5 Stars: “Wool” by Hugh Howey

Posted: 26th February 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Books
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Wool Omnibus [Cover]

From Amazon.com:

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.

Note: This review is from the Omnibus Edition, which includes Wool #1-5.

Quite simply, this is one of the best sci-fi books I’ve ever read. And that’s saying something, from someone who owns nearly 2,000 books, most of them sci-fi.

It takes a lot to get 5 stars from me. The book has to be near-perfect in every conceivable way, and it has to make me want to read it again and again. I want to see 5-star books made into movies, because reading them makes me feel like a part of that world. The prose has to be spot-on, with few if any typos, the formatting has to be well done, and above all, I have to keep turning pages.

Hugh Howey has scored a perfect 10 for me with this book, and from the very first sentence: “The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do.”

Speaking as an author and a publisher, that is one hell of a hook. And the story never lets up from there. I found myself staying up quite late to read just a little bit more, turning pages as though there were no tomorrow, wanting to see right now what was going to happen next. The imagery Howey uses in his storytelling is profound and descriptive without being overwrought and pedantic. The characters are unique and distinct, troubled and haunted by decisions they and their ancestors and their ancestors before them had made.

Wool is currently in development for a movie, with Ridley Scott attached to direct. To say I’m excited is an understatement. I normally very much enjoy Scott’s movies, and with Howey’s story… well, this is gonna be a good one.


I originally wrote this review way back on September 29th, 2012. Since then, I had the chance to not only meet Hugh Howey and get an autograph with him, but I actually got to have dinner with him and several other fans, including a few folks from Grey Gecko Press. This happened at WorldCon 2013 in San Antonio, Texas last October. It was a blast getting to talk to Hugh, and I highly recommend you follow his blogTons of great info, stories, and worthwhile content over there.

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