Wool (The Omnibus), by Hugh Howey
In Hugh Howey’s terrifying post-apocalyptic world, the Earth’s surface became too toxic to sustain life for even a few seconds, and its remaining citizens were driven underground. They live in The Silo, a metal structure extending over 100 flights of stairs belowground. Society has re-evolved down below, with a hierarchy denoted by the level where people live and work. Up near the surface lives the sheriff, the mechanics work down deep, with everyone from IT to the hydroponic farmers in between. They’ve abolished all historical records, and those who probe too much pay a fatal price: they are sent outside, to clean the few windows that are the only remaining connection to the surface.
Howey’s world-building is great and his characters are gritty and relatable. The main protagonist, Juliette, works as a lead mechanic. She’s pragmatic, blunt, stubborn, and generally grubby, and has no aspirations to political power. But her talents for buckling down, problem-solving, and perceiving underlying mechanisms send her on a revolutionary journey.
You should definitely read the Omnibus, which encompasses books #1-5, instead of acquiring them separately. Each book is quite short, they form a single plotline, and most of them pack a serious cliffhanger ending, so it’s more fulfilling to read them as one novel. A fast-paced, gripping collection!
The 213 in 2013 series chronicles every book I read in 2013. Each review contains exactly 213 words, because 2013 words is too long and 2013 characters is too dang short.