November 15, 2013

Down Deep in Silo Country: a review of Hugh Howey's "Proper Gauge (Wool #2)"

Proper Gauge (Wool #2)
by Hugh Howey
Broad Reach Publishing (2011)
106 pages

I suppose most readers of Hugh Howey's Wool are devouring it in great big sittings. Me, I'm taking my time, reading one novella at a time. It has been a while since I read the first novella that kicked everything off, and I found myself curious to see where the story could possibly go from there. I mean, the protagonist died, for crying out loud. Well, Proper Gauge answers that question and raises a few more.

Told through the eyes of the aging mayor, a new sheriff is needed and the potential candidates are found to be lacking. There is one person who seems to be drawing favor from those with influence, but the mayor has her eyes set on someone else. Someone who might just tip the proverbial applecart if she's not careful.

The silo in which the survivors of whatever cataclysm took place generations ago, the first installment in the Wool saga didn't do a lot to reveal it beyond raising the spectre of a conspiracy hiding the truth about the silo and its origin. Proper Gauge sheds some light on that by way to revealing the political climate of the silo and the proverbial minefield the mayor must walk as she makes her descent into the "Down Deep" of the structure to recruit her would-be sheriff.

Characters come through clearer the more into the shadows they go, which adds a poetic bit of color to the story. The tension certainly comes to bear as well, as the power brokers in the silo seem poised to shake things up with the mayor getting on in years and the new sheriff being an unsavory choice to those living higher in the pecking order.

It looks like the third installment will feature the new sheriff trying to traverse his/her new job and get used to being responsible for the population in a brand new way that doesn't involve maintaining the monstrous machinery that keeps the silo alive. Definitely a gripping series thus far.
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