1984, Brave New World, The Hunger Games…do we really need another dystopian novel?
I, for one, believe there is so much flexibility in the theme that it needn’t get old. I’ve enjoyed every one I’ve read, even those intended for young adults. The Hunger Games was a compelling series, though obviously not unique.
That’s where Wool (by Hugh Howey) excels, in my opinion. The story of a society living underground in a giant silo, their only view of the outside world being by a giant television screen that projects the image of a bleak, devastated landscape filled with toxic fumes. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the premise seems almost wholly original.
That being said, the originality of the book is about all it has going for it. The prose is only average and the characters are two-dimensional. The good guys are obviously good and the villains quite obviously evil. Howey makes a half-hearted attempt at creating compelling back stories for his characters, but fails at making an emotional connection between them and the reader. At least in The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins was able to make the reader feel something for the characters, whether it be empathy or contempt. What strikes me most about Howey’s characters is how little I feel for any of them.
The prose of the book is…flat, really. That’s not to say it’s bad, just not anything remarkable. I also can’t decide who Howey’s target audience is supposed to be. I’m going to go with young adults based on the simplicity of the writing.
I’ll mostly likely read the other two books in the series. Like I said earlier, the premise is original, and the books are not difficult to read.
If you haven’t read many novels about dystopian societies, these are what I recommend most:
1984 by George Orwell
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess