Dust: Immaculate plotting

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsDust by Hugh HoweyDust by Hugh Howey

I know I’ve retired from reviewing, but since I reviewed the first two volumes in the WOOL trilogy (the WOOL and SHIFT books) and there isn’t a review for this third one, I thought I would do a little guest review here for my friends at FanLit because nothing sucks more than the first two books in a trilogy being great and then the third one going right off the rails and exploding in a burst of unresolved plot lines and out of character behavior.

Let me just say, that fate has been avoided here. Dust by Hugh Howey is a sizeable story, taking its time to bring together all the different plot lines and hints it’s spent the first two volumes laying out and weaving them together into a satisfying conclusion. All the little things that have been scratching at the back of your head since the first book — why are the levels so far apart? — get answered. I honestly can’t remember a book that wrapped up all the questions as thoroughly as this one did. This is an example of some immaculate plotting.

Howey uses straightforward prose. This is a book of ideas rather than language, and the ideas he’s been exploring throughout the series come home to roost. The ideas are important, but he doesn’t let the ideas outweigh the characters either. The characters don’t adhere to some abstract ideology. They are emotional and conflicted and change their minds and do stupid things and great things, and sometimes stupid and great are the same, and it makes them human. He’s not afraid to kill off characters, but he’s more towards the Rowling end of the spectrum than Martin.

I don’t want to go into too much plot detail to avoid spoiling the earlier books. Just feel comfortable in knowing that you aren’t going to be chucking this book out the window with a howl of frustration when you get to the end. My only criticism is that in wrapping up all the different plot lines, and with several different point of view characters, the momentum falters a bit towards the middle of the book. Juliette and Solo have definite voices, but I felt like Donald and Charlotte blended a bit and weren’t as distinctive as I had wished, especially when they were working together.

I hope you finish out the WOOL series if you have started it, and if you haven’t, I encourage you to pick it up, safe in the knowledge that it is completed and quality work throughout.

Wool (Silo) — (Began in 2011-2013) This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

FOLLOW:  Facebooktwitterrsstumblr  SHARE:  Facebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmail
If you plan to buy this book, you can support FanLit by clicking on the book cover above and buying it (and anything else) at Amazon. It costs you nothing extra, but Amazon pays us a small referral fee. Click any book cover or this link. We use this income to keep the site running. It pays for website hosting, postage for giveaways, and bookmarks and t-shirts. Thank you!

RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

View all posts by


  1. I haven’t read SHIFT, but maybe now I’ll pick up both of them.

  2. Thanks for this review, it finalized my decision to start reading Dust. I had forgotten how much I enjoy Howey’s writing. It’s to the point, but he manages to make you identify with the characters through small nuances and periodic glimpses of their private thoughts.
    I’m doing the Whispersync for Voice thing – both reading and listening to the book. Tim Gerard Reynolds is the narrator. While I didn’t care for his performance in “Red Rising” by Pierce Brown, I think he fits perfectly for the Silo series. He seems to have taken some of his accent out for the Silo books.

Review this book and/or Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published.