I first stumbled across Hugh Howey when I was researching before taking the plunge into self-publishing. His story, and the story of Wool, is a remarkable one. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I started in, worried what to do if I didn’t like it.

For a while I thought that was going to be the case. The book starts slowly, in terms of action if not drama, and had a lot of navel gazing being done by characters who, ultimately, don’t matter. While the ideas are interesting, the protagonist baton is moved around so much I found it a hard story to get to grips with.

The fact that so many people have stuck through this pays testimony to the characters, writing and story. The book succeeds in spite of this rather than because of it. I read the complete (omnibus) edition, but it was released as five separate works originally. I can only assume the unique world he’s built is what got the original people hooked, or the hints at an underlying conspiracy.

Around half way it starts to pick up though and then it turns into a real page turner, I found myself eyeing the clock to see if I could fit in another chapter before calling it a night. That’s definitely a good sign, even if I was frustrated on occasion by the seemingly endless obstacles they had to overcome.

It’s certainly a detailed, complex and, bizarrely, vast world he’s created, one filled with interesting people who feel very real. There are two more books in the trilogy (plus a whole raft of approved fan fiction) and you can certainly see the possibilities.

The fact that I haven’t rushed to download the next one probably says a lot though. It was a good story, but it didn’t quite strike the right note for me.

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Reviewed: 29th September 2013