I’ll be honest with you, I was wary about picking up Wool. I had read about Hugh Howey and his unconventional path to success. I had read about him because I wanted to be him. I still do. I needed someone to look up to as a broke out of technical academic writing and moved into what I always wanted to do – science fiction.
I was wary because I, along with so many other people, had been told that unless a book goes through the traditional publishing route, it won’t be good. We have always just assumed that books on the shelf at the bookstore had to be the best the writing world had to offer because they know what good writing looks like. While its true that many self-published books lack polish and, sometimes, grammar basics, there is some serious talent in the writing world that gets missed because the gatekeepers didn’t like it. Thanks to Wool by Hugh Howey, I have found a respect for all routes of publishing. It gives me so much hope for the stories that don’t get told.
I found Wool on the bookshelf of my local book store a few days before its official release. I was in the bookstore writing my own book and had just finished scouring Hugh Howey’s blog for idea about how to make it work. Then is dawned on me – how could I possibly hope to have success in the indie author world if I hadn’t read many of their book. So, I picked up Wool and went home.
Now, before you read the official review portion below, I want you to know that I’m striving not to have any spoilers included. Because of that, if you haven’t read the book and have only looked at the reviews, I’m going to sound like a twelve year old girl because of the emotions the book invoked in me. You’ll understand if you read it and then I’ll challenge you not to sound like one as well as you explain it.
Opening the book with caution, I read the first two pages and stopped. I literally stopped to say, “Wow, this is really gonna be good.” Howey has the ability to convey the mood of a particular setting better than any author I’ve ever read. I became engaged with the first character of the book. I remembered that this was how Wool started for Howey. He published the first part online and didn’t think anything would come of it. Well, surprise! People wanted more. Now I knew why. When I finished the first part, I couldn’t imagine not having the rest of the book. I do remember thinking this though – there is no way I am going to let myself get attached to the next characters.
What a stupid thought that was. Throughout the rest of the book, I found myself thinking like the characters and experiencing their emotions right along with them. Folks, some of you might not know how hard that is to do as an author. Trust me, it is. It had been a while since I had to actually put a book down and take a break because I was so overwhelmed with what had just happened. I did that a few times with this book.
Wool was different. I guess we could call it science fiction, but I would call it human condition fiction. I know that sounds funny, but this really was a set of stories that let me consider how humans would react in this particular post-apocalyptic scenario. My background in political science had me wondering about how humans would naturally respond to what took place in Wool, and I think Howey was spot on. He understand us, and that is why he was able to create a book that can connect with us so powerfully.
The writing was superb and the stories were captivating. Seriously, if you want to read a book that can help you get your creative mind going, or whether you just want to sit down and be taken away from where you are right now, pick up Wool by Hugh Howey. This is one of those book we’ll want to read over and over. It’s timeless. I put it on par with 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, etc. Great work!