphere by centering his work on the worn, winding 140-floor staircase that connects the Silo’s stratified society. There is something deeply compelling and metaphoric about how his characters trudge up and down these stairs, trying to pull together their world.

Fifty Shades of Grey (the first few pages, anyway) did just about nothing to convince me that self-published titles were worth reading, but Wool has completely reversed my opinion on the subject. Howey’s abilities to write, tell a story, and create an atmosphere are exceptional and well worth reading. Yet, whether a factor of publishing or not, the book isn’t altogether perfect. Howey tosses in an under-developed romance as an excuse for the protagonist’s intense will to live, and isn’t quite able to translate the female lead’s forceful actions into equally strong thoughts. But who could say whether publishers would have caught these glitches? Wool as it is beats out many traditionally published books and stands as a testament that self-published books can be well worth your time.

Recommended Action: Buy – Borrow – TBR – Avoid

Length: 550 pgs

Ending: Satisfying and tidy

Further Reading: Did you know that Lois Lowry’s The Giver is now part of a quartet? Son is the recently published conclusion.

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