This is my first experience with Mr. Howey's work read via recommendation from a trusted friend.
I'm not, per se, a great fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, although Wind-Up Girl was fantastic. So I approached this story with a hint of trepidation.
In short, it was excellent.
The setting is extremely well-drawn, details fed to the reader carefully and meaningfully over time.
The story is complex and involves different points of view, micro and macro influences, short and long-term histories.
The cast is vast, varied, deep and fully-developed.
And I guarantee you don't know what's going to happen next.
I will say that reading this as five separate stories would be deeply frustrating, as the so-called endings of each section are not so much cliff-hanger as cliff, not to mention they are way too short individually to be satisfying. The way this needs to be read is right here, as one great novel.