Shift

I am really happy that my roommate’s shelf is just filled with novels he picks up on a whim or else I never would have discovered the Silo series. I already reviewed Wool previously and this is the second novel in the series.

Instead of continuing the narrative of the first novel, Shift takes a radically different approach. It tells several stories, all about the past, and all of them taking place away from the silo of the first novel.

It’s bold, unexpected, and thankfully in this case, completely amazing.

By switching the perspective, we get a look at the bad guys. And like any great story-teller, Hugh Howey forces us to look past their evil-ness, built up so well in the first novel, and instead allows us to come around to their side. We understand them. We know why they built the silos. We know how. We know why they govern the other silos like they do. And now we know the awful truth of what will happen when the air is finally safe outside. And we know that our heroes from the first novel have a friend in power.

My only gripe, and it’s not much of one at that, is the story of Jimmy. You may remember him from the first novel, found after 30 years living mostly by himself in an abandoned silo. And when I read about him, I thought that he was kind of a throw-away character. The main character begrudgingly worked with him but found him annoying. I thought that his backstory must be super interesting. Well it is. It’s also super depressing. I got exactly what I asked for, but I clearly didn’t know what the answer would be.

Darker, much darker, than the first novel. Shift does exactly what you’d expect that word to do. Our perspective is changed and our knowledge is that much deeper. Layered with human emotion, motivations, and maybe a little destiny, Shift is a fantastic second novel. Even better than the first.

4 out of 4 stars.

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