Saturday, March 30, 2013

Wool 5 - The Stranded

Wool 5 - The Stranded
by Hugh Howey

My Not-Really-a-Blurb:
The story of the Silo and its inhabitants continues to unfold in this fifth installment in the Wool series.  ...And that's about it.  I don't think I can go into much more detail without risking spoiling aspects of the previous books.  Do you like books with a post-apocalyptic setting?  Give the series a try.  

My Reaction:
Overall, I enjoyed the books as a whole.  It was an interesting idea, and if "they" ever really do make a movie based on it, I'll definitely want to see how it translates to the screen.  That said, it wasn't flawless.  My chief complaint about this installment is that it seemed to wrap up very quickly and easily at the end... And a large part of the story takes place "off-camera".  I suppose the author felt it was necessary to provide a plot twist (which unfortunately was almost immediately obvious), but instead, it ended up being something of a let-down.

But again, negatives aside, it was usually an engrossing story.  I plan to eventually try the first of the prequels and... is the last one some sort of sequel to the Wool series?  Anyway, I'll try to read the rest of the related books, and I'd certainly recommend the series (faults and all) to anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction. 

More Detailed Comments (with SPOILERS):
--  So much negativity!  Which, alright, I guess is only to be expected under the circumstances-- but seriously, there seems to be a lot of contemplation of suicide in this series.

--  Weird that the "new" silo (sorry, can't remember their numbers... was it 17?) had spare suits ready and waiting, while Juliette's old silo (18?) evidently made them on demand.  The only reason she was able to survive her cleaning was that her silo had to make her suit to order, and was made of good materials from Supply instead of the usual "made-to-fail" materials.  It's a little thing, and maybe there's an easy explanation...

--  I must admit that I was really disappointed by the "big reveal" of how the surface world was (temporarily?) destroyed.  "We did it"?  Ugh.  "Operation fifty is completely pointless if anyone else survives.  The population has to be homogenous--"... and "The people who did this, they were in charge of a powerful country [which we know is supposed to be the U.S.] that was beginning to crumble.  They could see the end, their end, and it scared them suicidal."  Really?  ...Yeah, disappointed.  (And in case it wasn't obvious, the italicized words in the quotation above was my own comment.)

--  Also, it turns out that "it's only been a few hundred years"?  I could almost swear that one of the earlier books stated that it had been longer, but even if so, maybe that was just someone's mistaken belief... However, you have to wonder, would a people collectively forget so much (history, exotic animals) in just a few hundred years?  It sounds like a long time, but even by human standards it's not that long.  Possibly the strictures of the Silo-- being forbidden to discuss certain things on pain of death-- would be enough to keep people quiet and more quickly deteriorate common knowledge that would ordinarily be passed down orally from generation to generation... Just strikes me as odd. 

--  Bernard spends 90% of his time with one hand (a small hand, mind you) tucked into the front of his coveralls.  It's kind of funny, imo.

--  The cursing from the last book in the series?  It's baa-aack.  It's pretty strong stuff, again, too.  Part of the reason it feels so shocking is that most of the language is very mild, then all of a sudden-- blam!-- big, bad curse words.  However, this is not a series for the kids, so it's not as much of an issue as it could have been. 

--  The kids in the "new" silo feel a bit too convenient.  A plot device more than anything else.  What happened to the adults who had been sheltering them?  Was the baby the only child of the teenage girl?  Who was the baby's father?  (The teen boy?  One of the now-dead adults?)  They pop up out of nowhere, just to give poor Solo/Jimmy some company once Juliette's gone-- and a reason for him to finally begin to mentally mature. 

--  I'm glad that at least there was some type of a happy ending.  I was afraid for a while that the whole thing was going to end on a tragic note.