Book Review: Wool by Hugh Howey

Wool by Hugh HoweyWool: What it is about

From the publishers: “For suspense-filled, post-apocalyptic thrillers, Wool is more than a self-published eBook phenomenon―it’s the new standard in classic science fiction.

In a ruined and toxic future, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared to whisper. Uprising.”

Wool: What I thought

For me, this was a whole new dystopian world: a silo under the ground. And a deep one at that. Special couriers travel the stairs to deliver packages and letters all day through. But most people only use a few levels from where they live, and so, sub-societies are formed of those living near the top, the middle, or the bottom of the silo.

I love the ideas in this book. The details of the silo weren’t totally convincing to me: there was running water and electricity, and apparently the silo was so airtight, that the poisonous gases from outside never entered it. It did not disturb me too much. After a slow beginning, the story started to speed up and I was turning pages to see what would happen next rather than worry about believability.

The beginning was not only slow for me but also frustrating. In each of the first two chapters, a main character is introduced who is thereafter no longer important in the book. Only from the third chapter onwards did the main character actually stay in the rest of the story. I never like it when I get to know and love a character and then have to shift focus to another character.

For fans of dystopia, this is a great and suspenseful novel. I have already got the sequel, Shift, and I’m really curious to see how the story will continue.

 


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 528

First published: 2013

I got this: bought it

Genre: science fiction, dystopia

 

Book Review: Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

Dark Eden by Chris BeckettDark Eden: What it is about

From the publishers: “On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family take shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it.

The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say—and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.

But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.”

Dark Eden: What I thought

I love this book! For 160 years, the people of Eden are waiting for the star ship from Earth to pick them up, after a crash landing left their ancestors stranded. Their world is dark as there is no sun. Light comes from the trees. Really, not much progress has been made since the first people learned how to live on the planet. They are stuck in a kind of Neanderthal way of living.

John Redlantern sees possibilities further afield, but the majority of people think they should stay near the Circle, the place where the crash landing was, or else the astronauts from Earth won’t know where to find them when they return.

Soon, the community is split, and their peaceful existence is over. The group dynamics are very believable. Yes, as soon as a group becomes two groups, there are Us and Them, and everything that comes with that way of thinking. The exploration of (some of) the planet was interesting. I found the description of the planet and its animals fun, but not 100% believable. That didn’t matter: this was a great read. Only towards the very end did I get an idea of how the book might end. I was right. It certainly didn’t mean that it was predictable!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (very good)

Number of pages: 400

First published: 2014

I got this: for review from Blogging for Books (ebook)

Genre: Dystopia, YA

 

Book Review: The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne

The Girl in the Road: What it is about

From the publishers: “In a world where global power has shifted east and revolution is brewing, two women embark on vastly different journeys—each harrowing and urgent and wholly unexpected.

When Meena finds snakebites on her chest, her worst fears are realized: someone is after her and she must flee India.  As she plots her exit, she learns of The Trail, an energy-harvesting bridge spanning the Arabian Sea that has become a refuge for itinerant vagabonds and loners on the run.  This is her salvation.  Slipping out in the cover of night, with a knapsack full of supplies including a pozit GPS system, a scroll reader, and a sealable waterproof pod, she sets off for Ethiopia, the place of her birth.

Meanwhile, Mariama, a young girl in Africa, is forced to flee her home.  She joins up with a caravan of misfits heading across the Sahara. She is taken in by Yemaya, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who becomes her protector and confidante. They are trying to reach Addis Abba, Ethiopia, a metropolis swirling with radical politics and rich culture.  But Mariama will find a city far different than she ever expected—romantic, turbulent, and dangerous.

As one heads east and the other west, Meena and Mariama’s fates are linked in ways that are mysterious and shocking to the core.”

The Girl in the Road: What I thought

Beautifully written, an interesting story. I love stories that take place in the future, and in this one, a young woman, Meena, illegally travels on an bridge from India to Africa. What a strange idea! This bridge is created to turn energy from sea waves into electricity. Although you’re not allowed to travel on it, Meena comes across several people who live or work there on a more or less permanent basis.

I liked Meena’s story the best. Mariama is travelling too, but she’s going through Africa to Ethiopia. Her story was also good, but not quite as engaging. She gets really obsessed with a woman she meet on the way, almost turns it into a religion.

Meena, it turns out, is strongly affected by the loss of her mother, years ago. Her traveling The Trail is her way to “find” her mother back.

Towards the end, I got a little confused with remembering who was who. There weren’t many women in the story, but I started to find it hard to remember who was related to whom in what way. But overall, this was a very interesting story, unique and special.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (Good)

Number of pages: 324

First published: 2014

I got this: from the publishers, Random House USA, via my Dutch rep.

Genre: Sciene fiction, dystopia

 

Book Review: The Third by Abel Keogh

The Third by Abel KeoghThe Third: What it is about

From the back of the book: “When Ransom Lawe, a recycler in the Pacific Northwest, finds out his wife is pregnant with their third – and therefore illegal – child, he’s forced to choose between the government who proclaims a desire to save the planet and his hope for a place where his family can live in freedom. But with the Census Bureau Sentinels closing in on his wife and unborn child, Ransom’s choice will either save his family or tear them apart forever.

The Third: What I thought

This story takes place in a very convincing future in which resources are scarce and people live with strict rules of what they can and cannot do. Their water is metered and taps turn off automatically after five seconds. Nice, big houses in the suburbs are recycled (taken apart completely) while most people live in apartment blocks in the city.

Ransom is working in recycling. His job involves riding the recycling truck with his older colleague Dempsey and picking up materials for recycling. He hopes to be promoted one day so he can learn to drive the truck himself. As there are no cars around, not many people know how to drive. However, when his wife gets pregnant with their third child, his hopes for promotion are over. Really, he should be happy if they let him keep his job at all!

When he performs an act of kindness for a lady he doesn’t know, he becomes involved against his wishes in her and her companions’ underground movement. He tries everything legal to keep his child, but it’s taking all his time, money, and energy.

This world is a version of a future American state in which the citizens are oppressed by an all-seeing government. The set-up was very believable and novel. I was thinking along with Ransom, trying to find a solution for his situation and felt trapped! The book is very readable and totally enjoyable.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (very good)

Number of pages: 266

First published: 2011

I got this: won it in a giveaway from Peet Swea

Genre: science fiction, dystopia

 

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