by Max Brooks
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Pub Date 16 Jun 2020 | Archive Date 18 Oct 2022
Random House UK, Cornerstone, Century
FROM THE #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WORLD WAR Z
‘A visceral tale of survival horror’ FINANCIAL TIMES
As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier’s eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined . . . until now.
But the journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town’s bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing – and too earth-shattering in its implications – to be forgotten.
In these pages, Max Brooks brings Kate’s extraordinary account to light for the first time, faithfully reproducing her words alongside his own extensive investigations into the massacre and the beasts behind it, once thought legendary but now known to be terrifyingly real.
Kate’s is a tale of unexpected strength and resilience, of humanity’s defiance in the face of a terrible predator’s gaze, and inevitably, of savagery and death.
Yet it is also far more than that.
Because if what Kate Holland saw in those days is real, then we must accept the impossible. We must accept that the creature known as Bigfoot walks among us – and that it is a beast of terrible strength and ferocity.
Part survival narrative, part bloody horror tale, part scientific journey into the boundaries between truth and fiction, this is a Bigfoot story as only Max Brooks could chronicle it – and like none you’ve ever read before.
‘A masterful blend of laugh-out-loud social satire and stuff-your-fist-in-your-mouth horror. One elevates the other, making the book, and its message, all the more relevant.’ David Sedaris
'Drawing you in with likeable characters in a real-world situation, then smashing your trust to pieces like a giant ape crushing a skull with his bare hands. Devolution will make you think twice about booking that remote weekend getaway in the woods.’ Sci-Fi Now, 5* review
'Devolution is one of the greatest horror novels I’ve ever read. The characters soar, the ideas sing, and it’s all going to scare the living daylights out of you.' Blake Crouch, author of Dark Matter and Recursion
'Devolution is spell binding. It is a horror story about how anyone, especially those who think they are above it, can slowly devolve into primal, instinctual behaviour. I was gripped from the first page to the last!' Les Stroud, creator of Survivorman
'Another triumph from Max Brooks! First Zombies. Now Bigfoot. I can't wait until he turns every monster from childhood into an intelligent, entertaining page turner.' Stephen Chbosky, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Imaginary Friend and The Perks of Being a Wallflower
'Brooks packs his plot with action, information, and atmosphere, and captures both the foibles and the heroism of his characters. This slow-burning page-turner will appeal to Brooks’ devoted fans and speculative fiction readers who enjoy tales of monsters.’ Publishers Weekly
'Devolution is by Max Brooks, who wrote the stone cold classic that is World War Z, so I will follow him pretty much anywhere. Few things are pleasanter to read when cosy in bed than utterly dreadful dystopian things happening to somebody else.' Jenny Colgan
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 70 members
Devolution by Max Brooks is so. much. fun.
Brooks' World War Z is one of my favourite books of all time. I've re-read it again and again (and in fact just listened to the audio for the first time this month), so when I saw that he'd written a new book in a similar style but chronicling a Bigfoot encounter, I was already excited.
The format and style weren't as close to World War Z as I was expecting, but that wasn't to the book's detriment. The former is told as a series of interviews with a wide array of participants, chronicling the stages of a zombie apocalypse. The latter is primarily told through the journal entries of Kate Holland, who has recently removed to a remote eco-village near an active volcano. It's supplemented by interviews and extracts from radio shows and books, but only in a minor way - I would have liked more of this, particularly the snippets that fleshed out the village's other inhabitants - but the journal itself is plenty enjoyable.
The bulk of the story takes place after the volcano erupts and the village comes under attack by creatures from the Bigfoot/Yeti mold. The societal shift and character development that ensued made for a great read, and the ever-present-threat kept things tense. If anything, I wish we'd spent a little more time in the village getting to know the secondary characters beforehand, partly to make the shift more pronounced, and partly because they were just a fun bunch to spend time with (one of the minor characters is described as George R.R. Martin but wearing a beret, and honestly, what a vivid image).
I'd also have liked to have seen more of the wider impact of the eruption - references are made via interviews and radio snippets of food shortages in Seattle, sniper attacks on the I-5, and the army being called in to restore order. The hints at world-building are tantalizing, but ultimately I did enjoy that this was a more enclosed, smaller-scale stand-off. Certain sections in the final third would definitely lend well to cinematic adaptation (although really, after the travesty that was the WWZ movie, let's not go off on that tangent.)
Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed World War Z, and fans of the fantasy-horror genre.
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