Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book Review: Wool Ombibus (Hugh Howey)

Wool (link) is one of the best works of fiction of recent times. I would recommend it to anyone, especially anyone who calls themselves a fan of science fiction.
Concept: 5/5. The idea of humans living underground to survive an end of the world scenario is not new (I immediately thought of the Fallout video games), but the idea behind the cleaning concept here is definitely one I have not seen before. I love how it delves into the psychology of the cleanings, why they do it, and how people deal emotionally with the cleaning. The scenario of the cleaning drives the plot and it is well justified and explained. I had no problem accepting what happened.
Plot: 4.5/5. After the initial concept, which is wrapped up in wool 1, wool 2-5 link together a very strong plot. I found wool 2 a little weak on the plot side as not much happened and there was little character continuity carrying on from wool 2 to wool 3-5 (except Juliette who they meet at the end of wool 2). That said the characters in wool 2 were great. I would treat wool 1 as an extended prologue to wool 2-5, and perhaps wool 2 could have been better connected to the main plot in wool 3-5. There were lots of twists throughout the series, and with the exception of wool 2 I did not see them coming, which made them very satisfying. Overall, I found the plot the strongest once the main character Juliette became the main focus, i.e. wool 3-5.
Character Decisions: 5/5. Often unbelievable character decisions let books down for me, not with Wool. As with the concept justifying the plot, I never felt like the actions of the characters were "out of character". The actions of the characters were always believable. What the characters did was well explained and justified.
Pacing: 4.5/5. I found the pacing on wool 2 a little slow, and wool 1 was set up as a short, so it is hard to gather much momentum in it (Wool 1 was all about the twist really). Wool 3-5 was fantastic however, and I flicked through the pages very quickly!
Voice: 5/5. I would give this more than five stars if I could. All on the primary characters in this book had very strong, distinct voices and thoughts throughout the entire omnibus. It was easy to get emotionally connected with these characters as they usually felt distinct and complex, with more than just one side to them.
Prose: 5/5. The quality of prose in this book is fantastic, as good as any book published by a traditional publisher (recently I reviewed The Name of the Wind, which has great prose, I would put this on par with that book).
Typos/Bad Grammar: 5/5. Non-existent (that I could find). Wool does the self-publishing world proud.
I really enjoyed reading Wool and I am very much looking forward to future works from the Author.

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