Stars: 5 out of 5.
This book has been languishing on my TBR list since 2013. Thanks to the Cleaning out your TBR list challenge, I finally decided to read it, and I don’t understand why I waited so long. This is excellent storytelling and excellent science fiction.
I loved how well thought out the world of Silo was. At no point in the story did I have to suspend my disbelief or cringe because the science didn’t add up. The author laid out the rules of his world and followed them rigorously throughout the story. And I love that. I am willing to suspend my disbelief when I pick up a book. Heck, that’s why I read science fiction and fantasy in the first place. But I need to believe in the world I am introduced to. I need to know the rules, and I need the author to follow those rules or have a good reason or explanation for breaking them. I’m glad Hugh Howey does all that and does it brilliantly.
I am also impressed with the large cast of characters introduced in these books. Some you love, some you love to hate, but none will leave you indifferent. Which hurts even more when the inevitable confrontation happens, and blood is spilled. I loved Juliette. She is a force of nature. No matter how dire her circumstances were, she never gave up, she always found a way to go forward. I was frustrated with Lucas, but I understood why he behaved like he did. He is not leader material. He had never wanted the responsibility, and the enormity of the secret IT was hiding pushed him almost to the breaking point. Solo really surprised me. He was mildly irritating when we first met him, but I guess he just really needed someone to take care of. It’s the solitude that drove him crazy. And of course, I loved to hate our main villain. And like all the best villains out there, he didn’t believe he was actually evil. In his mind, he was doing the good work to keep the silo safe and to burn out any signs of disease before it infected the whole silo. But by disease he meant any ideas that went against the doctrine he was taught.
The story is also very compelling and terrifying, to tell the true. The decision of one man to stop living with a lie and join his wife outside the silo has a snowball effect that creates an avalanche that almost destroys the whole silo and buries a lot of lives along the way. It also shows how small actions can quickly escalate to a point of non-return, and suddenly you are staring at the barrel of several guns wielded by people you used to eat dinner with in the same cafeteria, and now blood is spilling and people are dying. And you can’t even understand where things went so horribly wrong, and what you could have done to prevent it.
While the ending gives a good resolution to the story started in this book, it still leaves a lot of questions. Like who are the people in Silo 1 who seem to dictate the policy for all other silos. Will Juliette be able to connect Silo 18 and Silo 17 and rescue Solo and the kids? What happens in other silos? Will there be retaliation for Silo 18 insubordination and killing of the head of IT? I am definitely picking up the next book to find out the answers!