Not quite so amazing as Wool.
And yet, even though I wasn’t as blown away by Dust as I had hoped, I’m still quite in awe of Hugh Howey. Two years ago, he was just a guy who self-published a short story on Amazon. And these days, most people I know have at least heard of him, even if they haven’t read any of his books. He’s got a movie deal. He made a huge pile of money for Dust. So, good on you, Hugh. You deserve it.
I don’t want to get into details or spoilers, but I can easily say that Dust gives answers to almost all of the questions raised in the previous books. We find out a lot of “whys” and “hows” about life underground in Georgia. The action neatly jumps between Silos 17 & 18 (Juliette’s and Solo’s homes), as well as Silo 1, where Donald and Charlotte are still trying to piece the past several hundred years together.
And, I’ll admit, I was a bit bored for the first half of the book.
Something happens, and I couldn’t put it down after that. I stayed up until the wee hours of the night (which I never do anymore), because I needed to know. I needed to know about the plan that Thurman and his cohorts dreamed up for the residents of the silos. Why are the silos ranked? How is the population control lottery arranged? What happens when a silo slips beyond the control of the men on shift in Silo 1? And what does WOOL mean, anyway?
Character wise, I was glad to have a lot of Juliette back in this book — I missed her in Shift. And was also glad to see Solo’s character really have a chance to grow into a strong presence, into a real father figure for the kids left alone in Silo 17. And it was exciting to read as Donald raced against the clock (as his health is clearly not going to improve while he hacks away into his bloody rags) to find out the truth, whereas I didn’t find Donald’s stuff too exciting in Shift. Will he and Charlotte ever find out if the blue sky they thought they saw was real? Will Donald’s true identity ever be revealed? Will Charlotte have to live in secrecy forever? Yikes. Way more exciting than whining about Helen and Anna and wondering about nanos.
All in all, I’m really glad I read the entire trilogy, which is something I haven’t had the pleasure of saying too frequently (I’m looking at you, Chemical Garden).