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.
Review 5 of 5 Stars
So I waffled on this one between 4 and 5 stars, but had to end up giving it 5 stars since I’m pretty sure I’ll be reading it again at some point in the future. I was intrigued by the world that Hugh Howey created in this story. No pun intended, but Howey has created a gritty, stark story in a desolate landscape where humankind must struggle at every moment for survival. I hate it when people say it’s not as good as or not the same as what an author previously wrote. Unless it’s the same story, it’s difficult to compare apples to oranges. Hugh Howey is obviously interested in the human condition and how we relate to one another and I believe that Sand does a good job of exploring this. I like stories that are about the characters themselves and how they overcome their adversity more so than focusing primarily on the world they are surrounded by.
As this story starts right in the action (something I prefer), I was immediately drawn into the world created for this story full of adventure, exploration and survival against both the natural elements and the others inhabiting it. I loved Howey’s description of sand diving and his use of it as a story element. I could almost feel the sand pushing against my chest. However, I can easily tell you it would not be a profession for me. I felt a little claustrophobic just reading about it and feel it would take a special kind of person to be a sand diver. Sand divers search out usable items, trinkets and other relics of humankind’s lost past below the sands of their world, the truth of the lost world buried beneath the sand and years of legends. Each day is a struggle to hold the sands back so that life can continue in the shanty type towns that hold the remaining human population.
It was easy to follow along with the main character as he was a pretty likable adventurer. I very much enjoyed the story’s adventure. Howey does a great job selling his world and I swore at times I could taste the dust on my tongue. I’m not sure quite how I feel about the ending still. I took a few weeks to digest it, but I decided perhaps that would be an ongoing condition and I ought to go ahead and write the review anyway. There’s simply too much going on to give a lot of detail without getting into a spoiler situation. As readers of this blog know, I like to let you form your own opinions without giving too much away in the review.
I will say that I can easily recommend this book if you like a good yarn. If you are already a fan of Hugh Howey just go ahead and buy it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.