Friday Face Off : ‘The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades’.



Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

Bright – ‘The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades’.

So, I’m finally making the rounds and catching up.  Started making some good progress with books and some of my backlist books and also doing some blog hopping to see what lovely posts I’ve missed.

This is another one of the themes I came up with to coincide with the sci fi event taking place during November so hope you’ve all come up with something good.  I’ve gone for a book that I read some time ago and enjoyed, Wood by Hugh Howey.  This is one of those books that I really didn’t know what to expect and I was very pleasantly surprised.  There were a lot of covers for this one so I’ve tried to concentrate on the ones that fit this week’s theme.  Take a look :

My favourite this week:

Well, I quite like the first one but I think my favourite this week is:


Do you have a favourite?

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.

Next week – Words only – “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  


20th November – Words only – “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

27th November – Modern sci fi

4th December –  Fae – or fairy??

11th December – Lake – the mysterious lake

18th December – Highly Stylised

25th December- Freebie – or day off.

Shift by Hugh Howey

Shift is one of my December reads that I’m just catching up to reviewing.  I enjoyed this book – very much actually, but not as much as Wool I have to admit.  It is a good book.  It’s intriguing and thought provoking but for me it suffers a terrible case of ‘excellent first book syndrome’. That being said I really do think you need to read this book.

Shift takes us back to a different time frame.  It has a number of different elements to the story but primarily it’s about answering the whys and wherefores about the silos that we were all gagging to know about after Wool.  The problem of course is that Wool built up an incredible amount of tension, I hadn’t anticipated where it was going and so the reveal was shocking and original.  Now, to go back to the beginning, when all has already been revealed – well, it’s difficult to match that impact, it’s a bit like watching the Star Wars movies – the later three. They’re prequels and they show you about Darth Vader’s beginnings but they don’t tell you anything new in terms of the story.  The fact is, you already know what’s what at this point and everything before is all very nice, but, well, it’s simply not as gripping, is it?  However, having given this some thought, I don’t think that Howie could have written this series the other way around, in a traditional linear fashion, I don’t think it would have had anywhere near the impact if he’d started with Shift and then released Wool.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

So, we go back in time.  We look at how the silos came to exist – and frankly, it’s a bit of a scary story.  We also have a story of Troy, the Chief Controller (sometimes) of Silo No.1.  Silo No.1 doesn’t operate like the others where families, lives out their lives with jobs, school, growing food, etc.  Silo 1 is the HQ.  The Big Brother.  It’s watching the other silos and it has the ability to pull the plug!  Be afraid people.  You may have survived up to now, but, well, don’t let that make you develop a sense of complacency – there is no ‘you made’ it badge, not yet anyway.

On top of this we meet up with Solo.  Actually, if you read Wool you’ve already met him but what you get to see now is a silo in panic and a young boy being hidden away by his parents.  Only his parents don’t return for him and he lives in his hidey hole, in complete isolation.  This does dovetail very nicely with Wool and I enjoyed reading about Solo and his trials and tribulations.  In reality I think it’s difficult to believe that he kept such a grip on normality, but, that being said, did he really keep a grip – just thinking of Wool here!

So, we have Troy who is a conundrum.  Part of the drugged type of workforce created by the new ‘all powerful forgetfulness wonderdrug’.  Except the drug isn’t working quite so effectively on Troy and he’s starting to remember things – remember things that probably should be best left forgotten.  This particular storyline is quite sombre to read.  All the people in the silo live a strange existence, being brought in and out of deep freeze as and when required to work their shift.  There are no women or families in Silo 1 (apparently to stop the men from fighting??)

Basically, there are three timeframes with the three storylines.  In the first, it’s totally scary to watch somebody who seems to be in control and trusted to be the caretaker of the future of humanity.  In the second, we watch a man breaking down as he starts to realise what he’s actually in control of and with the third scenario we get to see the actual effect on one of the innocent bystanders.  For me, this is the beauty of the novel – the differing levels.  It’s not just about jumping backwards and forwards in time but more a display of the effects on the survivors.

