[Read as an ebook from the public library]
I’m going to be honest – I skipped a bunch of pages in this one. My affection for Wool had started wearing off by this time and not even Juliette’s return could pull me back into the narrative enough to get me fully invested. I still like the overall world here, but there’s just so many holes after Shift. A lot of the menace of the outside world is gone, the rituals of IT are no longer strangely esoteric, and nanobots are being used at every turn to preempt questions before the reader even thinks to ask them. This is the first time the story just felt like,”Welp, time to end this, so…let’s figure out an ending.” A lot of it felt contrived in a way it hadn’t up to this point.
Basically by this point we’ve learned what happened to most of the other silos, and Silo 18 is now in open revolt. Donald is figuring out what’s been happening while he’s been asleep, and he wants to stop Silo 1’s management of the other silos. Just let them run themselves without any oversight and abandon Operation 50. Obviously Donald’s boss Thurman isn’t a fan of this idea, so now there’s clocks ticking in both locations.
The first third is pretty slow — it’s a setup to everything that’s going to happen in the back part, but it’s a lot of setup. This is where I found myself skipping a lot. There could have been some more scenes between Juliette and Lukas or something to further flesh out the characters, but it just all felt like run-up. And then the last half is explosions and loud noises and action set pieces, which, while certainly fast-paced, isn’t really what the books have been up to this point. It was a pretty big tonal shift. And just the whole plot device of NANOBOTS over everything…I know next to nothing about nanotechnology, but the whole premise seemed extremely thin and overly convenient. Maybe I’m wrong and this is exactly the way they’d behave, but I had a hard time believing a lot of it.
I’m glad I read the whole trilogy because I would have felt I was missing something otherwise, and now I feel like I have the whole story. The essential world was always well done and felt real, but this was definitely the weakest link in the chain. You’re not going to miss a whole lot if you skip this installment, but it wasn’t a waste of time either. Even if the nano stuff got tedious, it at least tied up most of the loose ends.