31 October 2013

Shift by Hugh Howey

Shift by Hugh Howey
Silo #2
Release Date: April 25, 2013
Publisher: Century
Source: Publisher
Star Rating: 3
Rating: Enjoyable

In a future less than fifty years away, the world is still as we know it. Time continues to tick by. The truth is that it is ticking away. A powerful few know what lies ahead. They are preparing for it. They are trying to protect us. They are setting us on a path from which we can never return.

Shift was a bit of a disappointment for me. I really enjoyed Wool, and I was looking forward to finding out how everything began and how the silos first came about. Unfortunately, Shift fell flat in terms of excitement, action, and character development. It's quite a boring book for the most part, with little important events and a mystery scattered throughout. Wool was so much better, and I think I was expecting too much from this one.

I wasn't a fan of how the first part of this book, First Shift, was written. The first part alternates between a character who is living in Silo 1, Troy, and Donald, who is designing the silos decades before Troy begins his shift. The back and forth drove me crazy. I was just settling into one character's story, and then I was suddenly thrown into the other's, at seemingly random points of the story. There was little connection between the two timelines to make the transition easier, and I ended up dreading coming to the end of each chapter.

I said in my review of Wool that Hugh Howey writes great characters. Well, I wish that were the case for Shift. Donald, the main protagonist in this book, is so fucking boring. I think I was expecting too much from him, considering that I adored Juliette in Wool. My standards were sky-high. But I really didn't give a crap about Donald. I don't know why any of the other characters did either, because he didn't do anything to prove that he was a great, kind man. Instead, he had no idea what was going on most of the time, and seemed to just bury his head in his work. Yes, that's a great quality there. Well done. Maybe I have missed a crucial characteristic that everyone else has spotted.

Another thing I didn't like about this book was that there was no female main character. In fact, I can only recall three females that are even partially significant at all. The first being Donald's wife, who we see in about two scenes. Then there's Anna, who is only half-relevant, and she is a complete bitch. Thirdly, we have the Crow, who is interesting and could lead to a good discussion, but she was hardly there at all. After being spoilt with a fantastic female lead in Wool, I was left sorely disappointed by this one. Are we really supposed to believe that there are no women in charge in this future government? What even.

I did, however, really enjoy the character of Jimmy, who is a teenager when his story first begins. I enjoyed reading about his development, and how he lost his parents and everyone he held dear. That sounds kind of mean of me, but in the end it led to an intriguing character, who I had unknowingly been craving to read about since I finished Wool. 

We also got to see some of the goings on in Wool from other characters' points of view, which was great. We indirectly see the rebellion that Juliette leads, and its impact on people in the other silos. And then JULIETTE TURNS UP AT THE END TO TIE THINGS UP HELL YEAH. Ehem. That was the highlight of the book for me, because I love Juliette and she makes everything better. 

Overall, I enjoyed Shift. Just enjoyed it. Some parts were boring, but at least the way Howey alternates between characters (aside from the first part) gave me a reason to continue through the boring bits in the hope that an interesting character would get a point of view next. I loved Jimmy's parts, and I did enjoy getting to know the history of the silos. Even if it did sometimes read like a textbook. I'm very much looking forward to reading Dust, the final book in the trilogy, because Juliette will be back and everything is going to be fantastic. I hope.

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