Anthony Chavez's Reviews > Rise of the Governor

Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman
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's review
Sep 21, 2011

really liked it
Read from October 11 to November 01, 2011

As I have read the first compendium of 48 trade paperbacks that ended the original Governor story arc, I jumped at the chance to pick up this collaboration by series creator Robert Kirkman and horror writer Jay Bonansinga. "The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor" is an amazing idea for a novel or trilogy. I hear that the Governor is one of the series', and even comic books in general, most notorious and loathsome villains, and the notion of exploring his back story is definitely going to be appealing to all dead head fans.

It turns out that the Governor may not be as different as you might imagine. In many ways, this tale is a familiar survival story, breaking little new ground but giving the fan some real insight into the beginning stages of the zombie outbreak. The story opens in the first days of the zombie outbreak, the narrative follows the ups and downs of a small rag tag group of survivors, which consist of the man we know to become The Governor, his brother, a couple childhood friends, and a little girl. The group finds themselves trying to understand what has caused this outbreak and then try to conform to their new life as they know it. They try to exist in a retirement community, followed by a stint in the city, followed by isolationism, etc. so on and so forth. They try many various strategies to build a new life, none quite working out as long as they would like. Every time they get comfortable, the real NEW world comes crashing down in the form of a new undead or even human menace. At what point does the living in a world of walking dead reach their breaking point? The novel takes us on the journey of The Governor until he reaches exactly that spot and then pushes to the other side. The final two chapters, amazingly, bring everything together in a very unexpected way.

You don't really see the rise of the Governor as much as the birth or origins of the Governor, the title is a bit misleading. The book ends at the beginning of a new chapter, you can see the light up ahead, and he is with familiar characters from the comic. It was an easy read, solidly written, fast paced as is true to Kirkman form. I wasn't blown away by anything fresh or new, as I feel this was sorta what was expected, right in line with The Walking Dead trade paperbacks. I did like learning about the area a little and getting to know the Governor's crew, but you don't have to be a fervent fan to enjoy this novel. This can definitely work as a stand alone piece but it has more impact, however, if you actually know who the Governor is! A good and fun effort that, ultimately, doesn't add a huge new dimension to the ongoing saga but more of a mirror or different point of view on survival.

It was fascinating the way the book explored the emotional reactions of a survival group, I mean I liked how it was done in the comics but in novel form its different. Most of the reactions were understandable, but it always leaves me questioning what I would do, say, feel if I found myself in an unbelievable and terrifying new reality. The Rise of the Governor, didn’t lack for action, in this world where the normal rules no longer apply, the zombies are at least the one danger in which you know what to expect, the humans are another story altogether. You would think that the struggle with the zombies would be action enough, but The Walking Dead always contains shocking twists and this is no exception, with an ending that will leave you speechless.
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Reading Progress

10/20/2011 page 30
12/11/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Aloha (new) - added it

Aloha Great review, Anthony. Makes me want to read the book. I put it in my reading list.

Anthony Chavez Thanks Aloha, I really liked the book.

message 3: by Aloha (new) - added it

Aloha Anthony, your wish is my command. I wrote another review, for 11/22/63.

message 4: by Jess (new)

Jess Vescio The compendium is 48 issues, 48 trades would be like 300 issues... that's like 25 years worth of comics :p

Katy If I haven't read any Walking Dead (comic or book) or seen the show can I still start with this book??

Teresa Katy- You can start with this book. The book series will ultimately contain spoilers if you decide to watch the show but the book is a great place to start. Knowing the Governer's background makes me want to watch the show all over again!

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