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Showing 1-10 of 267 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 338 reviews
on December 26, 2015
I thought the first Wool book was excellent. A really good short story with a nice ending twist that made you think the story ended there. But Howey does a great job of using that as the jumping point for a deeper and bigger story. The writing is superb, and the characters are strong.

You start to get a sense of the reality of life in a silo, and what it means to live in an underground city, with all of the infighting, politics, and stress that such an existence would entail. I had flashbacks to the Fallout video game series, and Howey lays out what living in an underground vault would look like.

The ending of Wool #2 has a twist, similar to the fact that Wool #1 had a twist. The difference, in my opinion, is that this twist is more of a cliffhanger, more of a pull to continue reading the next book in line. And I will be doing exactly that.

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I think people tend to rate books higher than they should, so I try to rate books on a harder scale, while being consistent over time. Jerry Foster's book rating scale:

5 - Fantastic. Life-altering. Only 10-20 books in a lifetime.
4 - Very good.
3 - Worth your time.
2 - Not very good.
1 - Atrocious.
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on December 20, 2011
The author is doing an excellent job - Story is a post-apocalypse world where people live in a Silo below ground. The characters, back story and story going forward are all well build. It sucks you in at .99 per "short story". I am sure this is a new revenue model - which scarily enough makes a lot of sense for the author, and for the reader, it is like buying a book in installment payments of .99 each. Where the total price might keep you away, the individual installments are cheap enough so that if you get sucked in by a good read, you end up paying as much or more than you would for a full priced plus novel. This short story is excellent, but I think all readers should know - Transparency - none of these installments - Wool1 2 and Wool 3 are books or even short stories complete in of themselves, they are merely chapters of a larger book broken up into .99 bite sized pieces. The .99 bites are very good, but know ahead of time you will be spending somewhere between $5 and $15 to get the whole story. You will get sucked in because the writer is very good.
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Hugh Howey picks right up where he left off with Wool with this second installment of the series. Howey does a good job of getting you into the minds of the characters, even to the point where your own knees creak with each step up the stairway of the main character. The dialogue was crisp and not just there to have dialogue. Fans of doomsday or end of the world type of stories should enjoy not only this one but the entire series, and you will find yourself wanting more when this installment of the series ends.

If you haven't read the first installment of Wool, you need to read it before you pick up and read this Book 2. Otherwise, you will probably be scratching your head in places wondering what is happening and why.

This book and the series was very entertaining - I'm ready for more! You can purchase individual portions of the series for 99 cents each, with #5 listed at $2.99 as I type this review. Alternatively, you can purchase editions 1-5 as one complete book for just $4.99 - I'd highly recommend getting the Wool Omnibus Edition!
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I enjoyed the teaser we got from the short story Wool but I love what Howey has done in the second installment of the WOOL series.

Talk about becoming vested with characters. Whew! I love Mayor Jahn and Deputy Marnes, and what we've read of Juliette (Jules) so far. Superb character development.

And strikingly clear visions of life in the Silo in this post-apocalyptic world. With very few words, Howey lets us eavesdrop on everyday life in this enclosed community - and makes this world shockingly plausible.

And so far, Howey is the master of the drop-your-jaw ending.

I am off to read Wool 3 - Casting Off. I have a feeling I will be getting to sleep late tonight.
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on November 13, 2014
A Review of Wool: Proper Gauge by Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey continues building the Silo world of Wool in Proper Gauge. We left Sheriff Holston dead with his secret after his “cleaning” of the outside camera lenses in Wool. In Proper Gauge, it is the next day. A day when revelers celebrate the release of tension about who will do the next “cleaning.” They are grateful they didn’t have to clean the lenses, now they can express that joy. While most of the population in the silo are celebrating, Mayor Jahns and Deputy Marnes are weighted down with grief over the loss of their friend and sheriff, Holston. They also face the grueling task of finding the right person to fill the empty sheriff’s position. This choice is of supreme importance to the mayor, because “Whoever we decide will probably be here long after we’re gone.” Mayor Jahns knows that choosing the right person for sheriff is as important as choosing the right needle for her knitting project. The proper gauge in needles or in people is, not only important, but “critical.”

