Shift – Hugh Howey

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From the jacket:

What would you do if you were forced to survive, when everyone you cared about was dead?

And the only place you could live was in a closed-off world buried deep below ground.

This is the start of the Silo.

This is Shift.


I was so so so very excited to read this book, and started it as soon as I finished Wool. In Shift, Howey tells us the story of what happened BEFORE Wool; before the Silo, before the end of the world as we knew it.

You guys.

I loved this book! I had super high expectations after finishing Wool, which I gushed over here. I was a little nervous going in, only because I felt like Wool was a great stand alone novel. I enjoyed the bejesus out of it, and I worried anything else written about it may take away from my experience. Shift didn’t completely blow me away and knock my socks off the way Wool did, but Howey did not disappoint. Far from it. This book was full of so many fantastic details about how the Silo came into being, and my nerdy brain exploded reading them all.

Because this is a review for book two in a series, there may be some spoilers if you haven’t already read Wool. Continue on at your own discretion!

The story opens in the year 2049, where life is carrying on in relative normalcy. In the first few pages we meet Donald, a congressman from Georgia who will become the unsuspecting creator of the silo. I loved Donald’s character, and found him extremely likable and relatable. This book shifts (pun intended) back and forth between Donald before the silo’s creation in the year 2049, Donald after the silo in the year 2110, Misson, who comes from a much earlier time in Juliett’s silo, and Solo!

That’s right, Solo is back, but this time we get his whole backstory! Solo’s character broke my heart every which way from Sunday, so it was fascinating to learn the events leading up to what ultimately shaped him into the adult we first meet in Wool. Oh, and just wait until you meet Shadow. Be prepared to feel all of the feels.


I was not as invested in Misson’s story as I was with the other arcs. I think this is partially because the characters from Wool were so compelling, and these just didn’t work as well for me. They didn’t make an impression until I was almost 3/4s of the way into the book, whereas the characters in Wool grabbed me from the first chapter.

I enjoyed the sections with Donald before the silo more than the rest. It was such a jarring juxtaposition between the dark and claustrophobic silo, and his bright, open office at the statehouse. Wool takes place entirely underground, and so does the majority of Shift. The small glimpses we get of the time spent planning and creating, leading up to the silo feels so nostalgic. I think this is a testament to Howey’s talent. As I was reading, I really did feel like I was living in this world he created.

I also really loved the sections of the story written from Donald’s perspective that jump ahead to the year 2110. It’s like getting to see the face of Oz. We glance behind the curtain and learn about the people in control of the silos.

Shift concludes very close to where Wool does, which made me even more excited to start Dust. I’m very interested to see how Howey will wrap up the series, and hope to get a chance to see life beyond the silos.

Final thoughts: I love Hugh Howey. I love his writing. I love this book. I finished it feeling equal parts sure that I would have been satisfied with Wool as a stand alone creation, and grateful for Shift because of the appreciation and insight I gained from the details. It made me enjoy Wool even more, which I truly did not think was possible. I recommend this book, and I think you should read it right away.

Rating: Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 12.24.27 AM

Favorite Characters: Donald, Solo, Charlotte, Shadow, Victor

Memorable Quotes:

Such dangerous lips. they would tell him anything, keep him confused, use him so that she might feel less hollow, less along. He had heard enough of her lies, her band of poison. To give her an ear was to give her a vein.

There were simply numbers on a computer screen counting so slowly one could scream. Numbers that looked the same day and night. It took careful counting to know a day had passed. The counting let him know he was alive. Every day like a school day, numbing with its foreverness, a feeling like he didn’t want to live anymore, but he got hungry and ate. He got sleepy and slept. And so a life was lived accidental. It was lived because he wasn’t brave enough to do anything else.

All changes, even those most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. – Anatole France (this is one of my most favorite quotes ever)


7 thoughts on “Shift – Hugh Howey

    • TheBookQueen says:

      Hey, thank you so much! I’m so excited to find someone else that has read these! I’m going to put a review up for Dust this weekend, including all of these unanswered questions that are plaguing me! I’d love to hear your thoughts on them.
      Red Rising is on my TBR along with the sequels! Thanks for the suggestion. I just may have to bump those up on my list. 🙂


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