Here’s a basic breakdown of the books so you’ll be less confused if you haven’t read them:
- Wool: We meet the Silos and those living in them. This is the ‘present.’
- Shift: We get background on the creation of the Silos and those involved. We delve into the past of a few characters from Wool’s ‘present.’
- Dust: We go back to the ‘present’ and pick back up where Wool left off, including characters from Shift.
Humanity exists in a Silo; the world outside is poisoned from the mistakes of those long dead. This is the basis for Howey’s tale, and the stories delve deeply into the motivations and morals that drive people. Truth and lies are similar, if not the same, in many cases. Dust itself details the struggles of Silo 18 from Wool and Silo 1, known from Shift. In it, we explore the efforts of certain parties that are struggling to change the direction things are headed, though this is different for every person involved.
Overall, I found Dust to be a bit disappointing. The first 48% of the book could be missing and it’d actually be a better read. I consciously recall looking down at my percent meter, seeing that 48, and going “Thank gods, this is finally picking up.” There are a few reasons why I think the first part is slow, but mainly I feel that the deviation from the characters from Wool in Shift is part of the problem. I’ve read an entire chunk of text without any of these characters in it, and frankly I don’t feel ingrained in their specific world anymore. With Dust, I’m flung back into relations with these characters, and it leaves them feeling flat and awkward. It also feels like the characters aren’t really acting like themselves, but this could be a symptom of the missing time between reading Wool and Dust.
After that 48% mark, though, the story lived up more so to what I think it should be. The characters felt more at home in their skins, and the stomach churning decisions and action started happening again. A lot has been leading up to the ending of that book, and you do get a very satisfying ending. It is predictable, but satisfying. You want the characters to end up with things working out the way they do, but you aren’t completely sure that’s how it will end. Can I be more vague? (Probably.)
I’m glad to have read and finished Dust. At the beginning of the book, I was a little wary and actually considered putting it down. It was nice to finish off the story, however. I feel like Howey could have done a bit more with the first half of the book, and there is a change in writing style that you can detect. There are also various editing issues that weren’t present before (he doesn’t use true em dashes, and he at one point refers to Lukas as Donald). All in all, though, it was a decent read.
Hugh Howey has become extremely popular as a self published author and has written many books. I think he’s a great guy and he even helped me out by signing a copy of Wool for me to give to my boyfriend for his birthday. He has an excellent story here, and is quite good at telling it. I still think, though, that the issue with me thinking the books get less interesting goes back to the pure excellence that is the (free) first installment of Wool. It was so good, and heartbreaking, and surprising, and a genuine mind-bone. If you read nothing else of Howey’s, I highly recommend this work.