Oh, heeeeeyyyy, Wool, long time no read! You can stop giving me that pointed Look from the middle of my giant work-based TBR pile, now, although I will be sad to be sending you back to your home library, where it will be more difficult for me to foist you onto unsuspecting readers.
“The Stranded” (The Stranded?) is the final, novel-length installment of what we’re apparently calling book one of the Silo Series, because that’s not confusing at all. And it is chock-full of people and places and stories and craziness to rival those first four installments, don’t you worry. Let’s see what we can make of it.
So we ended the last story with our friends in the main silo headed off to war with themselves because of secrets and treachery, and this one picks up pretty shortly thereafter, with the war all but decided in favor of the secret-keepers. The Jerk Dude in Charge is training up an apprentice to join him in jerky in-charge-ness, but of course said apprentice, Lukas, is infatuated with our good friend Juliette, who is sitting pretty in a second silo plotting her revenge and having illicit phone conversations with Lukas while the boss is away. Meanwhile, the soon-to-be losers of the war have built a radio that is receiving all sorts of transmissions, and the isolation of their silo is clearly not going to last much longer.
This story was a pretty good conclusion to this… story… (criminy, Howey!), with lots of questions more or less answered and just enough questions raised or outstanding to set the stage for the next series. It was a bit overlong, with some scenes seeming repetitive and others not seeming to advance the plot much (though who knows with all the stories left to tell), but I wasn’t too sad about spending the extra time with Juliette and Lukas and even, to a certain extent, Bernard aka Jerk Dude. I felt like Howey did a good job of explaining just why Bernard was such a jerk and how jerk-ful-ness might actually be a useful skill in this very strange world and I even found myself a little annoyed with the naïveté of our ostensible heroes, which I think is good writing.
I am very intrigued to see where this story goes with the Shift series, though I am not in any rush to go out and get those stories; my brain is content to sit and think about this set for a while first.
Recommendation: Absolutely go read the first story, right now, go do that, and then read the rest of the series if you’re interested in a different, deeper, world-building experience.