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Devolution by Max Brooks

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Devolution by Max Brooks
UK Publication Date: 16th June 2020
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★★]

This ARC was provided by Random House UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

One word review unsettling, 2 word review deeply unsettling…

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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, 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.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: Not living in America and not being fully up to speed with all the events that have happened there I found myself having to double check to find out what events in this book were real or not. Trust me when the central theme is a small human community attacked and killed by Bigfoot and family the fact I needed to double check events means that Brooks did an amazing job of making me believe or at least not to dismiss rumours of Bigfoot out of hand.

The real genius in the story lies in the build up and in the fact that from the start the reader knows the people we are reading about are going to die horribly and cut off from the world. Brooks uses quotes from real wildlife experiences and Bigfoot sightings to frame the events in this book. These include detailed looks into the behaviour of primates that have been witnessed by humans and the reports made by those who believe they have encountered a real life Bigfoot. He also mixes in reports from “credible” sources such as the park rangers who discover the aftermath of the Bigfoot attack. This all adds to the feeling of “reality” that is present throughout the narrative.

The central story is told from the point of view of Kate, a woman keeping a diary of events in her life on the advice of her therapist. Kate’s narrative begins as a hopeful look at starting a new life and maybe fixing or leaving her broken marriage but as events progress you really get the sense of isolation, of claustrophobia and the total unpreparedness of the village for any disruption in modern day technology despite their desire to “live off the grid”. The attitude of the villagers to nature and protecting it also add to the sense of foreboding, I was screaming at the pages for God’s sake think about defending yourself! Wildlife isn’t all warm and fuzzy!

I loved the way the different sections of narrative wove together and told a cohesive story about an unbelievable attack in a totally believable and credible way. This was a story about human resourcefulness, of working together and of facing up to the fact that we may not be at the top of the food chain after all. I really cared about the characters even those I didn’t like and the foreboding atmosphere was so well built up it is still creeping me out now, while I sit in full daylight in my home miles away from any true wilderness.

Who would like this? I would recommend this to those who enjoy their horror to be atmospheric with a slow claustrophobic build up rather than blood and guts action from page one. This is the first book in years that has actually given me nightmares so if you do pick this up you have been warned!

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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