Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Strand and Deliver

The Stranded is the fifth and final installment of Wool, completing the first of three volumes in Hugh Howey's Silo series. This story sees societal tensions boiling over into open revolt, with the residents of the lower levels arming themselves against the silo's corrupt leadership. (Saying more than that would give too much away of Wool's earlier installments.)

This novella feels quite "mythic" in comparison to the four that came before. The stakes are higher, and you have lots of minor characters rising to the occasion to find heroism deep inside themselves. The overall formula here is similar to other multi-part stories that culminate in war; a timely example is The Hunger Games series. I find the clash here to be much more "earned" and believable by comparison. The class system of Wool seems more plausible, as does the sudden escalation to conflict now of all times.

At the same time, the goal of the main character, Juliette, is subverted in an entertaining way -- after working so hard for her own survival in the previous story, here she has to come to the rescue of others. She remains a great protagonist who finds strength in her resourcefulness. And when she's not able to help everybody, her sense of loss has weight to it.

As a whole, Wool is definitely a springboard for something more. Its ending is both resolved in some ways and quite open ended in others. It left me very much looking forward to the next book. (Only my desire to jump around more between genres kept me from forging straight ahead.)

I give The Stranded an A-, which is pretty much what I'd give Wool as a whole. It's a great sci-fi story, another example that real gems sometimes emerge from the vast world of self-publishing.

No comments: