Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman & Jay Bonansinga - Ashley's Review

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Title: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor (The Governor Series #1)
Author: Robert Kirkman & Jay Bonansinga
Year Published: 2011

My Pre-Reading
My The Walking Dead: Compendium 1 Review

Synopsis: Based on The Walking Dead graphic novels/comic books and the series starring Andrew Lincoln (Teachers, This Life and Love, and Love Actually) and written/produced by Frank Darabont whose previous credits include The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, this is a new trilogy of books written by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga, author of Perfect Victim and Shattered

Set in the world created by Robert Kirkman, this standalone trilogy is fast-paced, action-packed storytelling about the lengths some men will go to survive. With new characters, new storylines and with the same in-depth character-based plotting that has made the television series such an immediate hit, this trilogy of novels is sure to be a hit with those who love zombies and those who have loved the TV series and comic books.

In the Walking Dead universe, there is no greater villain than The Governor. The despot who runs the walled-off town of Woodbury, he has his own sick sense of justice: whether it’s forcing prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for the townspeople’s amusement, or chopping off the appendages of those who cross him. The Governor was voted “Villain of the Year” by Wizardmagazine the year he debuted, and his story arc was the most controversial in the history of the Walking Dead comic book series. Now, for the first time, fans of The Walking Dead will discover how The Governor became the man he is, and what drove him to such extremes.


Review: Oh. My. Goodness. This book completely changed everything I thought I knew about The Governor and blew my mind into like a million different pieces. And I absolutely loved every single second and every single twist that was thrown at me. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and every time I thought I had it all figured out I was thrown for another loop. Or three. 

I think one of the most interesting things about this book was seeing The Governor transform into the ruthless leader and monster he is in the comics and the show. He's a huge villain in the series, but looking back we actually know very little about him. I loved seeing him start out a as a man trying to care for Penny and protect his brother and friends, knowing that he ends up being incredibly terrifying. It's hard to put the before and after together, but I think this series will really help with that missing middle section. 

Although we learn quite a bit about Phillip Blake - like what happened to his wife before the zombies and who his friends are and how Penny dies and what happens to him over the course of trying to find safety, I actually preferred reading about Brian Blake, Phillip's brother. Phillip begins as a single father who has had to work two jobs to make ends meet for him and Penny and ends up losing a lot of his humanity over the course of trying to protect her from the biters, but Brian's transformation is so much more subtle and I think more interesting.

Brian is the weaker of the brothers - Phillip is the natural-born leader, whereas Brian is content to sit back and take orders and keep Penny out of danger. He's a failure in pretty much everything, and nobody really expects him to survive very long. Slowly, he actually comes out of his shell and starts succeeding at things and even begins to question Phillip's leadership skills and decisions. I just really enjoyed watching him grow and change and end up as a totally different person by the end of the book.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was how it read like the comics. It's dark and gritty and when I pictured things, I saw them in the black and white that the comics are written in. I definitely would recommend this to any fans of The Walking Dead, whether you enjoy the show or the comics or both. Some parts of this book are kind of slow, but just give it a chance. Read until the end. You won't be disappointed! 5/5. 


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