In terms of criticisms I personally think it would have been difficult to top the first book.  The Characterisation in Wool is just amazing and you can’t help loving the people and feeling for them with what they’re going through. You don’t really come to the same point with Shift – it’s literally quite difficult to care about some of these characters – and yet, that’s almost the beauty of the writing.  It’s like Howey is proving what he can do as an author.  In book one he sucked us in and made us love the majority of the people.  I mean I really cared about some of those characters and in a strange way was ever so slightly gutted that we weren’t returning to their storyline in the second book!   In this novel it’s difficult to really feel an affinity for any of the characters. You just don’t care about them in the same way, in fact they almost feel like part of the problem.  Apart from Solo – whilst you might not think he’s a wonderful character, it is interesting to learn his story and you obviously can’t help feeling sorry for him.

I think the most compelling part of this novel and its predecessor, is, could this really happen?  Are we really at the whim of a man who is so out of control?

Read these books – but read them in order!

I’m submitting this for one of my reads of Carl at Stainless Steel Dropping’s Sci Fi event.

Also I  received this book from NetGalley in return for a honest review.  This is my own opinion.

Wool by Hugh Howey

Wow.   I mean, really, WOW.  I just finished reading Wool by Hugh Howey and it was (and cover your eyes and ears now if you don’t like profanity) abso-fucking-lutely amazing.  Hell yes.  There.  I got it out of my system.  I don’t normally swear on here but it just had to be said.

Really.  I love this book.  I’m not going to go too much into the plot because frankly I didn’t have the first notion what to expect when I picked it up so I think that’s the way everyone should go into it and I can keep a secret as well as the next person.

Basically this is post-apocaylptic – and don’t go getting all ‘oh I don’t read those types of books’.  I’m serious I really want you to read this book – in fact I’m just going to have to insist.  It’s gripping.  It’s compelling.  You won’t be able to put it down.  It’s thought provoking.  The writing is excellent.  There’s tension.  There’s fear.  The characters are great – even the baddies are good baddies!  Just get a copy right now and read it.  I defy anyone not to be drawn in within a few pages.

The strange thing is that it’s not like I’ve never read things along a similar vein and yet it feels completely original.  It’s destined to be a classic for sure.

Basically we have people living in a silo under ground – a high storey building in reverse.  At the centre a spiral staircase with different levels as you descend.    Starting at the top – the penthouse if you will – live the top bods – the Mayor the sheriff and probably other such officials.  We go through the layers going down to medical, tech, farming and eventually mechanical (but don’t quote me on the ordering).  Each level is distinct in that the colours they wear reflect their trade  There are nurseries and schools and close knit communities amongst certain areas.  But there are secrets too and as we all know secrets have a way of revealing themselves.  Now don’t be thinking that this is boring just because I’ve given you a bit of description there.  I’m just trying to give some information without actually giving any information!  I mean, there’s not like some sort of epic battle or something and yet there’s such a lot going on.  No info dumps and yet you feel like you completely know this world that Howey has created.  You are living and breathing with these characters.  You really like some of them and you really dislike others.

The outside is a hostile environment.  The sky is grey, the landscape colourless, the air unbreathable.  Occasionally at night as the clouds swirl and race across the sky a glimpse of a star can be seen.  But there is no life outside.  Nothing beyond the silo.  Just the remains of a past civilisation standing eerily on the horizon.  Or is there more?   Is there something out beyond the confines?  It’s difficult to say and it’s certainly deadly to try and find out.

The only way for the inhabitants to see outside are through cameras placed above ground – cameras that have to be cleaned – and there aren’t really many volunteers to undertake the task as it’s pretty much a one way ticket to becoming a permanent blot on the landscape.

This is such a difficult book to write a review for because I really loved it but I don’t want to spoil it for you.

It’s all about truth and untruth.  What do you tell people.  How much can they handle.  Are you protecting them or keeping them in the dark.  It’s a fine balance and one that when uncovered causes great anger.

So we have a tightrope being walked here.  Survival is the main aim and as the book cover states ‘if the lies don’t kill you the truth will’.

I can only say, again, and I realise I’m being boring now – this book is awesome.  I loved it and I want everyone to read it and tell me what you think.  Please.  And, if you don’t like it tell me why so that I can argue discuss the pros and cons with you all night.  You know you want to.

I don’t have any criticisms.  Yes, I had a few queries but they’re not even making the page.

Go away and get this book now.

Stop looking at this and get out of here!