Book Review of “Wool” by Hugh Howey


See that cover in the right half of the picture? That’s why I read Wool. In the store the cover just grabbed my attention. It was different, like the story.

Dystopia: a society characterized by human misery as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding. (

It would be easy to dismiss Wool as another futuristic, sci-fi, dystopian society novel, of which there are far too many. Wool however is more than that. I also just realized that I’ve italicized Wool four times now. I may have to stop mentioning the name. All this italicizing is very labor intensive.

Where was I? Oh, that’s right, Wool is different. First off the hero of the story is a heroine. This is the first time that I’ve read a novel where the main character is a woman. Guess what? It didn’t matter. It was a good story about not just one person, but an entire society overcoming oppression and control. It is a story of the triumph of the human spirit in search of the truth.

In this future our atmosphere has become so toxic that the human race is forced to live in silos that are mostly underground. It is a vertical world where the residents must climb stairs, sometimes for days, to get from one place to another. As restrictive as their vertical world is, the rules by which they must live their lives are far more strict and steeped in mystery.

Just a few years ago Hugh Howey was an indie author like myself, publishing his own stories in hopes of getting noticed. I think that the silo with it’s rigid rules could perhaps be a metaphor for the old publishing industry. The heroine, Jules, representative of what indie authors face as they attempt to climb that ladder to a place in their desired profession where others see them and know their work. Hugh Howey climbed that ladder spectacularly to the top, going from indie author writing great self-published stories to bestselling author in both print and e-books format,  giving hope to all indie authors that if they continue to work hard, to overcome adversity and a rigid out of date system, they too can climb the ladder and survive to see the light like Jules did in Wool. 

Spoiler alert: I was pretty happy with the end. This is a long book, but it has a great payoff at the end for you. You can also read the interesting interview I did with Hugh for #ThePhilFactor back in July here.  You can find more about Hugh Howey and his writing at As always, if you enjoy The Phil Factor feel free to share on Facebook and retweet or reblog. I hope you’re having a great holiday season.

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