Monday, December 17, 2012

Second Shift: Order Review

The next installment of Hugh Howey's Silo series (# 7) was probably my least favorite of the series. But again, I blame most of this on my recent literary lethargy. I just haven't really been connecting to anything recently (although wait until my next review - I'm eating my current book up!)

I've reviewed the books of this series before, starting with the first chapter called Wool, then chapters 2-5 and finally First Shift: Legacy, so you can go back and read my take on the rest of the novels if you wish to. The five Wool novellas were eventually gathered into one book called The Wool Omnibus, which is being published in both hardback and paperback copies this spring, although the digital versions are currently available. Turns out the Shift trilogy is also going to be bound together this spring into one novel. I sort of wished I had waited for that to come out. Even though each chapter is under $3, the Shift will would likely be around $6.

From First Shift, I remember the story of Donald, the democratic congressman, better than I do the story of Troy, whose first shift in Silo 1 forms the basis of part of that novel. Of course in the end of that book, it was revealed that Troy and Donald were the same person. I don't quite remember what happened at the end of Troy's storyline, but in Second Shift he is unexpectedly awoken earlier than he should have been by Senator Thurman. Apparently violence is brewing in Silo 18, which I actually didn't remember was the original silo from the Wool books (Holston, Juliette and Lucas' silo), although this is before their time. Thurman and one of his partners in the whole silo plan, Erskine, are concerned by some of the silos that went dark (aka out of touch by radio). Additionally, their third partner in crime, Victor, recently shot and killed himself.

With all of this chaos going on, Thurman decides to wake Troy/Donald back up because on Victor's desk was found a report that Donald had signed on his previous shift when dealing with a rebellion in Silo 12.

Donald is taken to a floor he had never been to before where he finds the only woman in the whole silo, Anna, awake. Anna is Thurman's daughter and Donald's old girlfriend who clearly still has designs on him and who possibly rigged events at the Democratic National Convention in the previous novel to make Donald's wife, Helen, end up in the wrong silo. Anna had been secretly awakened by her father because she is an expert on radio waves and might be able to find/disrupt waves coming from the silos that went dark.

Anyway, Donald ends up working with Anna to figure out what is happening with the silos. The key is that some people remember the past enough to pass down stories, which gets other people all fired up. It really just takes one person to fan the flames of rebellion. In the meantime, the audience gets more information about the decision making process behind why Thurman and friends destroyed the world but tried to restart society under ground in the silos. We find out what happened to Donald's wife, Helen (not really a surprise), and his sister, Charlotte. And the end is a cool twist that sets up Third Shift. Who is Thurman?! Well, you'll see.

The parallel story this time around is about a young man named Mission who lives in Silo 18, before Juliette's time. He is one of a group of young people who gets mixed up in a violent rebellion against the authorities of the silo. While I thought Donald's storyline was interesting, I was a bit bored by Mission's. Other characters were briefly mentioned but not given time to develop into full on people. I just didn't find Mission that compelling of a character and his storyline seemed more to give the other perspective on what Donald and Silo 1 were fighting against than anything else.

I'm still going to keep reading the Silo series and hopefully the next one will be a bit more interesting. Judging by Howey's website, he is done the 8th book... and hopefully will have better editors this time around. I definitely caught a "it's/its" error. That really makes me mad. I think I would be an awesome copy writer and a self-published author could really use one!    

Hugh Howey's website

Buy it at amazon and Barnes & Noble

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