Review of “Second Shift” (Wool 7) by Hugh Howey

Posted: November 21, 2012 in Reviews
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The intriguing thing about the WOOL stories is that they focus on what comes after the apocalypse happens, after the dust settles and the new world unfurls. Its not the apocalypse that we are concerned about, its how the world adapts, falters, grows. And yet, despite this, there is still an echo threading through of what came before and as a reader, the mystery of what caused the world to collapse and who made the silos is like an itch that niggles. Second Shift is the second part in a middle trilogy within the Silo series that focuses on this Before. First Shift takes place largely in the time before the silos while Second Shift sits after the catastrophe but before the events in Wool (I am assuming, its not completely clear how the events in Second Shift relate, time wise with the events in Wool). The story continues to mesmerise and we now know what catastrophic event forced people into the silos. Hugh Howey does a good job of both unravelling one mystery while creating more questions. Is only certain memory erased? What is the ultimate aim of those in charge? Who else remembers? What about Jules? How do the events in Second Shift relate to her and the other characters in the earlier Wool stories? If there is one flaw to Second Shift, its that these new mysteries and questions, made me impatient to get this story over with. I wanted to get ahead of myself and perhaps failed to just relax and sink into the story of Second Shift. Perhaps this is a characteristic of all linkage stories and this is certainly a story that links the Before with the After. And when the story ends, its both tragic and hopeful, twin emotions that one of the main characters, Donald, faces each moment he is awake in the silos. We are then left wanting and waiting both in hope and trepidation of what Howey has in store for the Silos.

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