Wool Omnibus (Wool, #1-5) - Hugh Howey 5 stars - Holy shit, SO MANY 5 STARS.

As my GR friends know, it's rare that I squee over a book. Probably because I read mostly crap. It's cool. I can admit it.

Wool is not one of those crappy books. It's the best work I've seen from a new author in a long time, not to mention the best work I've read from a self-published author yet. Howey's books are now on my must-read list.

I don't want to give away too much about the plot because a majority of my reading enjoyment came from the way Howey unravels the mysteries of the silo. Basically, the outside world has become uninhabitable for humanity. Stepping outside equals a death sentence. The remaining scraps of people have lived for centuries in an underground silo, a stifling, insular place with strict rules and dangerous secrets. The silo's highest form of punishment is to send a person to cleaning, which means they send them outside. But that is ALL I will tell you because this book is worth NOT being spoiled.

I think it says a lot that I lived in a perpetual state of anxiety while reading out of fear that my favorite characters would die. Howey builds a colorful and meaningful cast of characters, male and female, old and young. The main character is Juliette, one of the most kick-ass heroines I've read in a long time. She is strong and capable and worthy of my adoration. She comes from the deepest part of the silo, where she works as a mechanic, and all of the politics in her world come to a boil when she's asked to take an important position up top.

Howey plays with several themes regarding class. The people down low are hard-working and feel like they're being overlooked by the people up top. The people up top may seem like they have more power, but they are just as paralyzed by their constant visual reminders of the cleanings. It's hard to find a real bad guy in Wool, and this even-handed view of a small, trapped society gives a striking glimpse into the way the silo's, and as an extension, our society works. The times when Howey plays on the themes of human decency, love, and mortality are some of the best in the story. At its core, Wool has a lot of heart, both from the author and the world he's created.

There's mystery, action, adventure, a bit of romance, and the best character of all time named Solo who I begged Howey not to kill in my status updates. If you're looking for a vivid new look on a post-apocalyptic world, give Wool a chance. This splendid discovery is Raptor Approved. :D