Wool Books 4 and 5 (The Unraveling & Stranded) by Hugh Howey

Wool 4 - The Unraveling

Summary: After the first three books gave background, book four and five move into full blown action.

There is no way to review books 4 and 5 without giving away some spoilers.  So if you have not read books 1 to 3, please skip this review and read the review of books 1 to 3 then read books 1 to 3 and then come back. (SPOILER ALERT)

In the first book, we see the silo through the eyes of the long term sheriff.  We see his story through a mix of current narrative and his flash back memories of his wife.  Three years prior to the current time, his wife discovered something that lead her to choose to leave the silo to ‘clean’ the sensor.  Outside is a world that is completely impossible for humans to live.  Cleaning is a death sentence, usually reserved as a criminal punishment.  But when the Sheriff’s wife chooses it because of something she found in the computer server systems, he not only has to to watch his wife die, he has to administrate it.

At the end of the book, the Sheriff decides that he has to go join his wife (whose body is still visible outside the sensor window).  The death of the Sheriff at the end of book one requires the Mayor (main character of book two) to search out a new Sheriff.  Book two gives a much better idea about what life is like in the silo.  The elderly mayor walks the whole way down from her office at the top floor to the lowest level mechanical section to talk Juliette into becoming the new Sheriff.

Juliette is the bright head of mechanical section.  She is revolutionizing the way that mechanical works and bringing back the machines to their original status.  This sets up a tension between the Mayor (who sees value in Juliette) and the head of IT (who sees danger in Juliette’s free thinking and problem solving).

Wool 5 - The Stranded

By the end of book two, the mayor is dead (suspicious causes) and Juliette is Sheriff. That leads to book three where Juliette becomes the main character and the tension between Juliette and Bernard (the head of IT) takes us through the rest of the series.

The Wool series is clearly about the tension between self-determination and control.  Juliette is trying to understand what is going on, Bernard knows what is going on, but has to keep power to insure that the boat is not rocked.

Books four and five are more action oriented and a lot of the action around Juliette for these two books feels like the Alien movies (without aliens).  The Ridley Scott style of science fiction suspense is exactly the feeling created by the books.  That suspense alternates with the armed rebellion.

I enjoyed the series enough that I have already picked up the first of the next series First Shift, which is a prequel series to Wool.

Purchase Links:

Wool (vol 1) – Free
Proper Gauge (vol 2) – $0.99
Casting Off (vol 3) – $0.99
The Unraveling (vol 4) – $1.99
The Stranded (vol 5) – $2.99
Omnibus Edition (vol 1-5) – $5.99

Omnibus Edition Paperback – $8.65

Note: these are a lendable books.  I borrowed all of them from Lendle.me

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