Book Review: Devolution by Max Brooks

I love World War Z. The book, not the film (the film being, at best, fine). Max Brooks has a real talent for horror that feels grounded absolutely in reality, and that makes it all the more frightening. Devolution had entirely passed me by, but I happened to see it suggested on the Audible app and could not resist.

This was not a mistake.

Devolution is- and stay with this, because it might sound a bit wild- a horror story about Bigfoots. (Bigfeet?) The story is presented, similarly to World War Z, on an investigator looking into this after the situation has happened. The main bulk of the narrative is presented through the diary of Kate, a woman who moves to a deliberately remote village in the woods, following the trendy idea that humans need to get back to nature and shake off the shackles of modern life. Then, a volcano erupts, cutting the remote village off from the outside world entirely, preventing their escape, and sending the Sasquatches down the mountains in search of food.

I think there is a definite risk that a story about Bigfeets could be ridiculous but this absolutely never is. It is intense, frightening and absolutely addictive. I could not stop listening to the audiobook- I had several late nights where I just had to listen to one more chapter. (Also- I highly recommend the audiobook- the actors reading it are excellent.)

It follows a lot of the classic survival horror tropes- group of misfits struggle to work together etc- but it does so in a way which feels fresh and exciting. There is lots of interesting science given around primatology, enough to make it feel like what is happening with the Bigfeeties is possible.

Kate is an excellent character, as well- her progression, from slightly useless millennial stereotype to the type of badass woman Ripley would be proud of, is delightful.

Overall, I highly recommend this one.