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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The number one best-selling author of World War Z takes on the Bigfoot legend with a tale that blurs the lines between human and beast - and asks what we are capable of in the face of the unimaginable.

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.

In this audiobook, Max Brooks brings Kate’s extraordinary account to light for the first time, faithfully reproducing her words alongside his own extensive investigations into the massacre and the legendary beasts behind it.

Kate’s is a tale of unexpected strength and resilience, of humanity’s defiance in the face of a terrible predator’s gaze and inevitably, of savagery and death.

Yet it is also far more than that.

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.

Part survival narrative, part bloody horror tale, part scientific journey into the boundaries between truth and fiction, this is a Bigfoot story as only Max Brooks could chronicle it - and like none you’ve ever listened to before.

The cast:

Judy Greer as Kate Holland

Nathan Fillion as Frank McCray

Kimberly Guerrero as Josephine Schell

With:

Jeff Daniels as Steve Morgan

Mira Furlan as Mostar

Kate Mulgrew as Hannah Reinhardt-Roth

Steven Weber as Tony Durant

and

Terry Gross and Kai Ryssdal as themselves

and

Max Brooks as the researcher  

©2019 Max Brooks (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Devolution

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • 17-06-20

Character Breakdown!

We know that Max Brooks can do much better than this! Even with an excellent full cast thrown at it this feels well below his best. The setup of an exclusive and remote eco-village without compromise artificially introduces to as cliched a set of characters as I can remember. And that cast do damn well so there are no problems there, especially Judy Greer who puts in a genuinely excellent performance as the lead. She shows good changes of pace and tone and manages to inject a lot of emotion and energy into her delivery.

That lead, Kate Holland, is probably the most interesting character but it took a long while before I stopped finding her irritating and that was only because she suddenly transforms from a poor caricature of a 'millenial type' into something more like Ellen Ripley! Among the others are the arrogant professor who won't believe anything but his own opinion, a pair of hardline vegans who object to even the thought of harming animals threatening them and an impossibly attractive and successful couple. To me this is a really lazy and unnecessary setup which belies some of the occasional genuine quality in the writing that does shine through.

The story is presented through extracts from Holland's journal of her experiences in the eco-village, a tried and tested formula that works reasonably well but it is also interspersed with what I felt were low-value extracts from interviews, quotes and thoughts about the Big Foot legend. This made the story feel quite bitty at times and while some were very worthwhile a lot of them didn't seem to add much.

So, in summary, I don't feel Max made the best of his ideas in this one, the characters are just too cliched and a lot of it felt lazy in its construction. There are some quality moments in the writing and an exciting ending but I felt there was a lot to endure to get that pay-off despite an extremely good performance from Judy Greer.

4 people found this helpful

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  • lil
  • 21-11-20

Brooks does it again

Fine work. I was at first put off by the subject matter, I'm not from usa so the bigfoot is just a silly thing to me like other silly foreign things like trickle down economics or such , not part of a legendarium. But mr Brooks turned it into something else. Still don't care about bigfoot of course but a lot of the commentary that mr Brooks sneaked in is very insightful, and some themes, like the references to a certain siege and tragedy in my side of the atlantic or the sense of entitlement of so many westerners in general , are important to me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andrew R.
  • 09-07-20

narration extremely grating

This is probably just a personal preference but I really disliked the main narrators performance

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  • caroline curley
  • 09-07-20

Amazing listen!

Thoroughly enjoyed this book! Max Brooks have done an incredible job at depicting at, in my opinion, how our creature comforts or lack there of can change our nature...

1 person found this helpful

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  • alexh
  • 02-07-20

Needs a different reader.

I don't know who was reading the diary parts of the book but she was awful with a whiny US accent and I lost count of how many times she said 'totally'! A waste of money. Can I get my money back on this?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Steven Nigel Ibbotson
  • 26-02-21

good listen

I entered this with great excitement as world war z is my favourite book . I did want a carbon copy but I was maybe looking for something familiar. and that's what I got . I truly is do well researched and thought through and a great story my only problem with it is it takes along time to get going .the first half is very slow .

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  • Sara
  • 18-02-21

Hunt or be hunted

Kinda spoilery..!

Such primal fears as being hunted or eaten, and the stepping up, surviving, overcoming domestication and civilization, and refusing to be prey.

Those are the best parts of the book. Not so much the privileged whining and, for me, just alien views in the first half of the book. However, it was essential for the transformation.

All in all a fun book, and really really well read by the narrators.

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  • Rustybin
  • 14-01-21

Not in the same league as his other work

Disappointing. The narrative style of WWZ just doesn't work well when confined to a small number of people in the same place.

Dull and plodding until the unspectacular final act.

A waste of brilliant voice talent.

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  • Neil
  • 24-12-20

Hmmm....

The first half of the book is the survival story of a bunch or unlikable characters after a volcano eruption.

The second half is the survival story of a bunch of unlikeable characters after a Bigfoot attack.

