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The Walking Dead: Novels #1

Rise of the Governor

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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 Wizard magazine 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.

308 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2011

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About the author

Robert Kirkman

3,014 books6,282 followers
Robert Kirkman is an American comic book writer best known for his work on The Walking Dead, Invincible for Image Comics, as well as Ultimate X-Men and Marvel Zombies for Marvel Comics. He has also collaborated with Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane on the series Haunt. He is one of the five partners of Image Comics, and the only one of the five who was not one of the original co-founders of that publisher.

Robert Kirkman's first comic books were self-published under his own Funk-o-Tron label. Along with childhood friend Tony Moore, Kirkman created Battle Pope which was published in late 2001. Battle Pope ran for over 2 years along with other Funk-o-Tron published books such as InkPunks and Double Take.

In July of 2002, Robert's first work for another company began, with a 4-part SuperPatriot series for Image, along with Battle Pope backup story artist Cory Walker. Robert's creator-owned projects followed shortly thereafter, including Tech Jacket, Invincible and Walking Dead.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,923 reviews
Profile Image for Gina.
29 reviews5 followers
October 14, 2011
I won this on Goodreads!

When I started this book I had no idea what the book was about. I watched The Walking Dead when it aired last year and I thought it was A-M-Azing. Before I read this book I had to do a little research on "The Governor" because I haven't read the comics and also the show hasn't introduced that character yet. Also keep in mind that I basically only read YA books with a female as the main p.o.v. So with that being said I started the book and all I can say is Wow! The ending was such a "what?!" kind of ending, leaving me wanting more. It's different to read a book where the main character is the villian and not the hero. I got to experience a characters descent into darkness and madness. Great read looking forward to the next one, if their is, and the season premiere of the show in October.
Profile Image for Lucy.
102 reviews1,793 followers
February 23, 2012
I made a series of mistakes when I picked this book up. Everything I know about The Walking Dead series came from the television show. I've never been on this side of the street before, but suddenly I'm that annoying person Harry Potter fans have been dealing with since 2001. You know, someone who always pictured Harry as Daniel Radcliffe and was never at all pissed that Danny-boy over there has blue eyes (AND NOT GREEN DAMN HIM FOR NOT WEARING CONTACTS).

In addition to being a film media and not paper consumer for the franchise, I'm also not a comic book sort of person -- so I ordered this book first when attempting to get deeper into the series; somehow this felt like a lesser commitment than the comic book. I had no idea who the governor was because the television series hasn't reached his introduction. I'm also an asshole who rarely reads book descriptions, in my defense I often find them misleading or too vague to be useful. (The most popular review I've written is a point by point comparison with a book's actual plot to its misleading jacket description.) So I routinely pick up books with no idea what they're about.

In short: all I really understood was this book was set in The Walking Dead universe and it was the backstory for a character we had yet to meet in the series.

I expected to read a bit more about the initial outbreaks, since the main character of the other branch of this series spent the beginning of the outbreak in a coma. I guess I thought the writer would use this opportunity to expand on things he didn't have the opportunity to show us before. No such luck though. It's extremely vague. Any time you think you're going to get some real information the story kind of screams "stop looking for explanations and details! Can't you see this is too harrowing for those little things?!" The survivors we follow bounce from place to place with little to no information. While this is not an inaccurate way to write a zombie survival story it was still disappointingly unambitious.

I was also bothered by the fact that the only female character for much of the book is a little girl who spends most of her time catatonic. I find the television show extremely frustrating and most of the reason I started reading the source material was to see if my issues with the series were intrinsic problems or flourishes added by the screenwriters. Since my problems include rampant sexism and casual racism a bunch of white guys tearing through the South was kind of a confirmation of my worst expectations.

The story shifts point of view at odd moments, dipping into different people's heads for a few pages or paragraphs, but the story is primarily told from Philip Blake's point of view. He's the father of Penny, our mostly catatonic little girl, and the brother of Brian, a nervous skinny guy who has trouble killing zombies. Other members of the group include two of Philip's high school drinking buddies, both of whom are fleshed out only when exhibiting a certain personality trait will be convenient for the plot.

The group eventually lose one generic friend and then meet up with other survivors. As they settle in, a somewhat romantic relationship begins to develop between Philip and one of the female survivors, one who saved his life and was particularly kind to his daughter. The only indications this woman is interested in Philip involve a chaste kiss on the cheek and some light verbal flirting. This doesn't stop Philip from imagining that they can settle down and she can play mother to his daughter. They share a mutual kiss -- a first kiss. Philip pushes it aggressively towards sex. The woman begs him to stop. He doesn't.

After reading him lament the loss of what could've been true love if only he'd been a little more patient, I finally read the book description and other reviews. I realized I was reading a book about the development of a monster. The Walking Dead series, really the whole fandom, is full of a lot of misogyny, but the main character on the television show is something of a white knight Gary Stu. I only knew something was wrong because the other main character was never morally gray before and this just didn't jive.(I personally like a morally gray character, but it seemed like a big leap in main characters for Kirkman.) So, anyway, I had to hastily readjust how I was reading the book.

The book and the characters become darker, so I'm grateful I finally caught on. Penny dies when their camp is raided and Philip, who was already barely on the sane side to begin with, tortures the survivors in the raiding party. He rapes the female survivor over and over again. At that point I consider my dislike of the material my problem and not the author's or the book's issue. It's a story about a man who was once a functional member of society becoming a sociopath and it's not like it was hidden from me. I was just willfully ignoring every warning I could've got.

At least the second rape and torture sequences were both being portrayed as the horrific acts they are, unlike the first rape which Philip considered it an act of over eager love the lady in question should be able to get over.

The end of the book annoyed me for a variety of reasons. We lose Philip's POV as he really goes insane and the audience becomes more steadily entrenched in Brian, who alternates between being a victim of Philip's violence and being unaware of most of what is going on. It kind of felt like a cop out. The psychological damge was setting in at that point and it felt like the author was wiggling away from it because aside from vomit enducing gore and defilement he didn't know what else to do.

Philip feeds zombie Penny recently dead people's body parts. He then snatches a girl and it's unclear whether he planned to rape her or feed her to Penny in bite sized chunks. Nick, the surviving of Philip's two original friends, finally takes a stand and puts Philip (and the girl too accidentally) down like a rabid animal... wait what? Wasn't the whole point of this book seeing Philip's transformation from normalish guy to monster? Oh, Philip's not the governor you say... so the rape and torture were entirely gratuitous and only thinly related to the 'rise of the governor.'

The actual governor is Brian who takes on his brother's identity as a means of coping with the world around him. The shy tentative guy from the beginning of the story who only wanted to own a music shop in Atlanta and had trouble killing already dead zombies just picks up Philip's emotional baggage like it's dropped luggage and decides to carry on where he left off. Go ahead, say 'what the fuck' now if you want, I did a few times. Maybe in the next book Brian's transformation will be better explained because in the book it's practically just a matter of him putting on big brother's shoes and becoming him. It is a very Hollywood version of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, more Many Faces of Eve than true to real life in my opinion.

Now, I don't know if I want to read the comics. It's no one's fault but my own that I walked into this book totally unprepared, but at the same time I feel like a lot of my feelings about the author and the series were confirmed. The writing was lazy, the character development inept. Of the four female characters that got any significant page time two were rape victims, one was a loud mouthed shrew, and the other was Penny, who was more a plot device than a character. The only character who is said to be of color gets shot in the back of his head 2 minutes after he is introduced. None of this is suggesting I have the wrong idea about Robert Kirkman's level of responsibility for all the sexism and racisim.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,230 followers
April 17, 2018
Realizing there wasn't enough horror in my reading world and being a fan of The Walking Dead tv show, I figured a book based on the backstory of one of the franchise's most notorious characters was a safe bet for some good reading. I was correct!

Rise of the Governor is wall-to-wall anus-puckering tension and heart-thumping action. The author's workman-like prose powers the story forward at an almost non-stop pace (jesus there's a lot of dashes going on here!) from beginning to end.

And what an end! I was legitimately bamboozled by a nice twist the author added. It was necessary to my overall enjoyment. I mean, it would've been a dang good book without it, but with it Rise of the Governor is elevated a notch or two in my overall estimation.
Profile Image for Anthony Chavez.
121 reviews69 followers
November 6, 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.
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews334 followers
December 6, 2021
As a huge Walking Dead fan I was excited to see actual books (not the comics) added to the TWD universe. I have a few of the comics also which are awesome. So yeah we are in Woodbury where the Governor is charge. Everything on the surface seems great. There is even ice!! However behind the mask the Governor wears is a evil narcissist who rules with an iron fist. Dare to defy him and you will find yourself in a death match with walkers for the town's amusement. The Governor has dark secrets he keeps close to the vest. Will he reveal his black heart for the town to see? I like the book. It was nice to be back in Woodbury. If you are TWD fan I would give this a read.

Profile Image for Alaina.
6,316 reviews215 followers
May 8, 2018
Rise of the Governor was an okay and interesting audio book. The pace was all over the pace to me though. The first half of this book was moving so agonizingly slow for me. It could've been because I was at work and honestly didn't want to be there for 8 hours.. or it could've been that narrator was so meh. I couldn't concentrate long enough in the beginning that I definitely had to back track a couple of times.

Then the action got better. The zombies got crazier and deader (if that's a thing??). Phillip was probably the craziest character I've ever been introduced for. Pretty sure he raped like two girls in this entire book?? But don't quote me on that. Then there was Penny, who was his daughter. I absolutely loved Penny.. but what happened to her was completely predictable.

Now the one thing that I didn't predict was Brian. I didn't see him becoming the Governor. No, I saw Phillip slowly coming into that role. However, that wasn't the only thing that left me surprised. Nope, Penny was still being held captive. Yes, she is still a zombie which is weird and freaky to me. I get that everyone loved this little girl.. but damn, she's dead. She should be actually dead now. Not kept like a pet.

Overall, the pacing threw me for a loop. The action got better towards the end. So many unexpected deaths throughout the book too. I hope that the second book will be a lot better. Please have a faster pace!!
Profile Image for Brian.
45 reviews5 followers
November 8, 2011
Okay, I am a HUGE zombie fan. I have also been collecting the Walking Dead comic book since issue #2 and when I first heard about this novel, I was excited. Kirkman explores the deeper thoughts/feelings/issues of a z-apocalyptic world via the comic (and now the TV show) and I thought a novel would allow him to really sink his teeth into the material. Also, he has never (not in comics or TV) dealt with the early days of the epidemic.

If you haven't ever read the comic, but are a fan of apocalyptic fiction, then you MIGHT like this book. It's not badly written, per se. There are a couple of points where they really built suspense up for example. However, it is definitely not worth the price of a hardcover. Wait until it's in paperback, the ebook $$ goes down, or just check it out of your library.

Now, if you're a fan of the Walking dead, you're going to be disappointed. Now, I'm sure there are fanboys out there that will attack me for saying that, but give it time. A couple of years from now, even the most hardcore fanboys will be ashamed of it.

If you heard that this novel will cover the early days of the outbreak, you heard wrong. Little is covered about the initial outbreak. Instead, we jump a few days into the z-plague with them just hiding in a house and then quickly fast forward weeks into it. We don't hear about how it spreads. You'd think that starting with the characters seeing their first walking corpse would be a big moment in a book like this, but it isn't. Heck, I don't even think they covered it. So let me reiterate, this novel adds nothing about the spread of the zombie plague EXCEPT them describing how television and radio stations go off air. Fine, chalk it up to writer's license. Maybe Kirkman and Bonansinga (the authors) didn't want to deal with those time periods. That's okay. Let's move on to the meat.

The Governor is one of the most vile characters in the comic book medium because his actions are horrendous. He is evil. The comic deals with him torturing and raping a woman. It deals with him holding gladiatorial-style games where people fight off zombies to entertain the masses of the Woodbury community. He orders the killing of women and children. The frickin' title of this book is "Rise of the Governor"! The blurb on the back of the dustcover is "In The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor, the world will finally understand what drove Phillip Blake to become... The Governor.

Guess what? It's a lie.

You do not learn what drove Phillip Blake to become the Governor. You don't learn what turns an average law-abiding citizen into such a monstrous being. Oh, and want to learn the bigger lie? BIGGEST SPOILER - Phillip Blake doesn't become the Governor. It's his lame-ass asthmatic brother who only kills one zombie (nearly accidentally) in the whole book and later only kills one man. Plot twist? It was a cop-out. What motivations would brother Brian have for his monstrous actions in the comic? The lame-ass ones the book give are not believable.

