Author: Hugh Howey
Publisher: Broad Reach
Format: Electronic (Kindle)
The first book in the Wool series follows the underground city’s sheriff as he contemplates and finally decides to exile himself to the potentially toxic, post-apocalyptic world. In book two, Mayor Jahns and her deputy, Marnes, climb deep into the depths of their silo city to seek a new and promising recruit for sheriff to replace Holston. Descending over a hundred floors down leads them to discover that things aren’t as they thought and there is a threat that is growing in power and authority.
The second book, while twice as long as its predecessor, is still a short one (barely exceeding 100 pages). But don’t be deterred — its length suits the story well. In Proper Gauge, we gain a much better sense of the world in which the citizens live and the political workings within it. The story is slower paced than the first book, but still full of intrigue and emerging conflict.
Howey has embraced the electronic model of publishing, a form of media that can take advantage of serial, short-lengthed fiction. Like an episode of the television show, Lost, the reader longs to understand more about the silo cities. Why are they built so deep? How do they survive? How does the society remain stable? And like the show, each story ends with a kicker — a cliff hanger of sorts, answering some questions, but leaving more ahead.
The second story, while enjoyable and well written at its core, is somewhat of a bridge novella, enriching the world and introducing new characters, but falling short in delivering an overall conflict-climax-resolution that was more evident in the first book. But it was still a delight to read and I look forward to reading the rest of the series with enthusiasm.