I have had a strange response to this book.
I heard about it a while back and it had remained in the back of my mind as something I’d like to read. I love a good post-apocalyptic story that is all about piecing together what is happening now and what happened to cause/further the apocalypse in question. So it seemed this should be just the book for me, but somehow I never got around to it.
Then there was an internet brouhaha over Howey being an “author behaving badly” and, personally, I felt his behaviour was inappropriate. I can understand his feelings, but his actions completely put me off and I found I didn’t want to give the man my money. I took the book off my TBR list.
About a month ago, I had started listening to a new podcast (Sword and Laser) that chose to make Wool its May book of the month. I suddenly found myself caught between being interested in reading the book and not wanting to buy it. I finally compromised by requesting it from the library.
So now I’ve read it. And I remain conflicted, if now about the work itself rather than my personal ethics relating to buying it.
The ideas are great. I was fascinated by the world he’d created and how it was being held together (or not) as that was slowly revealed to us. But, to be honest, as I continued reading, I found that I was also bored. The book seemed to grow longer and longer as it went on. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about the characters, but that I connected less and less with the text as I went on. By a third through I was wishing I could read faster. By halfway, I was skimming.
I spent the whole book trying to decide if I was going to give up and look up the plot answers on the internet, or if I was going to keep reading and find out for myself. I never quite made the decision to look for spoilers as, once that decision was made, I couldn’t undo it, but I skimmed more and more.
I still think the world and the ideas are great and I’m glad I found out what they were, but I just wasn’t impressed by the book. As I finished, I still wanted to know the background and found myself in the same dilemma all over again as I tried to decide if I wanted to read the sequel/prequel, Shift. In the end, I decided I didn’t. I can’t go through the entire process again.
I know lots of people just love the book, and I don’t know why I so totally didn’t connect with it. I readily acknowledge I went into it with a possibly unfair bias against the author. I try not to conflate the author and his/her work, but it gets harder and harder in this internet age. When an author does something I strongly disagree with, it’s hard to stop that clouding my opinion. But I don’t think I’m so blind as to fail completely to see the worth in a work as I read it. I still think the ideas in this book were great; it’s just that I didn’t feel that book itself matched up.
So my final verdict is that this book turned out not to be for me. Don’t let that stop you. It might be just the thing for you.