Book Review: Wool
Goodreads Page: Here
Personal Rating: 5/5
The Wool collection of stories (which are all included in the Omnibus version) was very different from what I expected going in. By the time the first book (which is really a collection of stories) ended, I instantly found myself looking up the next in the series. It didn't take long for me to end up reading all three books (Wool, Shift, and Dust).
All of the books deal with life in a "silo," which is a giant cylindrical building that goes deep underground and houses an entire society. The premise of the books is very interesting in itself, but what really grabbed my attention was the author's ability to capture the subtleties of day-to-day life and human nature. It's the same quality that made me love most of Isaac Asimov's books because it helps the reader not only relate to the characters more fully but also pushes the reader to think about people in a way that's different from normal. For people interested in psychology, or even just "people watching," it makes the story that much more entertaining.
In the case of the Wool novels, we find out that the buildings were carefully designed by various experts, with the intent of accounting for human psychology and to push the inhabitants to live a certain way. (Isaac Asimov incorporates the idea of psychohistory, which is similar...probably not a big surprise that both authors appeal to someone in psychology).
For example, the reader learns over time that the silo uses a spiraling staircase instead of elevators partly to separate the groups of people and to prevent the spread of information/rumors. In addition workers wear specific colors, which pushes them to befriend one another and form an "us vs. them" group identity. There are many more examples, but I don't want to give away too much of the story line.
In terms of overall writing style, the author does a good job of making it accessible and engaging. Similar to the stories by Isaac Asimov, deep character development is somewhat limited (though certainly enough to keep the reader attached to the core few characters), but instead of learning deeply about specific people the reader ends up learning about the broader social dynamics over time. In my opinion, these dynamics are much more interesting than becoming very familiar with a specific protagonist.
That being said, I recently finished reading Mila 2.0 which goes much more in-depth with the protagonist. (Admittedly, the book is more of a young adult novel probably aimed at the Hunger Games crowd, and I only read it because I needed a book to read on a flight and it was available from the library, but I was pleased in the end). For this book, the story involves interesting scenarios based around the difference between humans and AI, which fits well with the Ex Machina scene currently happening. I'll potentially write a review about it later, once I've read more.
In the end, I definitely recommend the Wool series. It was quick, easy, but very enjoyable.
Have you read the book? Interested in knowing more about my experience while reading each novel? Let me know in the comments!