I didn't care about the characters. Phillip was the most interesting, but he is killed off for the surprise ending, leaving us with a character who is still a wimp. The authors try to wring out his motivation for his evil personality in a two or three page description of him losing it and going insane. Seriously?

Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,990 reviews194 followers
February 28, 2015
Audiobook- Fabulous narrator*
Omg!!! Shocking twists and truths revealed. if you think you know The Governor you don't till you read this book. He is not who has portrayed himself to be. I think I might have sprained my jaw it dropped so far when I got the truth about who he is. Holy Crisps, I could barely catch my breath.
This first book stats with Phil, his brother Brian, his living daughter and two high school friends. The plague has just driven them from their hometown to search for the safe zone. They are unprepared for the horrors they face and the deaths that will happen. Phil was never a very nice guy, he seems to have alway had a dark shadow looming around him. Brian his brother is the older, kinder brother always at a disadvantage under his brothers power. Phil does some horrific things, and has worse thoughts. His friends muddle along with him on this ride of survival, not really standing out just following till...

If you are a fan of this show you do not want to miss this book. Toe tingling excitement and edge of your seat terror.
I am off to read book 2 in this trilogy. :D

Here is the order of these books which turned out to be more then 3-https://www.goodreads.com/series/6550...
Profile Image for Gabriel.
312 reviews18 followers
January 6, 2012
Won in a Goodreads First Reads.


After greatly enjoying the first season of the AMC show and getting deep into the comics, I was looking forward to this. I mean, good zombie novels are far and very few between. They seem to work better as film horrors over novel horrors. Even so, The Walking Dead comics did a wonderful job of transforming the brutality of George Romero zombie flicks into a written media.

This book does NOT follow suit.

Maybe it's due to the fact that it's written in the present tense (for no real reason) or has random details (from near the end, "He ... puts on his only other pair of jeans and his only other shirt (an AC/DC silk-screened tee).") as if these facts are important. They aren't. Why do I care that he has an AC/DC tee on? Maybe it's due to the random redundancies that abound in this book; some ideas repeated mere paragraphs apart. Maybe it's due to some of the worst writing I've ever had the bad luck to read (from the middle, "Yes, they hear him, and now Brian and Nick are climbing out of the SUV. Over the course of a mere minute, Brian makes a series of observations - most of them, apparently, already calculated by Philip - beginning with the front of the store."). We're talking about writing that isn't sure whether it's trying to describe thoughts via different character's heads or just unsure of itself to begin with. We're talking stuff that I edit out of my OWN writing on the second draft if I get that far.


There was so much going for this. It's a cool idea to retell the beginning of The Walking Dead from a different perspective. There are so many great stories to be had here and neat references to the comics possible.

I won't read anymore of this "trilogy" and probably am leaving the comic series after this book. It's just not worth my time.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,338 reviews97 followers
August 20, 2018
I might have enjoyed this book much more if I had been a fan of the Walking Dead phenomenon. Some of the fight scenes included way too much medical data. And there are no heroes, this is how inherently bad people survive an apocalypse. Killing zombies becomes so common place that committing atrocities on each other is easier, I guess.
Anyway, I did like the twist at the end so it was worth sticking with it for that. 🤷🏼‍♀️
Profile Image for Zulaima.
202 reviews64 followers
March 11, 2023
Listen, I love The Governor as much as the next gal does. He's an incredible villain and the show wouldn't be the same without him. However... this was somewhat tedious and felt oh so pointless. Seriously, they could have just stuck to the comic format for this one. Overall, rather disappointing.
Profile Image for Patrick D'Orazio.
Author 24 books60 followers
December 3, 2011
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.
Profile Image for Ramón S..
446 reviews7 followers
August 26, 2020
Disgusting, the authors may think they are a kind of geniuses describing when the character kill zombies 🧟‍♂️. The reading was almost unbearable. Sorry walking dead, I will not read more about you.
Profile Image for Chris Greensmith.
683 reviews5 followers
January 26, 2021
"A severed ear sticks to the windshield, and Philip puts the wipers on." I went into this series not expecting much, but as I started reading and realised it shared the same continuity as the comic I really began to enjoy it. Although the plot was a bit thin it did work toward fleshing out one of the most brutal villains in the Walking Dead and kept me reading to he end, and the following books, wanting to know more. A good companion to the comic focusing, in depth, where the comic couldn't...3🌟
Profile Image for Matt.
546 reviews6 followers
June 23, 2012
As far as prequels go, this rates up there with The Phantom Menace and Batman Begins Kindergarten.
It's slow and boring and adds very little to the Walking Dead narrative. I don't think Kirkman had very much hand in this at all. Another author (Jay Bonansinga) is listed and, unless Kirkman really can't switch mediums (like Orson Scott Card, for example, didn't write a very good Iron Man comic), the fault lies with Bonansinga.
The descriptions use far too many cliches, which detracts from otherwise quality painting of a scene.
It retells the crisis from another point of view, which would be OK, except that I've already seen it. And when the comic heroes went through the original crisis, a LOT more happened. Whatever faults the comic series has, it makes up for it with a lot of plot. This prequel does not have a lot happen. When Lost had to retell the original crash landing, they at least had the foresight to tell a very abbreviated version of it.
I figured the surprise twist out 16 pages before it happened. And then I thought about it and it wasn't plausible.
And the other characters were uninteresting. All of them.
And the most interesting things about the Governor (his governing philosophy) weren't revealed at all. The Governor: this book :: Darth Vader : The Phantom Menace without the good parts.
Also, Bonansinga's picture on the back makes him look like a high schooler trying to look like a serial killer, but middle-aged.
Anyway, I'm done. Back to the comic series.
Profile Image for Kristina.
545 reviews66 followers
January 16, 2014
Okay, so I liked the book. I liked it enough that I plan on reading the rest of the series. I did not however "really" like it or think it was amazing. Hence, the three star rating.

