While I enjoyed Wool, this prequel left me cold for a number of reasons. First, there was the protagonist, Donald, whom everyone seems to value so highly but who never seems to do very much. One of Wool's strength's was that its mechanic thought like a mechanic, fixed things, and took action. Donald, as both architect and congressman, seems rarely to think like either, with his main action being going with the flow while wondering what is really going on.I suppose if you're big conspiracy buff, that can make for a compelling narrative, but I'm not and it didn't for me. Shift's main characters -- Donald, Thurman, Anna, Mick -- act more like a high school clique than a bunch of people in government.First Shift is set in 2049, but it feels more like 2000. The global villains are still Iran and North Korea. Anna crawls under Donald's desk to install a new computer. The computer technology of Howey's future seems to have calcified in some pre-touchscreen era, and remains unconvincing. Social media seems non-existent. By 2049, no one uses Twitter or any kind of replacement. A small segment of society undertakes what is a difficult experiment -- setting up self-sustaining silo habitats -- a real technical challenge. This would have been fascinating to read about. But instead the book is mostly structured as a repeat of Wool's conspiracy tropes. Those worked well in Wool, when this society has been running for centuries. But here, where the very engineers and support crews running the whole thing take daily amnesia drugs -- which somehow let them selectively forget their past, their acquaintances, but not their job skills -- well, it just left me smacking my forehead, especially when used to justify an impersonation. Because these people who think through all forward consequences would never foresee that being a problem with their amnesia pills, when a simple photo ID would solve the problem.Additionally, Donald continually gets awakened to solve rebellion problems in other silos but then does very little to solve them, instead spending his time moping around trying to uncover "the truth." And to this reader, at least, the rebellion narratives in the other silos merely repeated the much stronger realization of rebellion in Wool. So, to sum up, if you really love conspiracy narrative, such as the never-ending later season conspiracies of something like the X-files, and repeats of Wool-like rebellion sequences, you might like this. But if you want a convincing origin story for the silos, you may be sadly disappointed. I actually wish I hadn't read this one, as it also diminished my opinion of Wool by the end.