Devolution by Peter Clenott

This action packed novel is a thriller from beginning to end, tackling diverse subjects that include seemingly unrelated things such as chimpanzees, teenage angst, war, and racism with unparalleled ease. Devolution by Peter Clenott is an enthralling book about a young girl named Chiku Flynn who has the ability to communicate with apes. She spends her first years of life as part of an experiment, raised in the rainforest in a very unusual way compared with what most humans experience. After her mother’s death she is sent to the United States, but she is unable to adapt, her wild tendencies leading to erratic behavior which eventually calls her home to the jungles of Africa that she knows best. When she returns, she finds that life in the Congo is not at all peaceful, as the lives of the chimps she can communicate with are threatened by various forms of social upheaval, leading their fate hanging in the balance, forcing Chiku to do all she can to save the creatures she loves more than anything else.

This book succeeds in mixing multiple different elements in a gripping and unusual way, creating a story that is both original and a joy to read. Love, mystery, and suspense team together in the tale of Chiku’s rebellion, which takes place in the well-described setting of Africa, complete with the history of a country ravaged by war. As Chiku is discovering things about herself, the reader is confronted with the dilemmas she has to overcome in her journey to save her beloved chimps and recover her missing father. This book is by no means an easy read, but the only complications arise from all of the elements coming together, and since those very components are what make this story so compelling, it is hard to resist the story that Devolution tells.

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