For one, and probably my biggest issue with this book, is how part two of this book played out almost exactly like parts of season four of the show played out. I kept thinking, "Wait, is this a novelization of season four, or is this really the story of way before we ever met the Governor in season three?" Also, it has made me wonder, "What is Robert Kirkman's fascination with sisters and older father figures??"

The ending took me a bit by surprise, but after an hour or two of mulling it over it also felt like the whole book led up to the author forcing that surprise on you because as a fan of the show, I thought I knew who the Governor was so it was the only way available to throw in a shocker. After coming to that conclusion it felt contrived.

I am a big enough fan of the show that I will continue with the series because I am curious enough to want to know "what happened next," but overall I just didn't feel the storyline was in anyway on par with the television show. It was pretty cool to see how the Governor's zombie girl came to be though...
Profile Image for Lea.
854 reviews178 followers
March 10, 2020
I forced myself through this, because it's only about 300 pages long and I wanted to see how it plays out. It's horribly written from the first page, the characters are flat (and the Governor is unrecognizable from the show), the story is meandering and boring. There were about 3 moments in the book that were exciting in that "oh, who will be eaten by a zombie NOW" and "Is this the moment his daughter is gonna die?" kinda way.

Lowlights were definitely the rape scene and how the rape was used as a plot device and handled afterwards. For story telling devices, this is just scraping the barrel.
Profile Image for Patricia Crowther.
479 reviews44 followers
June 8, 2016
Actual rating 4.5*

Wow I feel like such a fool. How did I fall for that one! This was really great. I really enjoyed the Governors back story. It was interesting to see his journey and especially some of the similarities/links to the show.
Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
576 reviews215 followers
November 23, 2015
Well now. That was interesting.

I actually had a bit of a time getting into this one. It didn't have the pace of the comic series (that this is based on), and was written in the present tense. That's a bit jarring for me, though I did get used to it.

Note that this is the backstory of the Governor from the Walking Dead comic book/graphic novel series. It is NOT the backstory of the character by the same name/title in the AMC television series.

As far as a backstory goes, this one is pretty damn good. It's shocking at times, and heartfelt at others. And whether you want to or not, you might just feel some degree of sympathy for what will become one of zombie literature's most notorious villains.

