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Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the…
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Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2020; vuoden 2021 painos)

– tekijä: Max Brooks (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
4742439,085 (3.9)30
Jäsen:legalizearmadillos
Teoksen nimi:Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre
Kirjailijat:Max Brooks (Tekijä)
Info:Del Rey (2021), 304 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
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Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre (tekijä: Max Brooks) (2020)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 24) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
4.5 out of 5 stars.

When I was a kid, I was scared of Bigfoot-like, properly scared. I can't remember how old I was when I first encountered a Bigfoot thing, but I can remember having seen some pseudo-documentary on Animal Planet, or something, and being ever so frightened of looking out my bedroom window and seeing Bigfoot staring back at me. It became a recurring nightmare of mine for a while until I eventually grew out of that fear and moved on. But there is something kind of frightening about a giant ape-like monster with borderline-human intelligence whose existence nobody can seem to prove or disprove. And that's where Devolution, Max Brooks' newest book comes in. Resting closer to something like Frankenstein than Brooks' World War Z oral history riff, Devolution is another epistolary novel (or, as I jokingly refer to it, "found literature") from Max Brooks. But unlike World War Z, I really enjoyed Devolution. It's a gripping read, filled with a lot of tension, some immediately captivating characters, and a lot of genuine chills.

Devolution is a really strong book, almost surprisingly so. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started this book. I didn't love World War Z - I thought it was a clever idea, but I felt like it lacked a lot of tension and the narrative felt really unfocused at times. But luckily, Devolution falls into none of those traps. Devolution has an identifiable main character - Kate Holland. It is her story we are reading, directly from a diary that was recovered sometime after the novel's events - though the fictional "Max Brooks" has thrown in a few "external sources," in the guise of interviews he's conducted with other people and excerpts from some Bigfoot-related books, for context. Having the bulk of the novel come directly from Kate's diary helps the narrative have focus. It's basically just a regular first-person narrative, and that's a much better way of telling a story that's supposed to have a lot of tension. Here, the inclusion of the other material feels less like a distraction from the story and more of a contextual aid to help clarify some of the things Kate wouldn't have known while writing down her experiences. Overall, I vastly preferred the format of this novel to Brooks' other epistolary experiment.

Devolution also has a significantly more compelling plot that's filled with some really interesting characters. It starts off like any number of disaster stories - it starts off with a quick setup before some disaster happens, in this case, the eruption of Mount Rainer, everything falls apart. I tend to have trouble getting through the setup in stories like this, but I didn't have that problem at all here and I think that's because of how well-crafted Devolution's characters are. Every single character in this novel feel fully formed and lived in. Each of them has a purpose to serve in the survival of the community and it's an absolute joy getting to know them in those chapters before they're put through the wringer of an eruption and a Bigfoot scare. All of the characters have something to adore and some fatal flaw. They feel like people you might know and it's a great way of getting you to immediately care about them. Even though all the dialogue is technically whatever Kate remembers, it feels very natural and Brooks did a great job of ensuring each character has a unique and identifiable voice. It's also really impressive just how well we get to know these characters, given the bulk of the narrative is told via Kate's diary. It helps that Brooks made Kate the kind of person who's incredibly observant and quick to judge those around her; these qualities give the novel a really easy way of establishing these characters' personalities in a way that feels natural.

Equally natural is the way the plot unfolds. It all happens very quickly, but everything feels organic. The characters react in ways that absolutely make sense with the way they've been set up. Every time you start to worry that the action might be slowing down a bit, Brooks throws something else at you to keep you on your toes. I don't want to go into too many specifics about the plot, but it's a mixture of exactly what you'd expect it to but also immensely surprising, too. You know going into the book that there's gonna be some kind of Bigfoot encounter, and you know going in pretty much how it's going to end, but everything else is a delightful surprise. It's also really compelling. Like in World War Z, Brooks clearly has something to say in Devolution. Underneath all of the Bigfoot stuff is a story about survival; a story about how we react in times of crisis. We saw similar themes in World War Z, but that was on a macro level. Here, it's on a micro level, and it's such a fascinating angle to take here. It's so neat seeing how each of these characters reacts to this situation. It felt very dramatic and very real and I was captivated.

