BOOK REVIEW: Wool by Hugh Howey

Posted on May 8, 2014


wool Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) (Silo Saga) WoolHugh Howey2013

Arrow Books


I had previously come across a review of Wool complaining the story was disjointed. I did not find that to be the case at all. I thought the story generally flowed and read well.

Wool is the story of a dystopian future, set in a massive underground silo. Part of the challenge for an author with a story set in that sort of self-contained world is to make it come across as real rather than manufactured. In many respects Howey has achieved that although with some shortcomings.

Like any tale of dystopia, there is an apparently evil power running things although just how bad or amoral it is only becomes apparent as the story unfolds. I even found myself empathising with aspects of that dystopian power’s actions which I believe is a sign of good story development.

I had no problems visualising many aspects of the silo apart from width. Sure, it ran very deep underground but just how wide would it need to be in order to make farming aspects worthwhile. Or how high ceilings on individual levels need to be.

The sort of shortcomings I referred to earlier include some points where Howey pretty much glossed over things for convenience. For example, how realistic is it to expect the silo to continue mining only downwards beneath the silo and finding sufficient reserves of oil and minerals to meet the silo’s needs, although there is a reason for the lack of lateral movements in the mines.

Similarly when a rebel movement decide to arm themselves, the Manufacturing levels were able to overnight build simple single shot rifles overnight, including brass cartridges stuffed with explosives from the mines that did not rupture the cartridges, with the cartridges seemingly without the detonator for a firing pin to strike and fire the bullet. It was all so convenient and glossed over. It was as if Howey simply thought to himself ‘my rebels need firearms so here they are.’

Those shortcomings did niggle me but nonetheless there was still enough in the story to keep me reading, intrigued to see where things were going.

Definitely worth reading for fans of dystopian fiction.

Ross sigstar3




OK, now Ross has had his say, over to you – what do you think?

Posted in: Review