Sand by Hugh Howey [Omnibus Edition ] (Audiobook Review)
First of all, look at that book cover! Isn’t it gorgeous? OK, the omnibus edition of Sand by Hugh Howey is one of those audiobooks that made me think “Wow, this is really special!” after reading them. I don’t know if it’s the unique post appocaliptic setting, the beautiful, loneliness-inducing prose, the tough and likable characters or something other that’s intangible. I’m pretty sure Hugh Howey is some sort of wizard or at least is utilizing some sort of subconscious triggers that make me like his audiobook so much.
One of the things I enjoyed the most is the setting and the world that Howey has built. It’s obviously taking place in the USA but very far in the future when the very notion of it is long forgotten. Not only that, but the climate is so drastically different than now, it’s practically like living in a desert. Sand, dunes everywhere the eye can reach and the non-stop howl of the wind. The remnants of our civilization are buried under hundreds of meters of sand. To get to the tops of some of the tallest skyscrapers of an ancient city you have to go down more than 500 meters deep.
That’s where the sand divers come in. Restless and brave souls willing to risk their lives in order to get some loot from the old world, they dive in the sand with their special suits that make it flow around them like a liquid and a bottle of oxygen.
That’s how we get to meet two of the main characters – it’s supposed to be a regular job, a quick dive and some good coin to take home. However, Palmer and Hap are just two youngsters who have no idea in how much trouble they’re getting into and what it means for everybody they know and love.
Although some of the main characters are very young this isn’t a YA book. There’s lots of cursing and some adult themes which might not be suitable for very young readers. I found it’s not just there for the sake of it and helps shape the overall gritty and dramatic feel of the novel, so that’s nice.
However amazing an experience this audiobook was, there were some things I didn’t like. Mainly I mean the titles of the chapters. I felt like 80% of them included the word ‘God’. The Belt of the Buried Gods or A Rap Upon Heaven’s Gate, etc. I think that wasn’t necessary and didn’t add to the story but maybe it won’t bother other people as much.
The other thing that slightly bothered me is even more subjective. There’re so much questions that don’t get resolved. Who are these so called ‘lords’, who are these other people that live ‘in a city’, why are they changing the climate so much that people are born and die without seeing rain their whole lives? I need more information!
I guess this just makes you think harder and adds to the mysteriousness of the story but we see so little of this fascination world and that’s not going to be to everyone’s liking. I guess the good thing is Howey can revisit this universe and write a sequel. That would be very nice indeed but I also understand if it isn’t his intention to create a massive sci-fi saga out of it and just leaves it at that.
The narration performed by Karen Chilton is amazing. She had no trouble switching from male to female voices and had me completely immersed in the book. I love it when the narrator perfectly conveys a feeling, whether it’s loneliness, isolation, rage or something else. I guess she’s just a very good actress.
In conclusion, I’d urge you to get a copy of this audibook because for me it’s one of the most memorable titles for 2014 and I’m sure you’ll like it whether you’re a long time Howey fan or not.
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