Overall, reading Devolution was just a lot of fun. I was hooked from page one and I stayed on that hook all the way until the novel's final page. Everything about the narrative just clicked for me and I had such a great time with it. I powered through this novel in a way that I wasn't expecting to. It very quickly became one of those books that I just couldn't put down. I had to, because life beckons, but I constantly wanted to pick it up again and continue where I'd left off - and that's an absolute gift for a story like that. I was scared for these characters and I was invested in them and how they'd get out of this situation. I just really adored how everything in Devolution unfolded.

My one complaint would probably be the book's ending. I totally understand what Brooks was going for and in that context, it absolutely works. But I can't help but feel like I'd have craved something a bit closer to a true resolution. I wouldn't necessarily call the book's ending a cliffhanger, but it's certainly a very open one. And, to be fair, you know it's going to be that way going into it because the novel's introduction pretty much confirms this. But still, I always wish that books like this would pull a bait-and-switch and actually give me an ending even when they've promised not to. This isn't a big fault of the book and it probably won't bother anyone else. I was just so invested in Kate's story that I wanted some kind of resolution that never fully came. And that's okay. But it was a little disappointing for me.

All in all, I really loved Devolution. I wasn't wild about World War Z and I thought Brooks' Minecraft novel had a lot of exciting ideas that were never as fully realized as they could've been, and I've never fully read The Zombie Survival Guide, so, I wasn't really sure how I'd feel about Devolution. Luckily, it's a really solid read. I think Brooks found a much better balance between the commitment to the epistolary form and actually telling a compelling story that's filled with tension and excitement. Even though I knew how the story ended, roughly, going into it, there was still a lot of room for surprises and excitement and the utilization of a first-person journal written amid the action was a great way of pulling the reader into Kate's world and having us experience what she's experiencing alongside her. I'd absolutely recommend Devolution. I think it'll be immensely satisfying for fans of Brooks but it's also really enjoyable for those who haven't entirely loved his work. Plus, it's just a really good, often scary Bigfoot story. And that's always a lot of fun.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing a digital ARC in exchange for a fair review. ( )
  thoroughlyme | Apr 23, 2021 |
A small group of people live in a planned community that is isolated physically but advanced technically. They are in the wilderness but have internet connections, drone delivery of groceries and smart homes. One day, Mt. Rainier erupts which is followed by civil chaos. The community's technology fails and they are cut off from the rest of the world. As days and weeks go by, food becomes scarce for both humans, animals and a beast lurking in the woods. And the community is pitifully unprepared for what comes next.

This story is told through the diary of the Kate Holland starting from first day of her and her husband's arrival in the community through the eruption of the volcano and the subsequent consequences. The book also presented other points of view from people who are looking back at what happened.

Books with the theme of Sasquatch are not something that I have seen very often. The pace of the book started off slowly and accelerated towards the end when I found it hard to put down. Reading the story through the diary of Kate Holland was well-done although, at times, I found it hard to believe that she would be sticking to writing in diary with what was going on around her. Having different points of view also kept the story interesting. I also really liked the ending. Recommended. ( )
  DidIReallyReadThat | Mar 5, 2021 |
Planned community in rural Washington goes off-grid when Mt. Rainier erupts; the chaos emboldens native Sasquatch troop; blood bath ensues. Initially engrossing and comic (CA stereotypes, 'snowflakes', vegans, etc.) but quickly devolves (pun intended) into gruesome mayhem. Hollywood should pick this one up. ( )
  mjspear | Mar 5, 2021 |
My review of this book can be found on my Youtube Vlog at:

https://youtu.be/qIVMLVvKQM0

Enjoy! ( )
  booklover3258 | Mar 2, 2021 |
Make no mistake, this is a horror novel!