Profile Image for Kimberley doruyter.
813 reviews92 followers
October 1, 2015
if you seen the show you know how this turns out.
it's good for extra info on the governor, but he is still evil.
his brother is a spineless sack and his friend is a bible crazed dumbo.
for those how have not yet seen the show, the ending is a surprise.

a re-read and i actually liked it a little better then the first time i read it.
Profile Image for Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile.
2,031 reviews588 followers
August 7, 2016
Not completely sure how to feel about this one. It had many extremely disturbing scenes, so much so that I had to put it down for awhile before picking it back up to finish it. However, the twist at the end did redeem itself a bit. I was not expecting who the Governor turned out to be. I will probably continue in this series, but am gonna take a hiatus for awhile from it.
Profile Image for Jennelle.
68 reviews143 followers
March 16, 2012
Not only can you see the images you are reading about clearly,
you can feel the emotions. Hell,You can smell the smells.
Awesome read if you are into blood and gore...and of course zombies.
Cant wait for the next book!!!
Profile Image for Λυδία Ψαραδέλλη.
Author 12 books32 followers
June 23, 2017
Στο βιβλίο που κυκλοφόρησε από τις Εκδόσεις Bell με τίτλο “The Walking Dead: Η Άνοδος του Κυβερνήτη” ήρωας δεν είναι κάποιος Άγιος, ούτε καν κάποιος ταπεινός άνθρωπος που προσπαθεί να επιβιώσει σε έναν κόσμο γεμάτο νεκροζώντανους με μαυρισμένα δόντια, παγωμένα δάχτυλα και σαπισμένο δέρμα. Ο αντιήρωας των Kirkman και Bonansinga είναι κακός, πληγώνει και καθαρίζει για άλλους, αναδεικνύεται σε ηγέτη ξεχωρίζοντας από την αρχή από τους κοινούς θνητούς.

Ο αναγνώστης θέλει να πιστεύει στο αγαθό της ψυχής του, ότι κάπου εκεί βαθιά υπάρχει λίγη ευαισθησία, και οι περιγραφές που συνηγορούν υπέρ αυτής της άποψης είναι πολλές: ο Φίλιπ Μπλέικ είναι ένας δυνατός, θαρραλέος άντρας που προστατεύει την οικογένεια και τους φίλους του, συνταξιδιώτες σε αυτή τη δύσκολη περίοδο της ζωής. Από την πρώτη μέρα που οι άνθρωποι μετατρέπονται σε κάτι πρωτόγνωρο και τόσο φρικτό, εκείνος αναλαμβάνει την ηγεσία και την προστασία τους, λαμβάνοντας αποφάσεις και δίνοντας διαταγές. Κανένας δεν έχει αντίρρηση. Νιώθουν ασφαλείς μέσα σε αυτή την αγκαλιά που τους περιβάλλει, καθώς τα ερωτήματα για το πού, γιατί, ποιος, πώς, σχηματίζονται στις σκέψεις και μένουν αναπάντητα. Τον ακολουθούν σαν φύλακα οδηγό. Πιστεύουν σε κείνον. Η δική τους αδυναμία ισχυροποιεί το πόσο ατρόμητος είναι. Άλλωστε μια περιγραφή της αναμέτρησής του με έναν λυσσασμένο σκύλο που τρομοκρατούσε όλα τα παιδιά της γειτονιάς τότε που ο ίδιος ήταν 19 ετών, και η δική του επικράτηση, έρχεται να ισχυροποιήσει την θέση των συγγραφέων ότι αυτός ο χαρακτήρας είναι πολύ σκληρός για να το βάλει κάτω, ιδίως όταν λειτουργεί προστατευτικά απέναντι στους δικούς του.

«Ο πόνος και οι τύψεις τού σκίζουν τα σωθικά,

ένα μαράζι πολύ πιο σκοτεινό και φαρμακερό απ’ τη θλίψη του πένθους»

Ο θάνατος τον πληγώνει. Νιώθει τύψεις. Σκέφτεται συνεχώς τι διαφορετικό θα μπορούσε να είχε κάνει για να αποτρέψει τον θάνατο να ακουμπήσει τα δικά του πρόσωπα. Κλείνει τα αυτιά και τα μάτια της κόρης του, σε μια απέλπιδα προσπάθεια να την κρατήσει μακριά από την φρίκη αυτού του ιδιαίτερου πολέμου.

