50% World War Z, 35% Limetown, 15% Blair With Project = Devolution.
Max Brooks is at it again with his trademark blending of non-fiction narrative prose with fictitious sci-fi events. In this case, he uses the “found footage” style of Blair Witch to tell the story of a yuppie commune in the Pacific Northwest ravaged by what appears to be Bigfoot-type creatures. Instead of film, though, researchers find a series of journals in the empty and devastated rubble of the commune. The journals seem to explain what happened and why everyone is missing. Interspersed within the journal entries are interviews with wildlife experts and family members of the missing.
I thought Brooks’ World War Z excelled at the social and mundane aspects of what a zombie outbreak would do (ex. what about the zombies walking around in lake bottoms), but I think Devolution really nails the terror of the classic monster story while also shining a light on the hubris of us meatbag humans thinking we’re in charge of nature. Despite the relatively short length of this book,
Brooks finds plenty of room to make us roll our eyes and also root for the flawed actors in the story (human and otherwise). While this was an entertaining read, I was dreading each turn of the page towards the inevitable fate the characters were headed towards.
If you like monster stories you might like this one!
(By the way, my wife listened to the audiobook primarily voiced by the great Judy Greer and highly recommends that version.)