book review: shift by hugh howey

This book was sent to me by Random House Australia. I have been asked to write a review and my review is truthful to my opinion of the book.


From the press release:

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.

A path that will lead to destruction.

A path that will take us below ground.

The history of the silo is about to be written.

Our future is about to begin.

I was captivated by Wool (and you can read my review of it here). At the time of reading it, I commented about how the ending of the book leaves the Wool universe open to more stories. What I didn’t realise was that a prequel was already in the works – Shift.

I was interested to read Shift because I wanted to learn about the beginning of the silos. As everyone who knows me will attest to, I ask a lot of questions because I like to know why. Why were they built? Who built them? How long had people been living in them? Were the heads and leaders in Silo One the same people that were there in the beginning? If so, how was this possible?

There are timelines in Shift that overlap with the events presented in Wool and show things from a different silo and different perspective. Shift, like Wool, is separated into different books (in this case three – First Shift, Second Shift, Third Shift) which were published separately first before being published together.

First Shift introduces us to Donald, a newly appointed congressman who is enlisted by Senator Thurman (who happens to be the father of his college girlfriend Anna) in a top secret project where he is required to use his architectural skills and keep the plans from his wife, Helen. Senator Thurman is all about the future and how the human race will survive. There is an increased risk of nuclear war and the country has many enemies. He wants to plan for what happens next and he wants Donald onboard. When the construction of the silos is complete and that day happens, Donald only just starts to realise the ramifications of what is happening, what he has helped to create.

Second Shift takes place 100 years later when Donald is woken from a cold-sleep. He finds himself in Silo One and cannot find his wife Helen. Donald is only woken because his expertise and help is needed to resolve conflict in other silos. He is unaware of the bigger picture and is desperate for answers but no one is able or willing to answer his questions. Donald is working with Anna to get to the bottom of an unresolved issue and what he discovers leaves him startled. We also flick over the Silo 18 where internal uprisings are occurring and Donald’s interactions with the heads there.

Third Shift explains the fall of Silo 17 and shows us the transformation of Jimmy to Solo, who (at first reluctantly) befriends Juliette in Wool. There is also a further attempt made by Donald to find answers and he is not playing nicely this time around.

When reading Wool, you have a strong dislike for the authority figures that Lukas and Juliette talk to in the head silo. You cannot help but blame them from the current state of humanity. They were, after all, the reason people were forced to live in silos and the reason people were sent for “cleaning”. But were they?

After reading Shift, my opinion of these people changed. With the exception of a few, none of the “higher ups” knew what they were signing up for. When they found out, some killed themselves or like Donald, some tried to escape and did everything to discover the truth.

Shift answers many of the questions that Wool left me with but also raised even more. Luckily, Howey will be releasing the final instalment in the Wool series, Dust which I really hope will be able to answer my lingering questions.

I would thoroughly recommend Shift. Naturally, I would suggest reading Wool first. Howey’s interpretation of this futuristic world and the impending downfall of mankind makes for gripping and fascinating reading.

Image supplied by Random House Australia



  1. Shelly McKewin · May 14, 2013

    I like the sound of these Mon! You have inspired me to add it to my fun reading list 🙂

    • moniquefischle · May 14, 2013

      Glad I have been able to inspire you 🙂 I can bring in my copy of WOOL for you to read if you’d like? At the moment I only have SHIFT as an ebook!

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