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Devolution

Devolution

A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre

Book - 2020
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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. 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.
Publisher: New York :, Del Rey and imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin House LLC,, [2020]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9781984826787
1984826786
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 286 pages : map ; 25 cm

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Hopalong_Kid
May 14, 2021

Brooks is a good writer who does his research and the book gets pretty thrilling, but it is set-up on the premise of a fairly unrealistic scenario - plopping a LA neighborhood into the Cascades, add a disaster and some Sasquatch. Seems like a formula screenplay, much like some of Michael Crichton books. Getting past the California enclave in the middle of the mountains, it's still a pretty good book.

e
EljayJohnson
Apr 11, 2021

Really 1.5 stars but rounding up because I'm a kind and generous person.

I greatly enjoyed World War Z so when I learned that Brooks had written a SASQUATCH (!!) book, I didn't even reserve it at the library; I went out and bought that thing. In hardcover. And now I find myself left in a state of futile frustration that I engaged in such a poor waste of the paltry wages I'm paid by the venerable State of Minnesota.

So, back to the stars. 2 stars for 2 reasons: 1) I liked the ending. 2) Well, um, hello?? SASQUATCH (!!)

Here's what I picture happening between the author and his agent/editor upon delivery of the manuscript. "Hey, Max, my man! So psyched you wrote a SASQUATCH (!!) book, but dude, take this back and rewrite the whole damn thing." Apparently it didn't happen that way but it certainly should have.

First, the "found diary" concept was an utterly misbegotten choice and complete failure. I don't believe I'm straying into spoiler territory here when I note that this is not a book about a lovely picnic in the meadow, delightedly viewing the SASQUATCH (!!) gamboling from afar. After all, the word "massacre" is in the subtitle. So, a very basic problem: when the bloody mayhem starts are we ever in fear that our intrepid narrator is really in any danger? No, we are not. BECAUSE WE KNOW SHE SITS DOWN IN A LITTLE WHILE AND WRITES IN HER DIARY. And says something like "Whew! I'm pausing in the middle of the most horrific events and terror imaginable to pen some lines about my day." Talk about sticking a pin in the balloon of any tension.

Speaking of tension: so, this book starts off slow. Think molasses and sloths and the countdown until Trump left office. But I was fine with that at first. I like a kind of literary thriller/horror novel, i.e., the aforementioned World War Z, Zone One, The Terror, etc. Slow is the way to set up tension and develop characters. The problem with that here is that Mr. Brooks actually needed to then proceed to, you know, develop character. Nope, didn't happen. However, you will be pleased to know that we get pages - I mean, MANY, MANY pages - detailing in great detail many details about crafting homemade weapons and doing stuff on iPads. I kid you not. Also, I should mention that the action (?) is periodically interrupted by after-the-fact interviews with various people and one astonishingly inexplicable and unrelated flashback. I'm assuming all of that was to perfectly insure that no momentum is ever achieved.

Heartbreakingly, the end is good. But that only served to show what this book could have been, which felt very mean and cruel and personally punitive on the part of the author. There are people out there (me) who have a thing about SASQUATCH (!!) and yetis and the like, so thanks for torturing us (me) with this disappointment.

Can anyone recommend a good yeti book?

w
William207
Mar 29, 2021

WOW just WOW this book is awesome gets you right at the start and leaves you asking questions.

l
laphampeak
Feb 17, 2021

Brooks' story takes place after a Mt Rainier eruption where nearby exists an eco-community, brilliantly colored with its latest tech and green development. The author cleverly blends the journals of a member chronicling life and events leading up to and during the attack of Sasquachs with a park ranger's aftermath accounts of encroaching civilization and effects to increase animal attacks. Interspersed are well placed quotes from Darwin, Jane Goodall, and others. I like how Brooks throws in our civilization's anthropomorphizing animals and idealizing our interactions with them. I wasn't as keen on the massacre - a bloody, brain spilling combat. I found the story filled with little truisms if you read between the lines. Best Sasquatch type legend yet.

r
Reads_A_Lot
Jan 22, 2021

This is one of those “what the heck did I just read books.” But I liked it. This was my first time reading a book by this author and I thought it was an original idea that was creatively written like it was an actual event. Sprinkling actual research and quotes throughout the book made me almost believe it. It started a little slow as it introduced the characters of the Greenloop community and it took me a while to remember who was who. But it got good after the first Sasquatch sighting. Besides the horror/action aspect of the book as they face the Sasquatches, there’s also the human element of how the different characters dealt with the fear and duress. Who stepped up and who crumbled under the weight of adversity. Recommended for those who like this genre.

