Overdue: Apologies and Book Reviews

Joey back baby

Hello friends!! I want to start by apologizing for disappearing out of the blue in such turbulent times, and thank those of you who reached out to check in.  We’re all safe and healthy, for which I am grateful.  I’ve been in a strange place- trying to homeschool my daughter and work full time while also feeling fairly isolated from other adult contact and feeling paranoid everytime I had to leave the house.

It didn’t make for a good time to read, and I ended up gaming and binging movies all weekend because I couldn’t focus enough to read.  I tried, and my eyes drifted off the page every two minutes. And then by the time I figured out I wasn’t going to be able to read any time soon and therefore wasn’t going to be able to blog any time soon – it felt like too much time had gone by to double back and put any sort of notice up.

So again- I’m sorry, but please know how much I appreciated it when you all reached out, if only to check in and say hi.

Dog Sorry giphy

That being said- I took a vacation a couple weeks ago, and was able to get a couple books read! And though I seem to have less reading time on my hands now that I’m back home I’m still trying to keep up.  I’m moving slower than I used to so bear with me if posts are still infrequent.

I have tons to catch up on, so I’m going to start with my long overdue review of:

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre, by Max Brooks

Devolution by Max Brooks

Rating:  ★★★★

I posted a Can’t Wait Wednesday about Devolution back when I first heard about it- and that excitement never waned.  When I attempted to read over the past few months, this was the book I picked up.

It starts a little slow- an introduction to the world and the characters, their relationships with each other.  It took me until about the 25% mark to get into the unputdownable parts.  Is it a little over the top? Yeah.  Did I care?  Nope.

The sasquatch (es? what is the plural of sasquatch?!) in this book reminded me a lot of the creatures encountered in Michael Crichton’s Congo, and I ate up every second of it.  There was tree knocking and howls, rock throwing and glowing eyes in the dark.  It was exactly what I hoped for.

It was both similar and different to Max’s previous success, World War Z.  It’s similar in style – where WWZ was an oral retelling, this is told mostly in journal entries.  It’s different because it is told primarily from one POV – Kate’s. I found this style much better suited to my tastes, because with the journal entries felt like one cohesive, connected story, not bits and pieces of a much larger story.  There’s no knowing how or if Kate survived, only that her journal did.

There were parts that made me cringe away in horror and parts that had me holding my breath.  The atmosphere and tone were perfect.  I only deducted a star for the slow beginning.

If you liked WWZ, if you’ve ever wondered about the existence of sasquatch, I’d definitely recommend this! It’s a fun summer read with a creepy tone.  Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley who provided a free copy in exchange for a review.  Devolution can be found on GoodReads and Amazon.

If you read Devolution and I missed your review – please link to it below! I’d love to know what you thought.

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Dahlia Black by Keith Thomas

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Dahlia Black by Keith Thomas

Title: Dahlia Black

Author: Keith Thomas

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 288 Pages

Publisher: Atria Books

Release Date: August 13, 2019

Blurb: For fans of World War Z and the Southern Reach Trilogy, a suspenseful oral history commemorating the five-year anniversary of the Pulse—the alien code that hacked the DNA of Earth’s population—and the response team who faced the world-changing phenomenon.Voyager 1 was a message in a bottle. Our way of letting the galaxy know we existed. That we were out here if anyone wanted to find us.

Over the next forty years, the probe flew past Jupiter and Saturn before it drifted into the void, swallowed up by a silent universe. Or so we thought…

Truth is, our message didn’t go unheard.

Discovered by Dr. Dahlia Black, the mysterious Pulse was sent by a highly intelligent intergalactic species that called themselves the Ascendants. It soon becomes clear this alien race isn’t just interested in communication—they are capable of rewriting human DNA, in an astonishing process they call the Elevation.

Five years after the Pulse, acclaimed journalist Keith Thomas sets out to make sense of the event that altered the world. Thomas travels across the country to interview members of the task force who grappled to decode the Pulse and later disseminated its exact nature to worried citizens. He interviews the astronomers who initially doubted Black’s discovery of the Pulse—an error that critics say led to the world’s quick demise. Thomas also hears from witnesses of the Elevation and people whose loved ones vanished in the Finality, an event that, to this day, continues to puzzle Pulse researchers, even though theories abound about the Ascendants’ motivation.

Including never-before-published transcripts from task force meetings, diary entries from Black, and candid interviews with Ballard, Thomas also shows in Dahlia Black how a select few led their country in its darkest hours, toward a new level of humanity.

Why I’m excited for it: I love first contact anything.  I love the unexpectedness of it- how it could go either way.  Maybe the extraterrestrials are benevolent beings, maybe they want to help us poor lost humans out, maybe they want to banish us from the universe and steal all Earth’s resources.

I also love seeing how the characters in the book/movie/whatever learn to communicate with each other.  Maybe it’s through math, maybe it’s through intercepted news and media signals, maybe it’s through music or language absorption or psychic powers.  Who knows?  First contact is a theme that comes with predetermined issues, but allows the author countless space to be creative and unique, and provide the reader with scenarios they might never have imagined.

I do find it a little odd the author used his own name as one of the character’s in the book though.  It totally threw me off and I had to keep looking to be sure it wasn’t some kind of typo in the blurb.  But I’m also hoping that’s a sign that the book is quirky and different.

This is going to be told in an oral history format, similar to World War Z by Max Brooks.  Sometimes this format works for me, sometimes it doesn’t.  World War Z which I listened to in fabulous full-cast audio, came off as a little dry.  The problem was, everyone who was telling their part of the story, you already knew they had lived. Still, I do like this format every now and then, and I’m hoping the different type of conflict will allow there to be more suspense.

Lastly- elevated humans?  I’ve only read a handful of books with elevated animals.  It’s kind of a bizarre thing but I like the possibility it provides for ethical discussion, and I can’t wait to see what the humans are being elevated to, exactly.

Dahlia Black can be found on GoodReads or preordered on Amazon.

What about you?  Which new releases are you looking forward to?