Bully for “Wool”-y

While researching free titles for this blog, I have come across a lot of promotion regarding “Wool” by Hugh Howey.

Apparently, this book is some sort of self-publishing phenomenon.

I recognized this title as one that I had downloaded in the early days of my addiction, but had not previously taken the time to read. But given the story’s seeming importance in the free e-book category, I felt I would be remiss if I didn’t get to it at the earliest opportunity.

I found the first chapter to be incredibly slow and overly descriptive. I very nearly quit reading. But I decided that if I had any dedication to this project, I could finish 49 (real page numbers) of this book. Because this blog isn’t simply about reviewing the books I read because I want, but reviewing books I’ve read because I got them for free.

After having finished the first installment of this series, however, I have had mixed feelings about my decisions to continue.

After the first chapter, Howey seemed to have found his voice, and the storytelling becomes more bearable.

However, I was still left with the staleness of an author who is trying too hard to build a level of suspense that will sell the next segments of his tale. After a first chapter where no detail is left unfinished and most are fleshed out in excruciating detail, the second chapter moves on to the plot, which creates 10 more questions for every 1 that it answers.

All in all, the story itself was interesting, but I finished it feeling a bit manipulated. While many of the free e-books I have read have been offered as a marketing strategy to pull you into a series or sample a particular author’s works, none of the others seemed to scream “Buy my next installment or you’ll go insane wondering what is happening in this story,” quite like this one. Because I was pulled into the story enough to wonder what happened, but not enough to buy the next books. Maybe enough to check out the series from the library; but who knows when that might occur in my small town, especially with an author who is mostly an e-book phenomenon (although he has sold print-only rights to these stories to a publisher, according to Wikipedia).

Well, Mr. Howey, I refuse to be derailed by not buying the next installment. After all, I can see that you’re a smashing success, and therefore, there are lots of people who have bought your works and can fill me in. And also according to Wikipedia, 20th Century Fox has already purchased movie rights. Although I’m probably too cheap to pay much to see it, there’s a discount movie theater in the student center of our local university, and maybe someday it will be on Netflix.

Hardcore fans of science fiction/fantasy will likely enjoy “Wool.” If you are looking to get into a new series and don’t mind buying further installments, you probably won’t be as irritated as I was by the unanswered questions. Getting the first installment for free on Kindle is a great way to try it out.

As for me, I’ll wait for the movie. Unless Liz Shannon Miller wants to tackle this.

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