Not bad, but not great. And, initially, Judy Greer is painful to listen to, until she dials it down a tad...

Worth a punt, but you'll know if you're in for the long haul, pretty early in.

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  • Xander Warren
  • 08-11-20

Brilliant

Very well written and convincing. Having listened to a few studies on Sasquatch, it feels like a lot of reported behaviour is incorperated well with reasonable extrapolations to fit the story. Although told from fewer view points than WWZ, Max still weaves in different perspectives and experiences to build upon the main narrative.
Would definitely recommend.

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  • A. J. Brownhill
  • 31-08-20

So good that I restarted as soon as I finished.

I'll preface by saying that I'm a Max Brooks fan, but this was the first audio version of one of his books I have absorbed. Not only have a started Devolution again straight after finishing for the first time, but I think I may purchase the World War Z audio book as well to accompany my trusty paperback. The multi character and interview style lends itself perfectly for an audio book, other reviews regarding this not being a true 'full cast performance' is silly and short sighted. The majority of the content is taken from the main character's diary so it goes without saying that it should be read by the main character (played by Judy Greer).

The remaining cast in interview format and the researcher narration (read by Max Brooks) weave in and out of the linear narrative of the diary perfectly making for a gripping experience, where you always kind of know what's going to eventually happen but theres plenty of ways you are surprised along the way. A close to perfect audio book. If anything, my only criticism (if it can be called that) is that I didn't want it to end and I would have happily absorbed another 9 hours of content.

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  • Craig
  • 25-07-20

Not what I expected

This is not read by a full cast AT ALL. 99.999% of it is ready by Judy Greer with a few voices from other scattered here and there. It is so slow and painful to get into the story and then it seems like something a high school student wrote. Barely a character I cared about.
Interesting premise but just god awful execution.

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  • Jacob Coates
  • 21-06-20

Tremendous audio book, could not stop listening!

I was pretty worried listening to this after Max's World War Z, as I was sure quality would have to drop.

This is definitely of the same pedigree, it was great from start to finish.

Treat your self get this audio book!

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  • Trace`
  • 10-02-21

I wanted this book to be better

The premise of the story was okay but the voice of the narrator was very irritating and at times the editing and jumping to other characters was disjointed and felt like it had been inserted afterwards. Disappointing.

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  • James W. Matson
  • 31-01-21

Entertaining

Starts a little slowly, builds well, finishes brilliantly.

Being an Australian reader, Sasquatch felt less frightening than zombies. Not sure why exactly... but, great tale anyway.

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  • ash
  • 04-08-20

Great book in the end

This was a bit of a slow burn for me .. I wasn't real impressed when I first started listening to it, but it got a LOT better as the book went on.

It was a great book that I absolutely loved in the end - I don't know what to listen to next now haha.

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  • Jay
  • 27-07-20

Haunting

This book got better the more I listened to it, with the tension escalating all along. The style is reminiscent of Brook's earlier World War Z works, told from the point of view of a mystery horror related through the entries in a diary. The protagonist starts off as naive, self-absorbed. Positively annoying. But as her story unfolds, the audience witnesses her cast her doubts aside as she is thrown into a deadly struggle to survive. By the time the inevitable conclusion came along, I really felt for her. Definitely worth the listen.

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  • MR PETER A RICHARDS
  • 27-07-20

Great performances, great storytelling, great ending.

I didn’t really know what to expect from the book, I was worried it would be some crazy Bigfoot story, but it is a really well written and well executed commentary on how we have become so reliant on technology and convenience, and what we have lost in that bargain with technology. Starts off slowly, but once it gets going you will find yourself still listening at 3am, and jumping at that noise outside your window...
Beautifully cast and delivered, my favourite book of the year.

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  • Hebby~Bookworm
  • 25-07-20

Take that thing out of the freezer!

Volcano eruption leaves a group of people trapped on a mountain and then Bigfoot attacks.... what’s not to love?

When it began, I thought the characters would be insufferable. It’s basically an eco-village full of hippy, new age types.... seriously, the child had a “placeholder name”, Palomino.

But as vapid and ridiculous as these characters seemed at the start, I think they developed quite well as the story went along, and I actually ended up liking almost everyone.

The story kept along at a good pace, and I thought it was really descriptive without being too slow.

My only issue is that with this being a “found diary” book, there is of course the mystery as to what happened after the diary ends.
It wasn’t as satisfying an ending as if everything was tied up in a neat little bow, but also wasn’t as annoying as other “you decide what happened” endings I’ve read in other books.

The narration was good. I had no issue with Judy Greer’s voice, although I think it’s a shame that she didn’t do Mostar’s accent, it was a little distracting having a European character with an American accent.

I haven’t read World War Z, so I can’t compare it to this, but Devolution did remind me quite a lot of Fantasticland by Mike Bockoven, and if you enjoyed that, I’d say you will probably like this.

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  • Ben
  • 24-07-20

Great book

This was an absolutely amazing book. loved it. I just wish max could write his books a bit faster, so we wouldn't have to wait so long between each.