Shift (Silo #2)
by Hugh Howey
Kindle Edition, 520 pages
Published January 28th 2013 by Broad Reach Publishing
Read from July 21 to August 16, 2015
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars
[Warning: this review contains spoilers]
First of all, it is a prequel. That can be disappointing to some people because Wool finished with a suspenseful situation and all you want to know after reading Wool is what the hell happens next. But on Shift that time line is suspended, and we are presented with two parallel time lines that date before the events of Wool.
I enjoyed the first third of the book because it was fast paced and puts us right into the moment when the silos were being built. I thought that was great, because I also wanted to know how the hell those silos got there. We are not presented with the full explanation of the project at first, but little bits and pieces are being told throughout the chapters. We get to know this side of the story through the eyes of Donald, an architect who becomes a congressman without never wanting to be one. In my opinion he is a depressive character because he actually doesn’t question the reality enough. He innocently goes along with the construction project of the silo, which he was told at the beginning to be only an emergency facility. Later on the finds out that they build 50 of them, all buried. And he had no idea of the real purpose of the project.
One thing that stills bugs me is the explanation of why the silos were built. Actually, we get to know that Mr. Thurman is probably the creator of the idea of the project: in order to combat a powerful threat (something about a nano-weapon that contaminates the air and kills humans) the solution was to blow everything up (throwing bombs) and house the remaining humans into the silos. That was something that pushed me to continue reading chapter after chapter, because I really wanted to know the real purpose of the silos and, above all, what exactly happened outside! Is the air contaminated? Is there still green grass? What happened to the other humans? Are there humans left? What happened in other countries? Many, many questions…
One thing I enjoyed in this book was the delicious short chapters. It may be a characteristic of Hugh Howey, as I could experience in the first book. I think the short chapters helped me devour this book, because when the third part begins (Third Shift – Pact) the pace of the story is slowed down, and Donald gets even more depressing. I can say that my favorite character plot was that of Jimmy (aka Solo). It was depressing too, because, well, the guy is left alone locked inside the server room, while their parents got killed and he stays inside to wait for things to get better. But I think that as the character grows and develops we understand his misery and loneliness and, in consequence, feel for him.
By the end of the book I got slightly annoyed with some decisions Donald made, [like murdering Anna and Thurman without getting more information from them. But I think I can imagine that Donald was already completely out of his mind after all the things he went through. After all, the guy was woken up from the deep freeze at least three times and with scrambled identities.
The last chapter annoyed me even more with the introduction of Juliette (the engineer from Wool) making the connection with Wool, and then the abrupt ending, just like that. At the same time that I was excited for the story to go on I was a little tired of knowing what happened with Solo up until that point.
One thing that fascinates me in the Silo world is that humans beings started living in a confined space, with rigid rules, methodical chores, social stratification and they could be happy living there, without questioning much. Of course, there were ways of manipulating and controlling them, like the chemical or equivalent that was put into the water they drank. What terrifies me is that at the same time that it seems a highly improbable reality it could be true.
The minute I finished reading “Shift” I started reading the third book in the series (Dust) because, well, I am an extremely curious person!