Όμως η ζωή που περιγράφουν οι συγγραφείς είναι σκληρή, αποτρόπαια. Ο αναγνώστης τρέμει στην ιδέα και μόνο ότι μπορεί κάποια στιγμή αυτό να είναι το σκηνικό που θα περιτριγυρίζει τον ίδιο. Αν όλο αυτό ήταν αληθινό;

Η ζωή όπως την ήξεραν έχει αλλάξει και αυτά που φέρνει αλλάζουν και την φαινομενική ευαισθησία του Κυβερνήτη Φίλιπ Μπλέικ. Όλα οδηγούνται στα άκρα και κανένας δεν είναι πλέον ασφαλής. Μια απώλεια θα παίξει τον σημαντικότερο ρόλο και θα επηρεάσει μαζί με τον Κυβερνήτη και το αναγνωστικό κοινό. Άραγε θα άντεχε τέτοιο χτύπημα της μοίρας ένας καθόλα καλός χαρακτήρας; Μπορούμε να δώσουμε ένα ελαφρυντικό στον Φίλιπ ο οποίος πλέον λειτουργεί εκτός ορίων; Η δικαιοσύνη πληγώνεται, αρένες στήνονται και ο Κυβερνήτης που πρωτογνωρίσαμε από τα κόμικς με τον τίτλο «The Walking Dead» μετατρέπεται σε δικτάτορα.

Το βιβλίο “The Walking Dead: Η Άνοδος του Κυβερνήτη” αποτελεί ένα μυθιστόρημα που θα σας μεταφέρει σε έναν ζοφερό, αηδιαστικό κόσμο όπου οι δυνατές, γρήγορες περιγραφές τον κάνουν τρισδιάστατο με έντονες μυρωδιές και φρικιαστικές εικόνες. Τα πάντα είναι λιωμένα, βρωμερά, άρρωστα, έτσι ακριβώς όπως πρέπει να είναι ο κόσμος όπου κυριαρχούν τα ζόμπι. Ανεξάρτητη από όλες τις γνωστές ιστορίες του Walking Dead η ιστορία του Κυβερνήτη αποτελεί ένα μοναδικό βιβλίο για όποιον λατρεύει τις αφηγήσεις με τα ζόμπι ή θέλει να πραγματοποιήσει την πρώτη γνωριμία του με αυτά.

«Ο Διάολος βρήκε τρόπο να κρατά

τις ψυχές των ανθρώπων παγιδευμένες στη γη»

Δυνατές περιγραφές συνθέτουν έναν κόσμο που θα μπορούσε να είναι και πραγματικός, χαρακτήρες πολυδιάστατοι εξελίσσονται μέχρι την τελευταία στιγμή δίνοντας στον αναγνώστη ένα τέλος που ικανοποιεί την λαχτάρα των χορταστικών σελίδων. Οι ανατροπές τον δικαιώνουν και τα τελευταία κεφάλαια φέρνουν σταδιακά το τέλος δίνοντας το αίσθημα της πληρότητας ενώ η μετάφραση του βιβλίου στην ελληνική γλώσσα από τον Χρήστο Μπαρουξή γίνεται με αβίαστο τρόπο, αποδίδοντας με τον καλύτερο τρόπο την ένταση, τα συναισθήματα αλλά και τις συγκλονιστικές περιγραφές μεταφέροντας τον αναγνώστη στο αιματηρό σκηνικό που με μαεστρία συνθέτουν οι συγγραφείς.

-πρώτη κριτική στο RadioAlchemy.net https://goo.gl/gkoyqV
Profile Image for Charley Girl.
218 reviews17 followers
May 18, 2018
I listened to this book and it had my heart going. It freaked me out more than the show and I was cruising threw my chores that I was doing because of the adrenaline it made me feel. I gave it a 3 because after awhile, just like the show, I didn't want to go through the cycle of not having any supplies, biters coming, running, someone dies. Start over. Only so much I can take.

The characters are super though! Phillip goes from caring father to one loco muchacho! He lost every marble he ever had and maybe some that were lent to him. Phillips brother, Brian, is the sweet uncle to Penny and tries very hard not to feel like a loser and keep Penny's spirits up. Not a small task. Nick, is a good friend that is traveling with them but after seeing corpses eat people and hunt and try to kill him he becomes a bit unbalanced too.

They end up somewhere that is sort of safe but it is a series so there is more to come, but not for this reader.
Profile Image for Wendy.
600 reviews134 followers
October 13, 2013
The death of his beloved wife years earlier had already ruined Philip Blake’s life, leaving him with a single purpose: to care for and protect his daughter, Penny. This does not change when the zombie apocalypse hits, but his circle of protection expands to include his two best friends, and, unfortunately, his hapless, sickly brother Brian.

