Book Review: ‘Devolution’ by Max Brooks

“Devolution” Cover Art

One of the more unfortunate side effects of being an editor for a living alongside also being a writer is that I don’t read as many books as I used to. I did, however, see that Max Brooks had a new book out and I had to grab it. I found World War Z to be an amazing piece of fiction, but not only that, this book dealt with one of my favorite places–Mount Rainier–and an ever-intriguing monster–Bigfoot. It sounded tailor-made for me.

When my state had a power outage for a few days follow Tropical Storm Isaias, what better time to read?

I read Devolution in one evening/night. It was just as engaging and gripping as Brooks’ zombie book, and it was nice to have something to focus on other than the lack of fans in the middle of summer.

One of the things that smacked me around while reading was the same thing I had felt and through reading World War Z, and that is to simply sit back and marvel at Brooks’ ability to examine not only the human condition in a psychological way, but in political-social ways. In cultural ways. To look at all these concepts, in the immediate and overtime, and translate those into fiction. Into setting, plot/events, and the insight of different characters.

When you learn that Max Brooks is in fact the son of the legendary Mel Brooks, one thinks the two’s chosen paths couldn’t be more different. Father makes satirical moviles while son writes horror novels, and yet when you think about it, they are brilliant in the same ways. They use the lenses of their chosen media to examine humanity, and do so in a way that I could only hope to ever achieve.

Devolution itself primarily follows the firsthand, journal account of Kate Holland. It shows what happens when humans are suddenly bumped a few rungs down on the ladder and the food chain, and how adversity affects different people in different ways. It shows both evolution and devolution in different characters, different settings, and different ways. I’d recommend this highly to any fan of the genre. It’s not a happy book, I’ll warn you of that, but anything describing a “massacre” generally wouldn’t beā€¦but it’s a good read.

I look forward to his next novel.

5 Stars for Devolution by Max Brooks (Buy Here!)