w
Wako
Dec 31, 2020

Solid, creative, but definitely felt more like a story for film than novel

c
Cheesetony
Dec 24, 2020

It's no World War Z. It was an interesting story, but I thought it suffered from Brooks trying to follow the same documentary style of his previous work. We were supposed to be reading the narrator's journal, and I never bought it. She sounded too much like a novelist. I did like the Michael Crichtoness of it. Brooks mixed in enough science to make the fantastic story plausible. Not bad.

s
Samuel98_0
Dec 07, 2020

I could not put this book down! So timely and just a great story. Highly recommend!

i
IntrovertReader
Nov 19, 2020

In the aftermath of Mt. Rainier’s eruption, a remote, high-tech mountain community is cut off from civilization. Months later, officials finally locate the neighborhood, only to find empty houses, evidence of non-volcanic destruction, and a journal detailing the group’s encounter with a troop of sasquatches.

I’ve read mixed reviews of this book but I personally enjoyed the heck out of it. I would catch myself relating the events from each chapter to my husband until I finally decided that he needs to read it for himself and stopped talking. Now I’m bursting at the seams with the need to discuss it with someone!

The beginning was not terribly promising. My family is very practical and I tend to be that way too. So listening to Judy Greer narrate Kate’s neurotic journals was getting a bit old, I’ll be honest. She over-analyzes everyone, including herself, and seems to look for reasons to have her feelings hurt. And this high-tech community where the most practical way to get groceries is via weekly drone deliveries and every house is a smart house, out in the middle of the woods? And all these clueless urbanites think they can live the pastoral dream out there all alone? That’s just asking for trouble. But that’s the perfect setup.

Once the volcano erupts, the tension started to build at the perfect pace for me. They’re completely cut off from any help and have very few useful tools and/or skills between them. Luckily, Mostar, the artist-in-residence, lived through a war in her younger years so she immediately goes into survival mode, recruiting Kate and her husband to her side immediately. As they face more and more challenges, it becomes apparent that their lack of food is only the beginning of their problems; something else is with them. Just thinking about it gives me delicious chills!

I loved the way the journals were interspersed with interviews with “experts.” They added background and facts and outside points-of-view that would be impossible to incorporate if the book had only been a fictional journal. Descriptions of the community were detailed during the builder’s interview with Kai Ryssdal on NPR’s Marketplace. We hear Mostar’s background in an interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air. There were more but my favorite interviews were probably with the National Park supervisor. She laid out theories and facts about animals and anthropology that gave the whole book a feel of real science, like this could really happen.

There’s a running theme throughout the book that you don’t really know who you are until you find yourself in a crisis (I listened to the audio so I don’t have an exact quote). That is definitely true with this group! People who I expected to take charge fell apart and vice versa. I truly enjoyed the character growth.

Full-cast audio books can be very hit-or-miss for me, but this recording was amazing. Judy Greer was the perfect choice for Kate. I loved that Kai Ryssdal and Terry Gross really read their own parts, giving another layer of chilling authenticity to the story. The rest of the cast (Jeff Daniels, Nathan Fillion, Steven Weber, the list goes on) are pretty high profile. I steer away from movies with that many names I recognize; you simply can’t have that many stars. But these narrators were only interested in reading the source material the best they could and it absolutely worked.

I recommend this for a fun horror novel that is so grounded in the real world that you’ll be listening for those big footsteps on your deck after you turn off your lights at night.

p
plattsla
Nov 10, 2020

Mount Rainier has erupted, plummeting the Pacific Northwest into chaos. Amidst this chaos and disaster of another kind occurs. Greenloop, a revolutionary carbon neutral community, and all its residents have fallen victim to a massacre. The accounts left behind are finally coming to light and a creature thought to be legend is responsible.

I absolutely loved World War Z by Max Brooks, so when I saw Devolution in my library I knew I had to check it out. I love anything cryptozoology, creepy, and horrifying and I love it even more when presented mockumentary style.

Brooks masterfully blends social satire and horror here. His characters are raw, accessible and I know I can see a few of them in my real life. Even the setting flips from beautiful to terrifying within a few sentences! This novel will make you think about what lurks in the deep forests where humans fear to tread.

I really think that this one will be beloved by fans of Brooks, as well as Bob Fingerman and the crypto-horror genre.

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ReadingAdviser_Sally Jul 18, 2020

Nothing could have such a big foot.

ReadingAdviser_Sally Jul 18, 2020

It's great to live free of the other sheep until you hear the wolves howl.

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