Brian's Reviews > Rise of the Governor

Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman
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's review
Nov 08, 2011

did not like it

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?

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
November 8, 2011 – Shelved
November 8, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Jacobi Brian, one very small defense for this book is it appears to be the first in a trilogy. So future books (I surely won't be reading) could seek to explain why or how Brian becomes the real Governor.

If it wasn't for Max Brook's work, showing how effective zombies can be in prose (some of the accounts of attacks in WWZ are chilling), I would think I just prefer zombies in comics and films.

message 2: by Brian (last edited Nov 12, 2011 11:22AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Brian I is my understanding that this book is the only one dealing with the governor. Each book will take one of the other interesting, yet unfleshed-out characters. For example, a book detailing the outbreak in the prison from Axel's POV.

Jacobi wrote: "Brian, one very small defense for this book is it appears to be the first in a trilogy. So future books (I surely won't be reading) could seek to explain why or how Brian becomes the real Governor...."

Jacobi Hmm, well that's interesting. I would love to see Michonne's story up until she joined Rick and the rest of the crew, but I would rather have that be an original graphic novel, than another book.

Jesse I agree that the book is crap but not for the same exact reasons. But yeah, a lot of the climax was anti clamatic and definitely a cop out. Also I didn't want to feel sympathy or empathy for the Governor and yet this book tried to force you too. And the writing isn't great either... Shame, since the comics are solo good.

Paweł Thanks, now I don't have to read the remaining 100 pages, because I've been struggling with this horrible book for weeks. I'm a fan of the TV series (the best zombie thing on both the small and big screen that I've seen), but have never read the comic. Looks like I knew who would become the Governor since the beginning, it was so obvious. (view spoiler) was the obvious candidate to choose if you wanted a plot twist - but unfortunately since he is the obvious choice, it means he is the worst choice, too. No kudos for the author...

Tb35 Personally I thought it was great but that's just me

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