The Governor has been a frightening inclusion in The Walking Dead series, but as with all truly good antagonists, he is not simply mad and/or evil. This trilogy serves to reveal what made the enigmatic leader of Woodbury who he is by first showing us what he was and reminding us just how much of a struggle leadership is, especially when all the rules have gone out of the window. Variations of the phrase "do what you have to do" comes up often and with necessity. Although I figured out the plot twist from the first few pages, the journey was still worthwhile and I’m curious to see where the rest of the trilogy goes.

Interestingly, the book is written in present tense. I've seen this done in another book originally intended to be a comic and I wondered if that was the original intention for this. As an audiobook, the tense works well, amplifying the tension of the characters and events. 3.5 stars.

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Profile Image for Jim C.
1,509 reviews27 followers
November 17, 2015
This book is about one of this universe's most notable villains. The title says "Rise of the Governor" which would infer how he comes into power. That title is a little misleading as I would suggest "Change Into the Governor" but I guess that isn't as catchy. One does not need to have prior knowledge to read this book as this can be read as a stand alone novel.

The aspect I loved about this book is the author does a great job with the setting and the mood. This is set in the early days of the zombie apocalypse and the reader gets a real sense of how this is new to the characters and how this is all new to them. Also, one gets how desolate the world is now. The characters are strong personalities and one connects with them as they struggle to survive. The reason I gave this only a three star rating is that this book is based on the comic books and not the television series. I was basing it on the television series "Governor" and at times I was thrown for a loop as there were plot points where I said that is incorrect. When I continue with this series I will now know that it is a comic books connection.

This is a strong zombie novel that shows what books based on zombies are about. Survival. It was my fault why I didn't enjoy it more and if one knows what version this is based on I believe this will be a very enjoyable book.

Profile Image for Kandice.
1,537 reviews237 followers
November 9, 2014
This was not what I was expecting. I read the comics long before the show came out, but have since become a fan of the show as well. I occasionally find it hard to remember what happened in which. That sounds a bit silly, but for those of you that read and watch, you know what I mean. Story lines from the comic are revisited in the show but with different characters or timing, names change, but personalities stay the same or even vice-verse. That being said, this was very, very obviously the story of the comic governor, NOT the governor from the show.

Philip was a bit of a twist right from the start in my opinion. In this story we see that he begins his post zombie trek through life with his brother Brian, two good ol' boy buddies (it is Georgia) and his daughter Penny. It's a pretty common story about how they survive, get from here to there,and so on, until...it's not. I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that by the end of the book the governor is alone.

I won't spoil anything, but know, going in, that the governor is not who, and or what, you think he is. The world he lives in made him what he becomes, but that man was always coiled and waiting in his guts.

Profile Image for  Hanka.
20 reviews
January 30, 2023
Jsem naprosto zklamána mou mozkovnou, že jsem si zapomněla za ty roky tuto knížku ohodnotit a označit jako přečtenou! Četla jsem ji několik let zpátky a je to jedna z mých fav knih vzhledem k tomu, že postapokalyptické téma je přesně můj šálek čaje ❤️
Když jsem se teď vrátila ke hraní The Walking dead od Telltales games, vzpomněla jsem si, že jsem lemra lína a nedočetla jsem další díly.
Tahle kniha je předloha pro komiksy i pro samotný seriál a nakonec vlastně i pro herní serii, u které brečim naprosto pokaždé. Kirkman je bůh těch nejznámějších zombie a ja se nevidím, že je to tak popularni... Autor ma možnost se zaměřit na rozvoj osobností v tak nezvykle náročné době a co si budem, spousta lidí miluje příběhy, kde se hlavní hrdinové snaží přežít... Ať už ztroskotají, jsou na vesmírné lodi s mimozemšťanem nebo bojují proti nakaženým zombie lidem.
Vlastně... The last of us je toho taky dobrým příkladem ale to už patří do jiné skupiny... Ehm ehm... Je to supr ale já jsem stále věrná Kirkmanovi 😂...
No prostě si tu odkládam hodnocení, protože mám v plánu se k tomu vrátit. Moje the walking dead fáze ještě neskončila, jen se po krátkém spánku probrala 😂
Možná kdybych to četla teď, dala bych tomu 4 hvězdičky, ale v mých vzpomínkách byla ta kniha top strop. Peace!
*Odhazuji mikrofon*
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