“Shift” (Silo #2) – Hugh Howey

Shift (Silo, #2)

The minute I finished ‘Wool’ (Silo Saga #1) I snatched up ‘Shift.’  ‘Wool’ left a huge cliffhanger and I had to know what happened next.  That is when I realized ‘Shift’ is the story of how the Silo came about.  It was the answer to what caused the people in the Silo to live underground and what catastrophe had destroyed the topside of the earth.  I was a bit disappointed but still very interested.  I finished a fourth of the book before I realized I was forcing myself to read it.  I simply wasn’t in the frame of mind.  I put it on my ‘to-be-continued’ shelf until I was ready to enjoy it instead of slog through it.

Browsing audible I found that Tim Gerard Reynolds narrated the book.  He’s a fantastic narrator, so I got this version at a considerably cheaper rate, due to whispersync, as I already had the kindle version.  I started listening to ‘Shift’ a little while ago.  I still had difficulty connecting to this book.  The writing is not to fault.  Howey did a wonderful job, and Tim Gerard Reynolds narrated it very well.

‘Shift’ is set in Washington D.C.  We follow Donald, a newly appointed Senator for Georgia.  He has a strong connection to powerful senior Senator Thurman, whom he grew up with.  We find out that Donald was gifted the election by Thurman.  Donald would not have won on his own and Thurman has his own agenda for him.  Donald, his fellow friend and junior Senator Mitch, and several other new Georgia appointees are tasked to work on Thurman’s secret legacy project. Very little information is given.  Each person only knows about their section of it.  Donald’s true task is not to represent Georgia, he still has to do that of course, but he is to utilize his architectural skills, taking a design he created in College, and adapt it to be built underground.  He is to develop the Silo.

‘Shift’ details the Silo project and switches in between two periods of time: the time the Silo Project was built, and the time after where Donald and Thurman are woken from a cryogenic freeze periodically to deal with problems arising in the Silo.

The story does not really have any redeeming characters.  You have two women in Donald’s life who are flat and one-dimensional.  Helen, his wife, who lives in Georgia.  You never learn much about her other than Donald loves her, she is jealous of Anna, she is a sounding board, and she takes care of their dog.  Anna, is a past girlfriend of Donald’s and is Thurman’s daughter.  They still have attraction to one another, and Donald constructs boundaries as Anna finds ways to tear them down.  She is the IT intelligence behind the Silo project.  We are supposed to feel for and like Donald, but I couldn’t help but be irritated at his naiveté.  He worked in Washington and grew up with Thurman as a child.  It was hard for me to believe he hadn’t developed some cynicism.  The revelations should not have been so hard for him to figure out.

There is value in this book, but you will not be getting your answers to the cliffhanger in ‘Wool.’  You will get a build up to it at the very end but expect that the cliffhanger from the first book won’t be answered till the third.   ‘Shift’  is interesting , you get answers to why the Silo’s were developed.  I would classify it more as political thriller than dystopian fiction. I am interested enough to move to the third, but I wasn’t nearly as excited or drawn into this book as ‘Wool.’

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About Steph

As C. S. Lewis said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” I am an indiscriminate reader. I can find a way to enjoy almost all books. I find they are like people – you can find something endearing in almost every one of them. I love to write reviews. I hope you enjoy them and find them useful. View all posts by Steph

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