Dust by Hugh Howey

January 2, 2014 Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Dust by Hugh HoweyDust (Wool #3) by Hugh Howey
Published: August 17th 2013 by Random House AU
Format: Paperback, 416 pages
Genres: Science Fiction
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

In a time when secrets and lies were the foundations of life, someone has discovered the truth. And they are going to tell.

Jules knows what her predecessors created. She knows they are the reason life has to be lived in this way. And she won't stand for it.

But Jules no longer has supporters. And there is far more to fear than the toxic world beyond her walls.

A poison is growing from within Silo 18. One that cannot be stopped. Unless Silo 1 step in.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, the concluding volume of the WOOL saga. Dust is bittersweet – it rounds out the story very well and its core message is one of hope and determination, but everything is tinged with sadness and loss.

The main struggle in this book is about Jules’ plans to save the people in her silo, even if they don’t want to be saved. She envisions a different life for them, but finds it increasingly difficult to find others to support her. Jules’ plans go against every tenant of survival inside her silo, and although she’s backed by her lover Daniel and her friend from Silo 17 Solo, she doesn’t know whether she can trust those inside Silo 1, and struggles alone for the a long time. I love her bravery and tenacity, but I feel she often had unrealistic expectations of her people. She admits she’d never believe that other silos exist, let alone the wider world, if she hadn’t seen evidence herself, and yet expects those around her to support her decisions to first tunnel out to Silo 17, and then to find a safe place to live on the outside.

There are some amazing surprises in this book. I’d though that Howey had given us all the secrets about the silos and WOOL, but the horrors we unearth here are perhaps the most harrowing. I love the plot – it’s not as ponderous as WOOL was, but still has a heavy emphasis on the ways of life inside the silos and what the inhabitants take for granted and find familiar. I also enjoyed the focus on relationships. With everything our characters know and love falling apart in front of their eyes, the bonds they have with family members, friends, and colleagues take on a new importance.

The other aspect of this book I enjoyed is the way it shows the darkest aspects of human nature. It’s clichéd, but characters like Thurmond exemplify how path to hell is paved with the best intentions — they’re doing the job they’re meant to do without asking questions and whole-heartedly believing in the mandate, which isn’t exactly evil but it’s not the stuff of heroes either. There are also incidents with the silo priests and religious practitioners that shows the depths humanity will sink to just to try and understand what is happening around them.

There are still many unanswered questions, I guess mainly stemming from the initial plan, the WOOL program, not being allowed to unfold the way it was meant to. I wish we could have spent more time with Donald, since he designed the silos, and Thurmond, because WOOL is his legacy. The unanswered questions admittedly lend a quality of surrealism to the story: this is a scenario that sounds outlandish, but the more one finds out about it, the more plausible it becomes, and I think knowing it in its stark detail would be frightening.

Like the rest of the series, Dust is concerned with the very fabric of humanity, and is an absolutely engaging read. I have enjoyed the series a lot and its become one of my all-time favourites. Hugh Howey has catapulted into fame with this amazing series, and fans of science fiction would do well to grab it and have a read. I feel that with its short sections and almost self-contained chapters, these books would be great reading for the holidays.

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