Yes, it's bigfoot themed, and yes there are a lot of silly bigfoot movies out there -- none of which have ever been scary in my opinion -- but Max Brooks' Devolution delivers the thrills and chills you would expect from a good Stephen King novel. The story is told through the pages of a journal that was found at the site of "the massacre," interspersed with transcripts of after-the-fact interviews. This is no spoiler, because it is in the title of the book. And the title tells us that SOMETHING horrible is going to happen to our little group of characters, cut off from society by a volcanic eruption of Mt. Rainier. Brooks masterfully builds the suspense as the story of why this group has come to the woods, how and why they have chosen to live the way they do, and how they slowly come to grips with the challenges of their predicament. At it's best, there are some truly terrifying moments in Devolution. Brooks does not hold back in his descriptions and I say BRAVO! It felt good to be scared of bigfoot again! This book has no "slow" chapters. It moves at a lightning pace and is just enjoyable from beginning to end. I give it 4 out of 5 stars! ( )
  Randy_Foster | Feb 13, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 24) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
"Devolution" is an ambitious mishmash of individually interesting pieces. Not quite sharp enough for compelling satire, a little too sneering for effective horror, it will find plenty of readers among devotees of Brooks, but will be a miss for most general readers.
 
Civil society is always fragile. When it collapses under violent threat, its citizens inevitably reveal their truest selves.... The transformation of Greenloop and its members—especially Kate and her slacker husband, Dan—from self-doubting basket cases into formidable warriors transcends the notion of “evolution.” It’s terrifying. Brooks is not only dealing with the end of humanity; he’s also showing us our further course toward a new, ineluctable, absolute brutality.
 
Piecing together the journal with interviews, transcripts, newspaper clippings, and historical documents, Brooks crafts a terrifying tale that reads like a “true” crime novel. Set in the very near future, with stellar worldbuilding, a claustrophobic atmosphere, an inclusive and fascinating cast of characters, and plenty of bloody action, this inventive story will keep readers’ heart rates high.
 
Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
lisäsi Lemeritus | muokkaaKirkus Review (Feb 10, 2020)
 
Brooks creates vivid landscapes and has a gift for shifting focus in an instant, turning lovely nature scenes suddenly menacing. 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’s devoted fans and speculative fiction readers who enjoy tales of monsters.
lisäsi Lemeritus | muokkaaPublishers Weekly (Dec 6, 2019)
 
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Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
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What an ugly beast the ape, and how like us.
—Marcus Tullius Cicero
Omistuskirjoitus
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To Henry Michael Brooks: May you conquer all your fears.
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Bigfoot destroys town.
Sitaatit
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It’s great to live free of the other sheep until you hear the wolves howl.
You can’t blame the people in Greenloop for having their cupboards bare. The whole country rests on a system that sacrifices resilience for comfort.
“Need. That’s what makes a village. That’s what we are now, and what holds us together is need. I won’t help you if you don’t help me. That is the social contract.”
If we’d had a rash of sightings way back in, say, the ’40s and ’50s, when we were still a cohesive nation with shared beliefs, maybe there would have been enough traction to force the scientific community to act. And if they had, if they’d proven these creatures are as real as the gorilla or chimpanzee, icons like Dian Fossey or Jane Goodall might have built their careers studying the great apes of North America. The problem was that sightings peaked in the late ’60s, early ’70s, which was, coincidently, the dawn of public mistrust. We’re talking Vietnam, Watergate, “do your own thing” counterculture. Now, I’m not saying any of that was bad, especially in a democracy. You need a healthy degree of critical thinking. You need to question authority. But Bigfoot came along just as everyone started questioning everything, including academia. This was a time when university profs were getting hit from both sides; the right with their creationist agenda, and the left who’d suddenly realized the connection between science and war. The upshot was that already cautious PhDs got even more skittish about their grants and tenure.
"Believing the unbelievable.” She shook her head. “Like being warned that the country you’ve grown up in is about to collapse, that the friends and neighbors you’ve known your whole life are going to try to kill you…”
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