For this month’s Tutor.com Reads post, book club veteran Jake Ramsey, Tutor.com Product Manager, reviews our May pick.
If you’ve been following our book club recently, you may have picked up on our preference for a certain kind of book – one part sci-fi, one part mystery, and just a pinch of end-of-the-world dystopia thrown in for seasoning. In different ways, The Leftovers, The Sparrow, and The Dog Stars all followed this recipe, but our latest selection, Hugh Howey’s Wool Omnibus, combined these elements in a fresh new way and was (unsurprisingly) a big hit with the group.
Wool Omnibus is set in a world where all humanity lives in a massive underground silo, never daring to travel above ground because of a mysterious, apocalyptic event that happened on the surface. But to call the world of Wool Omnibus post-apocalyptic isn’t quite right: to the silo’s residents, there’s nothing unusual or catastrophic about their lives. They have always lived that way, like their parents and grandparents before them, and Howey creates a convincing universe for his characters to inhabit, with its own unique economy, politics, and culture.
Several book club members found this meticulous world-building the most fascinating part of the novel, but for others, the plot was the main attraction – and there’s a lot of plot in Wool Omnibus. A steady progression of secret murders, forbidden love affairs, and conspiracies that go all the way to the top (literally) made it hard to part the book down.
The history of Wool Omnibus itself is equally interesting, and provided even more fodder for discussion. Howey began writing it in 2011 as a one-off short story, and self-published what became the novel’s first chapter through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing system. It was a runaway success, and as Howey released more installments to the saga, Wool climbed the Amazon charts, eventually becoming the site’s #1 best-seller and the best-selling self-published book in history. Eventually the first five installments were consolidated into the Wool Omnibus, and a film adaption is reportedly in the works.
Wool Omnibus gave us plenty to discuss, and some of us are so hooked on the series that we’re already reading the Shift Omnibus – a sequel that fleshes out the Wool saga even further.
Have you ready any of the Wool books? What did you think? Let us know if the comments below – and be sure to join us for our next book club pick, The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Talk about a change of pace!