Shift by Hugh Howey

Shift: (Wool Trilogy 2) (Wool Trilogy Prequel)
by Hugh Howey
592 Pages
Published by Cornerstone Digital (April 2, 2013)
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Dystopian

Reviewed by Sam Campbell

In a future less than fifty years away, the world is still as we know it. Time continues to tick by. The truth is that it is ticking away. A powerful few know what lies ahead. They are preparing for it. They are trying to protect us. They are setting us on a path from which we can never return. A path that will lead to destruction; a path that will take us below ground. 

The history of the silo is about to be written. Our future is about to begin.

*Spoiler Alert*

Shift, the second book in the Wool trilogy is a prequel to Wool. If you haven't read Wool, just go read it. No more needs to be said.

The Wool world Hugh has created is set in a series of silos. Theses silos are structures built deep into the ground and their inhabitants live and die in a world where they cannot go outside. The mystery of the outside and this world in general is what made Wool such a fantastic read. It was like season one of Lost, you watched and wanted answers but they didn't provide them straight away and it had everybody hooked. Shift is different. As I said before its a prequel to Wool. It gives a lot of answers out right away and with excellency creates a wave of brand new ones for the reader to ponder.

Shift follows multiple time lines and characters. I wasn't sure if it was intentional or a byproduct of Hugh's writing but the book felt like it was split into two stories. The first follows Donald, a congressman who is brought into the development project shroud in mystery but to those who have read Wool, the project is the creation of the Silos in the present day as we know it. We also follow Troy in the future who works and operates in Silo 1, the silo which functions to keep the other silos and their occupants running smoothly. I was not a fan of the first half the book, I didn't connect with Donald and struggled through the chapters however, this completely changed the second half.

The second half of the book is fantastic. With the introduction of Jimmy, a young boy in silo 17, who later becomes known as Solo, I think this is where Hugh found his spark again. Jimmy's story is exciting, haunting and so tense you will put holes in your paper back or sweaty fingers prints on your kindle. I love how Hugh made silo 17 such a haunting place, it has that feeling you get when you’re in a very large building alone but question if you really are alone even though you know the answer. Jimmy's stories also had my three favorite lines.

"I am Jimmy."

"I am Solitude."

"I am Solo."

Hard to explain but if you read the book you will know why. The second half of the book also brings in (SPOILER) Donald as a character living in silo 1 after the ending of life outside as we know it. This really stepped Donald up as a character and when this book begins to overlap with Wool on the timeline of this series, the books together become incredible and addictive. I will definitely be going on to read the final book of the series Dust.

While the first of half of Shift lacked the magic of Wool the book altogether is a worthwhile read. Its ending is exactly what I hoped for from Hugh Howey and I can understand why these books are such a success. Give the series a go.

Stalk this author here:

About the Reviewer:

Sam Campbell co-authored Red Dust, a series of zombie western short stories. To read more about Sam's work, read The Bookie Monster's review of Red Dust.

You might also like: