Review: Dust

Dust by Hugh Howey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent finish to the series! Howey's writing and structure has really progressed, and it shows here. The only disappointment I had with Shift was that there appeared to be too many pages dedicated to getting across a plot point. Dust is much tighter. The pacing and action are excellent.

That said, there are a number of elements that bother me. I've read them mentioned in other reviews, but I will voice my own here as well.

First, what happened to the rest of the world? In Shift we learn that getting folks into the silos was sparked by a false flag attack on Atlanta orchestrated by Thurman. What happens after is a complete mystery. We're left to assume that some sort of world war broke out, but how extensive was it? Was the earth wiped clean of people as Thurman hoped, or was it isolated to a region around Atlanta?

Next, the nanos themselves seem to have fluid rules. They are self-replicating, but somehow can't move beyond some unexplained barrier around the silos. They kill nearly instantly in high concentration, but the low concentrations outside can be balanced out with the "good" nanos. They don't stick to clothing at all, but if you are gassed on your way out as a cleaner they eat through immediately and kill you. They form a dome around the silos that the wind can't blow away and form a gray cloud in the sky...somehow. The nanos are tuned to human DNA, but also kill all of the wildlife and vegetation around the silos.

What about silo 40 and their kindred rebels? Donald bombed that area pretty extensively, but Anna and silo 40 appear to have infiltrated several silos. What happened there?

What about the other silos that were functioning as intended? With silo 1 gone are they all as good as dead? Permanently entombed? Immediately killed?

My wife kids me that being critical of this sort of stuff make a me a killjoy, that I should just suspend belief and enjoy the story. Fair enough, but it would still bug me if I didn't say it out loud (or write it).

If you've read the first two books, you definitely should read Dust. It is a great finish to the series. If you haven't read this series yet, start! I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone else who enjoys stories of the apocalypse.

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Jade Mason