Ever since I finished the fantastic Wool a few years back I've had the other volumes on my TBR list. It was only when the other half of the two-person sci-fi reading group I'm in selected this that it became a priority though, and even then I'm about three months late getting to it. Part of it was the size, which suggested a commitment of time that I couldn't make until I took care of other reading requirements. Fortunately reading it proved quicker than I thought -- but only because I ended up skimming so much of it.
Hence the title of my post. I can't recall the last time I was so divided in my feelings towards a book. At the core of it is the backstory explaining how the Silos came to be. Overall, I was impressed by Hugh Howey's story, which explained nicely how so many people ended up in constructions that would take an enormous amount of preparation to realize. It also filled in the margins of Wool by providing prequels to the events in Silo 18 and one of the characters in Silo 17, though this felt like padding. And there we have the source of my conflicted feelings about the book.
Perhaps I'm ungrateful to complain about what amounted to unnecessary backstory, when the part of the book that I liked was really little more than unnecessary backstory itself. The difference, though, is that the backstory I liked introduced new characters and illuminated previously unexplored parts of the world of Wool. With the other half of the book, however, I already knew where I was going to end up. Had Howey's characterization been better I might have been more interested, but his strengths have always been with plot rather than character development. Fortunately once I figured this out I was able to skim through big chunks of it, which helped me to finish it a lot more quickly than I expected. So at least there's that.