Deputy Marnes offers three possible candidates for the job, but only recommends one, Juliette Nichols. Juliette, or Jules, was born into a family health practitioners, but she chose a different path. She is content as Mechanical worker in the lowest levels of the silo, which is 144 floors deep, and will probably refuse the position. Mayor Jahns wants to visit these lower levels to “get us a proper gauge of this Juliette” and take time for silent mourning. Both Jahns and Marnes are older people, so the journey is a grueling trek down. Plus they are going against the flow of travelers who are going to the first floor to celebrate the cleaning.
As they travel into the bowels of the silo in search of a new sheriff, the people they pass look to Mayor Jahns with eyes crying, “Keep us going, … Make it so my kids live as long as me. Don’t let it unravel, not just yet.” But Jahns knows it “only [takes] one snip for it all to unravel.” This is a heroic quest to save their people for one more generation and we begin to see the possible threads that might unravel in a segregated society divided by floors. “The silo was mathematically divided into three sections of forty-eight floors each…” with the administrators and white collar workers live on the upper floors of the silo. The workers who keep the silo functional (farmers, electricians, mechanics) are on the lower levels. And smack in the middle is IT with Bernard Holland, whom we instantly dislike, Head of IT. We learn that it’s customary for the Head of IT to approve the Mayor’s choice for sheriff.
The quest for a sheriff also turns into a personal quest for unfulfilled love between our two travelers. It is chance to build on a relationship they both chose to keep professional for years and so, “out of nothing comes something,” has multiple meanings to the plot. But not everything that comes out of this trip is beneficial and the hitches in the overall plot of the whole Wool series becomes more complex.

I still have to give this novella kudos. It continues to keep us interested in the overall series even though it limits the number of character we are exposed to. In this way, the characters are developed into realistically people with pasts and hopes and dreams -even in what we believe is a depressingly limited world. Each peripheral character from one story becomes the main character in the next, so there is still continuity in the storytelling. In fact, our entire knowledge of the silo world of Wool grows with each reading. The rich imagery and smells carry through from the top levels to the “down deep” of the silo, and so do the political struggles over power usage and supplies. It’s still worthwhile, so I’m on to reading, the third book in Hugh Howey’s Wool Series: Casting Off.

Rhodes FitzWilliam
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on July 27, 2014
I purchased this book after I finished the first story in the series, Wool (Silo #1a), which I found thanks to OHFB. The events in the book began where the first ended, but the author used the opportunities within the story to give the reader a tour of life within the silo itself. There was a different air about this book since the cleaning relieved the pressure of uncertainty and uneasiness that filled the first book. Though this was the second in the series, the story within stood on its own and referenced enough of the first book to give the reader a full view of events without rehashing everything.

Two of the main characters in this book were introduced in the first one. Both Mayor Jahns and Deputy Marnes played supporting roles to Sheriff Holston. In this book their histories and current lives were on display as was their candidate to fill the void left by Holston. In an interesting twist, the silo itself became a main character as they traveled into its depths to interview someone on the deepest levels. On the way down to the Mechanical levels, we were given a glimpse of how life in the silo worked. Shops, farms, and porters filled the levels and provided everything that the people within could ever want. Hidden within the information about the various floors were tiny nuggets of information about the people that live and work on those same floors.

With the story beginning slightly after the events of the first book, the pacing started off strong. It continued on a steady pace as the story unfolded. There were moments where the characters rested or reflected on things in the past. These allowed a moment or two for the reader to take a breath and digest what had been revealed. I won't spoil the story, so the major points will stay hidden. However, I will say that much of the story provided background, but there were a few jaw-dropping moments that left me wanting to know more.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next part of the series. Many of the questions I had after reading the first one were answered in this one. I have a feeling that many more will be answered the deeper I dig into the series. With this being a quick read, the pages all but turned on their own as I wanted to know more of what was happening. If you like dystopian or post-apocalyptic stories filled with humanity and intrigue, then this book (and the series) is the one you need to read!
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on February 7, 2014
Howey has moved to the top of my list of authors. He has created an incredible post apocalyptic setting with such gritty reality that my legs ache from all the stairs. As in the first book he has created more characters that we get to know and love in the time it takes to read a short story. But this author is not afraid to break the rules. I won't spoil it for you. During most of this story the mayor and deputy are walking the entire depth of the silo step by step. We get to know them and their past relationship. They have a tender relationship that touches our soul, we feel their pain, physical and emotional as we get to know more about Silo life and Silo history. We also get an inkling about who is in control of the Silo and it's not looking so healthy.

This series makes me think about how societies evolve, how the personalities of a few people can impact the community as a whole. How underlying manipulations can press in on humans and warp the way they develop as a group. This is a realistic assessment of how one group of people dealt with the end of the known world. I want to dig deeper into the history of how the Silo came to be and I want to know how it turns out in the end.
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VINE VOICEon June 22, 2012
Hugh Howey, you are a talented devil, you truly are. I didn't really know what to expect with Wool, except that I had a vague idea that it was some sort of sci-fi, that it had gone crazy viral on the Internet, and that Ridley Scott thinks it might be nice to make a movie version out of it. I downloaded this book during a free run a while back, but I hadn't read it until I started seeing more of the Hugh hype and decided to find out what it was all about. Spoilers to follow, though I'd never give away the ending because that would just be unforgivable. Fair warning, though, if you haven't read the first Wool, you should probably stop here as Proper Gauge picks up from where it left off and, therefore, it's pretty impossible to avoid Wool spoilers when talking about Wool 2.

