zaterdag 20 september 2014

Hugh Howey: Shift


Shift is the second part in the Silo series.
This novel counts 565 pages and I ordered it from the Book Depository.
It really is NOTHING like The Hunger Games, no matter what the cover says.

It is strange to read the second novel in a series when it turns out to be set before the first novel.
The idea is magnificent. Why did they start building the silos? How did they manage it? How is it possible that everyone but Solo died in his silo? How did they keep all those secrets?

We get to know entirely new people and some old acquaintances in this novel. Time and space separate them but their timelines do collide. We learn a bit about the start of this Silo Project and how it was executed. We learn how the people in Silo 1 manage the whole operation. And we know how their lives are so very different from the people in the other silos. Instead of having children and then dying after a long life; the people in silo 1 go into a cryogenic sleep after every shift of 6 months (hence the title). The whole operation is managed with the same few thousand people over and over again.
Well, I’m sure you know after reading Wool that not everything goes as planned.

I definitely enjoyed this novel.
Howey set the start of this project not even 40 years in the future and by choosing to do so, the novel gives us a dark view of a possible future.
Thinking about the life in silo 1 gives me the creeps. They wake up from a cryogenic sleep every 50 years, work for 6 months while they continuously take pills to forget what is really going on and to forget their past. After their shift, they go back to sleep. It is a horrific way to live. And the way Howey describes it; we understand and feel just how robotic and empty these workers are.
The claustrophobic atmosphere jumps off the pages.  Even the lethargic state off the people in silo 1 can be felt in every chapter.
I loved the parts about Mission and life in his silo. Mission was a really thoroughly thought out character and I could feel the tension in the silo in every chapter.
This novel can be seen as a warning too. What if things go too far? What if we really can’t live together and war drives us even further apart? How will the human race survive if technology keeps on improving weaponry?
The whole novel is very confusing but I think Howey did that on purpose. I really needed the timelines inside the book to stay focused and understand everything.

What is it about Thurman? He’s completely nuts! How can he be believed by everyone?
Donald is an unsympathetic slug. We’re never shown that he really loves his wife even though he breaks down after finding out what happened to her. But he lived apart from her, kept secrets and was attracted to Anna.
I didn’t really understand him too. Why the decision on silo 40? He’s always wondering about everything but he takes no action to find any answers. He’s such a whining , lethargic and stupid man!
The chapters on Solo were too long. We already know what happened to him because we’ve read Wool. I really didn’t need the whole sappy story about him. I’m glad we know something about his life, but it didn’t have to be so long.
And I’m sorry Howey but you made a big mistake with your reason for not unfreezing the women.

Happy reading.