Book Review: Shift by Hugh Howey

By Tanner M
Book 2 in the Wool Trilogy

     This will be a review of the amazing book called Shift by Hugh Howey, a great author whom I love! He is known to be a very good author because of how descriptive and detailed he is. He makes the scenes so clear and easy to create a vivid picture in my mind. I highly recommend this book if not for the author alone. He is truly stupendous. Shift is a continuation of the series Wool. Considering it was his first book ever, I was very impressed. He managed to create the book while on a full time job and only worked on it during his lunch breaks, which I found surprising.

     He was offered seven figures for a print and e-book deal by publishers, but he turned them down. Howe was determined to retain e-book rights. His e-book sales were bringing in more than $100,000 a month since August 2, 2012. Which was why he was able to quit his day job to work full time as a writer. He was able to do that even though his book only cost $ 0.99, which is very cheap for online books. He was not expecting the book to succeed so well himself. He sold 1,000 copies in October 2011 alone. Three months later, he had published four additional “Wool” stories and was selling thousands of e-books a month on Amazon. “It was just an incredible trajectory,” he says.

     I loved that Howey puts in so many mysteries. The book is a thriller because there is always a dilemma that seems so important, and it must be figured out by a certain time, or else something bad might happen. However, whenever conflicts are resolved there are only bigger questions which seem like they are going have a huge effect. These days, self-published authors such as Bella Andre and CJ Lyons regularly appear on New York Times bestseller lists. Self-published titles made up 25 percent of the top-selling books on Amazon last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The book became a huge hit very fast.

     These could be foreseen, although he gives hints that all clues needed to be put together so you can predict the outcome in advance. He is good at giving us the pieces, but he makes it look like they are not connected at first glance, which makes it hard to tell if it is important or not. The series makes you think. I can not get it off my mind! His books always keep me on edge. I could not resist Shift, and every time I saw it I would pick it up to read some more. I took it everywhere with me: to school, the car, the bus, everywhere. His book even got his name to the Amazon bestseller lists in several different categories. Shift spent two weeks on The New York Times e-book fiction bestseller list and received the Kindle Book Review’s 2012 Best Indie Book Award in the sci-fi/fantasy category, which is a very large deal for a self-publisher to get.

     Some may say that the book is bad because it was made by an unskilled self writer, but that is simply not true. He was offered a seven digit payment for that book. He now has more than 4,700 Amazon reviews with an average rating of 4.7 out of five stars. Even BBC noticed him and made him an offer. He ended up selling the screen rights of the book to 20th Century Fox. From the beginning, reviewers have raved. “The characters are well drawn,” The Washington Post wrote, “with a rousing protagonist and antagonist, and the plot races forward without resorting to melodrama.”

     Lastly, I also admire Hugh Howey for his modesty. “I believe that the Wool series gets far more attention than it deserves,” he said. “I read much better books all the time”.


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