Shift Omnibus, by Hugh Howey, is the second installment of the Silo series. Originally published online, Howey introduced the story in short story segments. When Howey decided to release the story in print form, the short stories were collected and published in three segments, starting with the Wool Omnibus.
The Shift Omnibus tells the story of the beginning of the silos. I would recommend reading this book shortly after reading the first book to help with continuity. Sometimes the time frame is confusing, especially in regard to how it fits in with the first book.
That being said, some of the confusion is deliberate. Howey does a great job of keeping you invested as a reader, despite not really knowing what’s going on. It’s not until you’re about halfway through this book that you get an explanation, and even then, you’re left wondering if what you’ve been told is really the truth. Howey doesn’t spoon feed you as the reader and assumes that you can make deductions and guesses as you go along. He lets you come up with your own theories based on the limited evidence he gives you before divulging the entire plot. It keeps you on your toes as a reader.
Despite its bulk, it’s a pretty quick read, and I think it’s one of the better dystopian post-apocalyptic books. The main characters aren’t all children or teenagers, and they act age appropriate.
There are definite political overtones, as the silos represent our world in miniature. It’s kind of a grim view of human nature. The book highlights how finite our resources are, how lack of communication can be deadly, and how power and knowledge limited to only a few can have unexpected consequences.
Language: Medium (the f-word is sprinkled in here and there but nothing gratuitous)
Sex: None (although it is alluded to)
Violence: Medium (people are dying, folks, this is a post-apocalyptic world)
You may also like: Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline; The Road, by Cormac McCarthy; Next, by Michael Crichton