Wool, by Hugh Howey
Okay, so I am jumping into praise for Wool now in much the same way I just realized Van Gogh was a damn good painter- yeah, I know, everyone seemed to have figured this out ahead of me. In my defense, I didn’t realize Wool had already taken the e-book world by storm, breaking new ground for self-published authors, and becoming one of the most popular e-book series. However, in reading it through, I could see that would be the direction Wool should take, so finding out that it was wildly popular is at least a validation of my opinion. So, this will be written for those readers who, like me, make our own way through the e-book universe and sometimes stumble on a wonderful read, even if everyone else got there ahead of us.
Wool is a wonderful novel of human struggle, spirit, despair, and hope. Trapped in a large concrete silo humanity has but one window into the world outside, and everything else is as gray and dark as the single staircase that spirals for hundreds of floors down the center of their concrete world. Hope and punishment is preserved in The Cleaning, a ceremony done by those condemned to die, a last act to serve the people of the silo and preserve their only view of the world outside. It’s Holston’s time to clean, as he struggles with the questions of the silo that his wife had whispered in his ear before she herself went to The Cleaning. Is the silo stained with so much blood that no amount of Wool will polish it clean?
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To Honor You Call Us, by H. Paul Honsinger Harvey G. Phillips
To Honor You Call Us was my introduction to military space fiction, and it has now become my standard by which all other military space novels are judged. It combines the feel of a traditional naval military novel, with a highly believable system of space combat. The feel of hunting and being hunted is very reminiscent of Das Boot and the Hunt for Red October, leaving the iron metallic taste of fear in your mouth. Honsinger and Phillips bring detailed knowledge of Naval customs and culture into space combat. Strong characters, skilled dialog, and suspenseful combat sequences make this a great story, and a fun read. What is better is the series strengthens in the second book, For Honor We Stand.
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The Beasts of the Walking City, by Del Law
I was rapidly enthralled with this book, and read it through twice in four days. It is a wonderfully fun adventure, with witty humor, unique characters, and a dynamic story telling that didn’t let up. Del Law creates such a unique world that describing it here would be like trying to depict a Dali painting of melting clocks and screaming faces─ the idea works as a whole, but seems crazy in pieces (or crazy as a whole, too, but it still works.) A small team of mages and thieves set out to steal an ancient pod ship in a city that fell from the sky, pitting themselves against the largest military fleet to fly the seas, all because Al Capone wants it and has contracted for them to steal it─ such a crazy plan seems like a good idea when compared with starvation or worse, which happen to be the team’s choices. Finding that their pod ship had already been stolen by rival thieves, and a fleet of mages were now after both groups, leads into a wild adventure where nothing goes right, worlds slowly collide, prophecies are fulfilled, and a race is brought back from the edge of extinction. Don’t forget to buy your fedora and “I love New York” stickers, every mage is wearing them, and it does no good to be out of style while fighting for the survival of your world.
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