Wool 2: Proper Gauge - Hugh Howey WOOL 2 is a solid follow up to Wool. In this story, we get more intimate with the inner politics and economy of the silo, and those who play the game.

Following the events in Wool, the Mayor and her Deputy find themselves without a sheriff. Their chosen replacement resides in the Mechanics department, many floors below the Mayor's office (which is the closest to the surface). The Mayor and the Deputy decide to embark on a quasi journey deep down into the earth on foot to meet the replacement face to face. An unusual decision considering that the candidate is stationed like fifty floors down and the Mayor is an older lady. Along the journey, we see glimpses of silo society, as well as get introduced to some antagonistic parties in the silo.

What struck me first about this story was the subtle, lyrical writing. Here is the first sentence of the book:

Her knitting needles rested in a leather pouch in pairs, two matching sticks of wood, side by side like the delicate bones of a wrist wrapped in dried and ancient flesh.

This opening was so perfect in setting the mood and was so evocative of the Mayor's character. The author does a great job fleshing out this aging Mayor and her hopes for the future of the silo.

The second thing I liked is the world building. Don't be fooled by the happy colors on the cover: living underground must really, really suck. It's like living in a windowless room all your life...breathing stale air 24/7, being warmed by generators despite the seasons, and never ever seeing sunlight. He doesn't make a point about describing each generator or every inch of the metal and concrete interior, but somehow, in his own subtle way, the author conveys the palpable claustrophobia and grayness of the silo.

The only criticism I had was that at times, the narrative moved a little too slowly. This is understandable since the narrative is largely introspective, but some scenes, especially the emotional tension between the Mayor and Deputy hovered between nostalgic and over sentimental.

But other than that, READ THIS BOOK and SUPPORT THE AUTHOR. Seriously. This little gem deserves more recognition, and at a little over 100 pages, this is well worth your time.

4 solid stars, and highly recommended!