Tuesday, June 16, 2020

read: Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre (4 stars)

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch MassacreDevolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Based on the description (Bigfoot!) and how much I liked Brooks' World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (another epistolary horror novel), I expected to like this one more than I did. However, the first half of the book didn't do much to meet my expectations and I came close to setting it down. It was slow and much too focused on a cast of characters that I found hard to like (I already hate hipsters in the woods), rather than much action and plot. But the author kept dropping just enough tension into the story to keep me motivated and I stuck with it.
The second half of the book (mostly) made up for the slog. There was action. There was tension. There were predators acting like predators and humans acting like humans (good and bad). The ending is satisfying in its own way (a little like Jurassic Park), without being too pat.
I almost knocked another star off of my 4-star review because of a nit I have with the writing style. The impression is supposed to be that the book is essentially the journal of the protagonist, the only survivor of an apparent massacre. But each journal entry is much too long and the style quickly slips into standard first-person narrative, knocking me out of the epistolary mood. The additional interviews and excerpts from experts and witnesses hearkened back to WWZ and restored a star for style. This could make for some great Summertime reading if you're in the mood for it.
Disclosure: Thank you to Netgalley and Del Rey Books for providing a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.

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