The following post is part of an on-going yet randomly occurring series of book reviews from Fernando, my webmaster/test taster/getter of things on high shelves. He doesn't read a lot of novels, thus the title of the series.
The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor
Robert Kirkman & Jay Bonansinga
Thomas Dunne Books (2011)
Horror / Zombies
Not being a heavy book reader, I often read comic books and graphic novels. Again, I am a huge fan of the AMC show The Walking Dead. I then started reading volume after volume of the comic books written by Robert Kirkman. The final piece to my reading this book was Leslie getting the copy of Rise of the Governor.
First, if you are a fan of only the TV version of The Walking Dead, you are missing out. This book will only mean something to you if you go read the comic books. Go, I'll wait. Done? Really, seriously go read them. They are vastly different than the show on AMC. Most importantly the comic books are great story telling in their own right.
I cannot stress this enough-- the comic book is vastly different from the TV show while there have been hints that some characters from the comic may make their way onto the screen. The deviation that the TV show has already taken from the comic makes it enough to justify reading the comics.
The comic book serves as the introduction to one of the most vile, disturbing and psychopathic villains in the series: The Governor. The Rise of The Governor is the chronicle of a character's mental journey from being human (see what I did there) to being the monster he is in the comic book.
As I write this it dawns on me that I could easily spoil the book, comic book, and TV show in this review. To avoid spoilers I won't use first names for the main male characters. The book follows two brothers, the Blakes, one of whom has a small daughter who is also on the journey, and lastly some childhood friends.
The book opens in the days after a zombie epidemic breaks across the world. The rag tag family does what it can to help each other survive, led by the eldest Blake brother. This group's struggles to survive are often solved by the elder Blake. The elder Blake is an alpha male decision maker while the younger Blake is more the care taker. The book was an easy read for me. I enjoyed the inter group conflicts. I enjoyed the obstacles the group faced. I also enjoyed the tension the book created.
That was one of the surprising gifts the book gave me. It's a zombie filled world, but the zombies are not the main source of tension. The book is not without faults. There were several chapters that I felt could have been left out to make the story a bit tighter. Overall the 300 plus pages flew by for me, in part because the character insight the book provided.
I was expecting to read the book and see the slow decline of humanity in a man that would become The Governor. Instead I got a richly complex man whose family is his survival. That is the brains in this zombie book: what is family and what does it mean to insure that family survives a world consumed in a zombie apocalypse.
So,like the TV show? Then go read the comic books, then go read The Rise of the Governor.