The Walking Dead, Rise of the Governor, should be more aptly titled (as mentioned by several other reviewers): The Birth of the Governor. If this book has a sequel, it would tell of the actual rise of the Governor. In fact, I feel that given what this particular book is lacking, there would need to be a sequel to bridge the gap between what we have been introduced to with this story and what we see when Rick, Glenn, and Michonne stumble across Woodbury in the comic books.
While this story wasn't quite what I expected, I had no issue with it as a stand alone tale in TWD universe. It is the story of a normal human being, doing his best to survive the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. In that regard, this story parallels TWD. We are introduced to a group of survivors: brothers Philip and Brian Blake, two of Philip's friends-Bobby and Nick, and Philip's young daughter, Penny. Philip is the leader of this small bad of survivors trying hard to cope in this new world. Bobby and Nick follow Philip's lead, as they have always done in life before the apocalypse, which is usually a good thing, since he is willing to do what it takes to remain alive. The story covers their saga of survival as they travel across Georgia, from a wealthy subdivision outside Atlanta where they hide out for a time, to a barricaded apartment building inside the city that they share with other survivors, to their grim journeys out into the sticks, where they finally arrive at Woodbury, the town that the Governor rules with an iron fist in TWD comic books.
As I mentioned, I would be willing to read a sequel to this story; one that would further explain how the man who enters Woodbury near the end of this tale transforms into the man who can do such unthinkable and horrible things to other survivors in the comic books-especially to Michonne and Rick. But if this book, and the psychological transformation that occurs within its pages, is the only justification offered up as to why the Governor is the way he is by the writers of this novel, I just can't buy it. There has to be more trauma put upon him to allow him to become such a casually evil and demonic creature. I firmly believe this. To elaborate further would reveal spoilers, which I'm unwilling to do. So again, my hope is that there is a plan to scribe another book...part 2, if you will, though I doubt that is the case.
Again, this book, as a standalone tale of survival during the zombie apocalypse, is entertaining. Present tense writing is not the norm, but it does speak of the immediacy of everything going on around the characters and keeps the energy level high, for the most part. I didn't have a real issue with that. I did feel that the author could have toned down the descriptive verse a bit. He creates vivid images, but I often felt a bit overwhelmed by the details he would elaborate on, when simpler descriptives would have sufficed. That is a minor niggling detail though. My main concern with this story is that it only shares the beginning of the metamorphosis the man who turns into the Governor. There is a big chunk missing in the tale that goes from this story and ends when we come across the full blown Governor in TWD comic books. It is THAT tale, the middle portion of the man's saga, that I really want to read.