Wednesday, April 9, 2014
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you've probably read my other posts on Hugh Howey's Wool series. I linked to the Wikipedia page because Howey initially published his series in several novellas, which were eventually collected into longer novels. I figured checking out the Wikipedia page was easier than linking to all of my individual reviews, but if you'd like to read those, do a search of my posts for Hugh Howey or any of the titles found on the Wikipedia page. There's a little search box on the upper left hand side of the blog. I entered Hugh Howey and found all my previous posts... which is good because I can't exactly remember all the plotlines!
Third Shift, the previous installment, took the three prequels up to the present time as Donald, a former congressman who helped created the Silos, caught up with Juliet's timeline in Silo 18. Donald is dying, still suffering from the effects of his attempted suicide at the end of Second Shift, when he went outside Silo 1. He is also still pretending to be Senator Thurman, running Silo 1, helping his sister Charlotte discover what the world outside the boundaries of the silos is like and finally, coaching Lukas in Silo 18 to figure out the purpose of the silos. He's juggling quite a lot. All this time, there are nanobots in his body trying to kill him (I assume he picked those up outside Silo 1) and other nanobots inside that are trying to keep him alive (from before he went in the silos? I'm not sure). The nanos are fighting each other and using his body as a battlefield, slowly destroying him from the inside out.
In the meantime, Juliet, now mayor of Silo 18, is trying to force her people to dig through the walls to get to Silo 17, where Jimmy and the kids are still trying to survive. This takes time and leads to a lot of fear and anger on the part of the people in her silo. However, she is successful. And yet, her success leads to disaster as it was timed with the discovery that Donald isn't Senator Thurman, who actually survived being shot and was woken from his cyropod to take over his dastardly plan. Spoilers to follow: Thurman turns the gas on in Silo 18, killing most of the inhabitants, but a few hundred from the lower levels, including Silo, the kids and Juliet manage to get through the Silo 17 and the hole between the two silos is sealed off.
Meanwhile, the dying Donald is in jail and Charlotte is desperately trying to finish making a drone that is capable of seeing beyond the boundaries of the silo to find out if there is fertile land somewhere. Back in Silo 17, Juliet realizes that there are not enough resources for the survivors of 18, especially as people start fighting over the limited gardens and food that had been growing in them. She introduces a bold plan: to make suits that will allow the survivors to leave the silo and survive to get beyond the nuked air around the silos. Some survivors support her, others are simply not interested, but Juliet knows that if they stay, eventually resources for all silos will run out (I think the limit was 500 years) and only one will emerge as the "winner" to repopulate society.
Juliet and her gang make it out, as does Charlotte, who has her own suit. They get to an area of Georgia beyond the silos where they find another silo that is stocked with supplies. The idea was that the surviving silo would be able to use these resources while they rebuilt. The book ends with Juliet's group deciding to travel to the sea and see if there are other people in the world. I would have liked to see an epilogue from further down the line to see what would have happened to the characters, but I think it ended on a rather hopeful note. I'm glad Juliet and Charlotte survived to see the world beyond the silos. This book was far more interesting than the previous three and did a good job of tying everything together. Overall, a good ending to a solid series.
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