Wool, Shift, and Dust by Hugh Howey

I love dystopian sci-fi. I am not going to lie but this trilogy, and specifically the first book Wool ranks a probably my favorite in this genre and definitely in my top 5 books period.

In Wool the reader is shown an underground world that slowly starts to unravel. This story starts with a group of people living underground in a silo. All they know is it's not safe to go outside because the air is toxic. They do not know why the air is toxic. As the story develops both the reader and main characters are are presented with questions like, why are they there? Why do people condemned to die by being sent outside always clean the sensors that give the people in the silo their only views of the barren outside landscape? Who is really in control? As the tension builds, and the fragile social structure in the silo unravels we are introduced to layers of mystery and storytelling that (at least in my experience) are unique and exciting. I think I bought the second book Shift immediately after finishing the first!

Shift is a prequel to Wool that takes the reader in an unexpected direction to explain many but not all of these questions about the origins of the silo and why the people who live it it are there. While a good deal of Shift is dedicated to characters outside of those in Wool it does an outstanding job of bringing the story together in a fascinating and beautifully written way.

As far as the third book in this series, it is hard to explain how Dust wraps up the stories of Wool and Shift without giving to much away. The best way to describe it as that Dust is the "And then" to Wool's "What" and Shift's "Why". The best part for me was that the ending leaves plenty enough for the reader to imagine countless continuations thus the story can continue in our minds. Indeed there have been a number of fan fiction stories to fill in some missing details, and not only concerning the inhabitants of the silo!

Overall Hugh Howdy managed to weave a complete story that never disengages the reader even when the story shifts perspective, location, and even time. Best of all it manages to do so while leading the reader to genuinely care about all the characters. I highly recommend these books to anyone who is a fan of dystopian science fiction or anyone looking for a great read.

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