This time around, we get to see things from Mayor Jahns's perspective as she and Deputy Marnes set off on a quest to find a new sheriff. Right away, it's obvious there is some sort of dynamic between these two characters. As their back story unfolds, Howey once again proves how deft he is at writing about the human condition. I found this part of the story to be so heartfelt and excruciatingly bittersweet. Honestly, Howey does love and romance better than most romance authors out there precisely because the romances in his book are just so real. It is obvious that the characters have an actual relationship, and that makes the interaction between them feel extremely authentic. This is truly fantastic stuff.

I also loved the introduction of Juliette as a character, and I can't wait to learn more of the story from her perspective. She comes across as very strong and determined, and also very canny. I loved that her only loyalty was to ensuring that the silo functioned as it should. She felt very distinct from the other characters, who are also well-drawn, but there's just something about Juliette that I found really appealing. She seems like the type who won't take any nonsense, and I'm definitely hoping hers will be the next voice to continue the story.

It really amazes me how Howey takes what would seem to be a very closed, homogenous society and shows the ways in which clear class distinctions are still maintained. Even from the little taste the reader gets of learning about Juliette's character, the world of Wool expands exponentially. It was fascinating to witness this society Howey has constructed and how, at the end of the day, human nature doesn't really seem to change much. Even in the silo, people are still engaged in the same power struggles, still using prejudices as weapons against one another. Though I loved Wool, the plot definitely thickens here, and Howey drops a huge bomb that ups the intrigue factor exponentially.

Though I really liked this book, I didn't like it quite as much as the first Wool. I think this has to do with hearing the story for Jahns's perspective. Though I like the mayor and her back story, it just didn't have the same resonance for me as did Holston's story. And, while the ending of Wool 2 also drops a bomb, I didn't find it quite as earth-shattering as the bomb dropped by the first though, really, the two are tied together somehow. What I look forward to the most is seeing how those threads are entangled.
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on March 7, 2012
Wool 2 is not Wool, nor is it a simple repeat. Wool worked as a stand-alone piece, a short story with an ending. The entire story was beautifully self-contained. It opened up questions as to the Silo environment, but even if Wool 2 and on were never written, it would still entertain readers now and in the future.

Wool 2 is different in that is is not self-contained. You really need to have read Wool first, and when it ends, there is no terminus; you want to jump right into Wool 3 (which I did.)

Whereas Wool was about a person first, Wool 2 is more about the setting even if it closely follows two characters from Wool and introduces us to a few more. Wool 2 fleshes out the Silo, the people who live there, the politics involved, and the mechanics of keeping the Silo humming. In this way, it answers questions which arose in Wool and sets the stage for further installments.

This method of telling a story, in installments, is actually reminiscent of the Golden Age of Science Fiction, where the many periodicals would offer a novel or novella over a number of issues. As a child, I would eagerly await the next issue to find out what happened next is another story. The Wool saga replicates that feeling in me, although thankfully, the waiting for each installment is not so long as I catch up.

One thing that is the same in Wool 2 is the author's superb skill in emotive writing. I am not sure when I have last read an author who can so well express the emotions his characters are feeling. And this is a special skill. It is easy to write a generic sentence such as "He suddenly sat down." But what was he feeling? Why did he sit down "suddenly?" Was he excited, remorseful, afraid, joyous, sad, or whatever? Howey doesn't merely tell us the emotion; he somehow makes us feel it. This ability elevates him to the very top tier of modern authors.

I have already started Wool 3, and I eagerly look forward to reading the entire Wool saga.
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on July 6, 2012
After reading the first one of this collection I actually went and bought the Omnibus but I feel like each book in this series truly deserves its own review.

First of all: If you haven't read the first book you need to do that first. Wool 2 is not the way to get hooked on the series. There are interesting things that happen but the story is mostly to set up the series as a whole so it does seem to move along slower. Normally I would only give a book 3 stars if I said what I just said above but it's almost the same thing I said for the end of Wool 1. As soon as it was over everything clicked into place and just wanted to keep reading!

Hugh really has a great way of introducing his characters as well as completely intertwining their lives in non conventional ways. The world he creates is completely realistic. I love sci-fi so I'm usually pretty cynical when it comes to dystopian literature. I'm that really annoying person that says every 10 seconds "Well, that's just ridiculous, that would never happen in real life." I didn't feel that way once through this story.

Again, keep in mind, Wool 2 is used to jump start the rest of the story so it may seem like it's going really slow and you may feel bored sometimes (I'd get bored if I was just traveling up and down 100 flights of stairs too) but stick with it, it's totally worth it!
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