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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dust by Hugh Howey

Dust (Silo Saga) (Volume 3)

it is impossible to discuss this book without spoilers for Wool or Shift. Consider yourself warned!

If you like: taking chances * redemption * the unknown

Dust is the conclusion of the Silo Saga. (See my previous reviews for Wool and Shift.) In the conclusion of the series, the story is balanced between Silo 18, the focus of Wool, and Silo 1, the focus of Shift. Each silo has many secrets to hide from the other. Donald does the majority of his work in secret, because he will not be supported in his endeavors to change the world. In contrast, Juliette and Lukas are able to be open and honest with their silo about what they have learned. This is met with much skepticism, but their passion for their beliefs convinces enough others to believe for them to make progress in reaching Silo 17 and beyond.

Secrets and misdirection continue to play a pivotal role in the series. The masterminds of the silo creation designed the entire process around keeping these secrets. As each side begins to learn more about the other, many new questions are raised. Donald is faced with the elaborate mysteries of the end goal of the silo project, and each new facet reveals new horrors. The many lies surrounding him make it impossible for him to trust nearly anyone, and cause him to falter along the way. Fortunately, Donald trusts his sister, as she is essentially an outsider to the program, and his trust in her allows a connection to be forged that supersedes all the secrets and lies. The culture of secrecy and confusion in the silos makes it difficult for many to believe what Juliette tells them about the greater world beyond their silo door. The difficultly reconciling the knowledge that she went outside and came back with the long held belief that there is nothing outside their walls leads many to make rash decisions. In the end, the truth yields the ultimate power, and those who accept it, no matter how impossible it may seem, are the ones who will survive beyond the ruins that Thurman created.

In Dust, Howey fully explores the separate microcosms of society that exists in the many different sections of the silos. The shifts of Silo 1 are designed to prohibit the creation of culture or change. The constant cycle of cryogenic sleep and mindless shift work numbs each man to the point that it is difficult for him to forge any type of connection with another. The reality of their existence is too painful to deal with, and those who remember are permanently excluded from sharing their knowledge. The more interesting study occurs in the other silos. Without easy ways to come together, each section of the silo has its own culture, and often resents the others. These silos were filled with people from our modern era, however, and all of the cultural idiosyncrasies found in society and politics linger like a stain on the culture of the silos. There are those who would deny anything that doesn't fit neatly into their idea of what the world is like. There are also those who use zealotry to gain power and influence. They are especially dangerous, because their persuasion in the good times allows them to lead in times of disaster, when they are able to manipulate the scared into an angry mob in which people make choices they would rarely make on their own. The perilous nature of these factions and beliefs spells disaster for survival inside the silos. The inherent distrust among them prevents the individuals from coming together and planning out a sustainable future. Howey implores each reader to question how any society can survive when only immediate needs are taken care of, and the long term consequences are not considered. Dust is not rooted soley in dystopian realities. In the end, those who seek to be a function of the greater good, and use reason and logic to solve problems, instead of passion and fear, are able overcome the designs for the future and survive in a way they never dreamed possible.

If you would risk everything because you refuse to believe the lie, read Dust.

Howey, Hugh. Dust (Silo Saga). Broad Reach Publishing, 2013. Kindle Edition.

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