A novel by Hugh Howey that focuses on life living in a post-apocolypic refuge silo. The name of the book "Wool" comes from a tradition that the inhabitants in the silo have. The tradition is an act of persecution and punishment where an inhabitant is sent outside the silo to clean the cameras with wool pads. These cameras are the only glimpse the silo people have into the outside world. Since the world is toxic on the outside, this action is seen as complete suicide and is reserve for inhabitants that misbehave. Nobody has survived the "cleaning", until now ...
Just so that we are clear, this silo is huge, like really really big. Holding almost tens of thousands of people. If you have ever watched "The Matrix Reloaded" think of it as that world. Where thousands of people form a commune underneath the ground, because the threats that exists above ground are too much to bear. A lot of the story is talking about the infrastructure of the silo and what makes up the different levels and jobs within. It is completely interesting to read because it is like reading a giant science project. Within the silo they have gardens (which is fertilized by dead bodies, ... creepy), water purifiers, mechanical that mine ore and keeps the lights and energy on, medical bays, admin offices, and public works. Everyone has a part to play in the silo, and for the most part everyone does it.
The story focuses on a character named Juliette. Her role in the silo starts off as a mechanic in the "deep down" which is at the bottom of the silo where all the mechanical position powers the silo. She is a hard worker and is naturally adored by her colleagues. After some shifty events that occur with the mayor and the loss of the silo's sheriff, Juliette is nominated to be the silos next sheriff. A tremendous responsibility that carries with it a lot of privilege. After delving into some cold cases that seem a little fishy to Juliette, she is reprimanded by the antagonist of the story, Bernard, the Director of IT. When you think of silos harboring the last of the human race, you don't think IT is a needed component. You find out as the story goes on that IT is the most hidden and secretive place in the silo, for reasons you'll find out if you read on.
Long story short, Juliette is put to cleaning for digging too far in the logs of cold cases and finds out some very interesting secrets around other cleaning cases in the silo, that have to do with IT. She is sent out to clean and instead of dying when she goes out ... something else happens
Because of Juliette's relationship with the lower levels (the people who build the materials for the suit) she is gifted with a more resilient suit that allows her to last longer outside the silo. All suits for cleaning are created by IT who make them purposefully very delicate so they can only withstand a very short time outside the silo. With Juliette's reinforced suit, she ventures further than most ever go and goes "over the hill" and out of sight of the cameras attached to the silo.
Once out of range she discovers that they are not alone. She sees over a vast field, several craters that mark different silo spots. Meaning they are not the only silo, a thought that had been raised to believe. Juliette ends of stumbling into another silo. This silo has been through a genocide that resulted in mass-exoduce. But there are still some survivors from that realm that she meets and befriends. Meanwhile, back at her silo, unrest begins to form in lower levels (representing Juliette) and the upper levels (representing IT) about Juliette's wrongful persecution. You also discover that IT has known about the existence of other silos for a while and communicate with them whenever they want. Once Juliette discovers this in the abandoned silo she ventured to, she is determined to connect with Bernard and tell him, that she is coming back to take revenge and make things right again.
My favorite part of this book was how Howey writes about the cast system that exists in the silo. The split between the lower levels and the upper levels is quite unique. Also there are different departments in the silo that have to unite in order to form an army to fight. It's very similar to a tribe-commune mentality. Where each tribe has soldiers that must unite to over through the wrongful leader.
I walked away from this book with no negatives. I really enjoyed the novel and would recommend it to many of my friends. There are two more books in the series that take you the end of the rabbit hole and help you uncover the main plot of "why are we in the silos to begin with?" But I am choosing to switch gears to other books that are on my docket. No shame for the book, I just wanted to switch gears and read something a little more light, where this book is quite dense. I will surly come back to it.
If you choose to read it, you won't be disappointed.