Thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey Books for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: May 12th, 2020
Synopsis: The #1 bestselling author of World War Z takes on the Bigfoot legend with a tale that blurs the lines between human and beast—and asks what we are capable of in the face of the unimaginable.
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 legendary beasts behind it.
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, than 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.
I have to admit I’ve often wondered if there’s something behind Sasquatch sightings, and I’ve mused upon how incredible it would be if incontrovertible proof were discovered. And then I read a book like Devolution, by Max Brooks, and all my fascination and romanticism flies right out the window!
On the surface, Greenloop is the kind of “back to nature” community I could live in. Although it’s out in the wilderness, the homes are high-tech, groceries are delivered by drone, and electricity is powered through the sewer system. All the comforts my spoiled self couldn’t live without, but with the beauty, peace, and quiet of the great outdoors. When Mount Rainier erupts, while Greenloop isn’t in the immediate path of destruction, the volcano drives a previously unknown predator toward the unprepared residents of this tiny ecovillage, and as you can imagine, they’re ill-prepared to face this menace.
My one small complaint is that most of the characters are stereotypical and completely uninteresting. However, the story is really centered around three: Katie, her husband, and one neighbor whose traumatic war-torn background makes her more equipped to fight back against these large, hairy, malodorous, fanged, clawed, vicious, highly intelligent creatures. I enjoyed the way they developed through the story as the danger increased.
The first half of the book is a slow burn, but once the Sasquatch arrive, things get bloody and gruesome fairly quickly. Brooks is a detailed and descriptive writer, and that’s very much on display here. There’s a lot of action in the second half of the book, and the conclusion arrives very quickly. As the majority of the book is told by Katie through her “found” journal, you would think that her fate would be evident pretty much from the beginning, however, the epilogue leaves the reader with a few theories to choose from as to what ultimately becomes of her.
It’s been almost sixteen years since World War Z was published, and while Devolution features primordial cryptids rather than zombies, and is told on a much smaller scale than the previous book’s vast international scope, there are welcome similarities in its use of “found” journals, news reports, and interviews. Katie is definitely someone I could relate to and this kept me rooting for her even though I knew a happily-ever-after ending wasn’t in the cards for her. I think both fans of World War Z as well as readers who enjoy “nature run amok” horror, will enjoy this quick read. Now please excuse me while I go make my list of who I’d like to see star in the likely coming film adaption.