Sand by Hugh Howey
One of the Best Sci-Fi books you’ll read this year.
THE OLD WORLD is buried. A new one has been forged atop the shifting dunes. Here in this land of howling wind and infernal sand, four siblings find themselves scattered and lost. Their father was a sand diver, one of the elite few who could travel deep beneath the desert floor and bring up the relics and scraps that keep their people alive. But their father is gone. And the world he left behind might be next.
Welcome to the world of Sand, the first new novel from New York Times bestselling author Hugh Howey since his publication of the Silo Saga. Unrelated to those works, which looked at a dystopian world under totalitarian rule, Sand is an exploration of lawlessness. Here is a land ignored. Here is a people left to fend for themselves. Adjust your ker and take a last, deep breath before you enter.
About Hugh Howey:
Hugh Howey is the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde Saga and the New York Times and USA Today bestselling WOOL series. The WOOL OMNIBUS won Kindle Book Review’s 2012 Indie Book of the Year Award — it has been as high as #1 in the Kindle store — and 17 countries have picked up the work for translation. Look for WOOL in hardback in 2013 from Random House UK and keep your fingers crossed that Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian will do something exciting with the film rights!
Hugh lives in Jupiter, FL with his wife Amber and their dog Bella. When he isn’t writing, he’s reading or taking a photograph.
What they are saying about Sand:
Sand has a very different feel to Wool. It’s a much grittier (sorry!) affair in many ways reversing the dynamic. We now have an open environment and a totally disorganised and essentially lawless society where characters fend for themselves, one dusty day at a time. It has a much more adult feel dealing with sexual themes and gory comeuppances and is littered with more swear words than a Tourettes convention but this fits perfectly with the world Howey has once again expertly built and while it may not be as intricate and detailed a world as that of the Silos it certainly feels much more grounded in reality for some reason. Not too much is explained about the technology, giving it an almost steampunk feel, we just know it looks cool and it works but we don’t really need to know how.
The beauty of Sand however is in the writing. There is a true emotion throughout as we see a disengaged family struggle to reunite only to risk being torn apart again by the forces working against them. The characters are subtly introduced and expertly enhanced at key points, not only building on their personalities and history but also keeping the plot flowing steadily. The vivid, contrasting imagery can shift from beauty to ugliness in an instant and back again seamlessly and there are some moments of – and I do not say this lightly- sheer brilliance in Howey’s prose and for all it’s rough and tumble, Sand has some well-placed and genuinely tender moments which at times can cleverly disarm the reader temporarily, leaving them totally unprepared for the next fiendish plot twist.
But fear not, this ain’t no sandy Seventh Heaven. Sand is a highly-charged, action-filled, thrill-a-minute, ass-kicking, jaw-breaking blockbuster and makes no apologies for it. The panic and claustrophobia of the dives is portrayed perfectly and the tension is retained every single time a character dives into the unforgiving sand even if just for a moment, knowing the slightest error of judgment means instant death. This savage world leaves no prisoners and Danger brashly loiters around every dune and street corner. It’s a world where it’s much easier to look away than help and sadly this is already starting to mirror today’s society, but as our characters prove, the most exceptional of circumstances can yield the most unexpected response from some people.
If there was ever any doubt about Hugh Howey’s longevity as a writer, Sand is proof that there can be none. Consistency is hard enough for a writer to achieve, constant and sustained improvement is another thing entirely.
Now I know early, but I think I’ve already found my Book of 2014.