With the new season debuting this fall, with every Walking Dead fan’s favorite villain making his appearance, and with another Walking Dead novel coming out in October, it seems a good a time as any to talk about “The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor.”
I do enjoy zombie novels (even though I refuse to read them at night. A girl only makes that mistake ONCE) and Walking Dead is high on my list of favorite zombie tomes. But from the first few pages, one thing is clear: If you haven’t read the comics, the novel won’t be as fun. Oh, you’ll get it; zombies bad. Eat the living. That sucks for them. But the foundations the comics built are important to understanding some of the little nuances in this book.
I wanted to love this book, I really did. But it suffers from the same dragging as the show; long stretches of time where nothing is happening. Of course, don’t get attached to anyone. It’s just not worth it. I had a hard time feeling anything for these characters anyway since they all seem to be set up to fit into the inevitable events in the comic. The writing isn’t impressive. Very drab and full of clichés. Unless there’s zombie killin to be done. Then there’s some pretty stomach churning descriptions.
The title is deceptive. It’s not so much the “Rise of the Governor” more like “The 320 Page Slog To Get The Guy Who Will Be The Governor To The Town He Needs To Be In.” I'd want to know that but it's not why I picked up the book. I was hoping for more insight to how to the plague started; figuring it was part of how this man came to be. And when you get to the end… Oh, the ending…
This made just about as much sense. (Source)
Alright, I grew up on Twilight Zone. I love me a good twist ending. But this wasn’t so much of a twist as a surefire way to make me throw the book across the room. I won’t spoil it for you but in this humble librarian’s opinion, the ending was a twist for the sake of a twist; lacking in sense and destroying the continuity. The Governor in the comic doesn’t quite make sense now that I’ve read the novel. I read the novel for clarity, because I wanted to know how such a twisted and violent man got to be so freakin awful and all I got was more confused.
Perhaps the next installment will explain how a man is capable of what The Governor did in the graphic novels. For now, if you like this villain, you may want to skip this book. Unless you want to just read a zombie book with Kirkman's name on it. Then by all means, go for it. Lenni suggests getting it from your local library.