“Shift” by Hugh Howey (2012)
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may recall that I was downloading the 3 books that make up “Shift” to my Kindle while I was writing the entry for Book 8 – Wool. Let me say straight up that this is the best middle book of a trilogy I’ve ever read. “Wool”, of course, was 5 novellas in an Omnibus. I downloaded “Shift” as three separate books, Shift One, Shift Two and Shift Three. You can buy it as an actual book (published last month), and if you do it is all three books in one. So, there’s a part of me that wishes I could count all this reading as eight books instead of two. That way I’d definitely be beating my brother this year! However, in terms of publication – this is the second book in the trilogy.
“Wool” established the story of a post-apocalyptic society existing in an inverse Silo. One that had been built within the earth, down 120 levels. In “Shift” we are taken back to the beginning – to understand why the silos (yes, there’s more than one, sorry for the tiny spoiler) were built in the first place, and what happened to the barren wasteland that used to be Earth. We meet the masterminds, and their accomplices, both willing and unwitting, in the beginning of the end, or the end that led to the silo’s beginning.
In a post last year about a second book in a trilogy, I quoted a friend, Kate, when she described a second book in a trilogy as ‘the holding pattern book’. “Shift” is definitely no holding pattern. It has answered all the questions I was left with at the end of “Wool” and also stands alone successfully as a parallel narrative of the experiences of two very different men.
I thoroughly recommend both “Wool” and “Shift” and I await eagerly the publication of the final collection, “Dust”, due out later this year.