The Shell Collector

  • by Hugh Howey
  • Narrated by Samara Naeymi
  • 8 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The ocean is dying. The sea is growing warmer and is gradually rising. Seashells have become so rare that collecting them is now a national obsession. Flawless specimens sell like priceless works of art. Families hunt the tideline in the dark of night with flashlights. Crowds gather on beaches at the lowest of tides, hoping to get lucky.
Supreme among these collectors is Ness Wilde, CEO of Ocean Oil. Ness owns many of the best beaches, and he keeps them to himself. It's his fault the world turned out this way. And I aim to destroy him.
My name is Maya Walsh. You might be familiar with my shelling column in the Times. I was working on a series of pieces about Mr. Wilde, when out of the blue, he called. He says he wants to talk. But I don't think he's going to like what I have to say.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Why Howey, why?!!!

I don't like to give a bad review! I only want to give good review! But I'm on a bad string of listens and I have to vent. Or at least prevent someone else from wasting a credit.

I am a big fan of Hugh Howey but this doesn't feel like Howey at all. This is more of a romance novel than science fiction. I kept waiting for interesting things to happen but alas, I was left with that icky feeling you feel when you suspect a cheesy love scene is about to happen and you really don't want to fast forward because you feel like you are cheating yourself and disrespecting the story but you have no choice... its just too cheesy to bare.

The funny thing is, I had just tried listening to 50 Shades of Grey on a lark, but could only get 10 or 15 minutes in, and then immediately after I started Shell Collector and eerily found some parallels between the two stories. Both stories begin with a sassy lady giving an interview to a rich and famous playboy, with said sassy lady trying very hard to dislike the playboy but eventually being won over and seduced. It was a surreal experience to listen to these stories back to back. I kept thinking, wait a minute, this is Hugh Howey, right?!

OK, back to being serious. In the future the world's oceans are extremely polluted and sea life has been destroyed. Therefore sea shells are very rare and a culture of shell collectors has sprung up, grown, and become part of mainstream society. Our leading lady is a reporter with an attachment to shells that goes back to her childhood days of collecting with her mom and dad. The leading man is a billionaire in the oil business whose family contributed to the very pollution that destroyed the oceans and consequently created the shell economy. He also happens to be the most famous shell collector in the world. More than anything else the story is about the intersection of these two characters. There was only one love scene, which I had to skip.

I already feel guilty for dissing Howey. I still love you. Please keep writing stories like Wool and Halfway Home.





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- Michale

A Load of Codswallop

And hand-wringing, bosom-beating romance with an ending predictable withing the first few minutes of listening. The narrator was fine but could have toned down the angst with a flatter reading of our heroine's endless tormented monologues. I care about the environment, but Howey's approach has the pessimistic and defeatist tone of 1950's British science fiction.

I guessed the ending within the first half-hour of listening and even particular upcoming lines of dialog were utterly predictable.

I found that even the pleasant romance could not save a very silly story.
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- Js

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-27-2015
  • Publisher: Broad Reach Publishing