Another two months have passed and our group of Readers have finally finished the second instalment from our book club. This time, Sarahjane joined myself, Lesley and Nikki for a trip into the apocalyptic landscape of a zombie ravaged Georgia in the form of my novel choice – ‘The Walking Dead – Rise of the Governor’.
This book has been sitting on my shelf for a few years now, after I was gifted it in a workplace Secret Santa, so I thought it was about time I gave it a read, especially as I love ‘The Walking Dead’ so much! You can find it on Amazon for various prices, and Waterstones have it in stock for £7.99. Obviously, I didn’t pay a penny as it was a gift, but both Lesley and Nikki managed to get it for just over £4 on the Kindle.
Written by horror author Jay Bonansinga and ‘The Walking Dead’ creator Robert Kirkman, the story follows the infamous character of The Governor as he begins his journey after the dead start to rise. Split into three parts, we follow Phillip (aka The Governor) as he tries to protect his family and friends while battling through herds of shambling corpses.
The book starts out at quite a slow pace, and I found it very difficult maintain any sort of reading momentum. Perhaps it was the writing style (I don’t often read third person novels) or perhaps it was the initial lack of events in the storyline, the opening of the book just wasn’t what I was used to after watching the TV series or reading the comics. Sarahjane mentioned that the structuring of the chapters was often difficult to follow and read more like an episode of the show rather than a novel – this from someone who’s first encounter with ‘The Walking Dead’ was this book.
Despite these initial grumblings, the action soon increases and the group are continually forced to find new ways in which to deal with their predicament. After surrendering a gated suburban community to a sea of zombies (a setting which will be familiar to fans of the comics) the band of survivors head further into the city of Atlanta, looking for help. When it becomes clear that city life is also not feasible, a series of events are set in place which ultimately lead the characters towards the familiar town of Woodbury.
Throughout the storyline, the characters develop and adapt as best they can to their new way of life, and the reader is given an insight into how a relatively ordinary man became the ruthless and feared ‘Governor’ of a small band of survivors. Although the author is counting on many of the readers thinking they know at least some of Philip Blake’s backstory, as a fan of the franchise, I did not see the ending coming! This was a welcome surprise and really helped to cement my high opinion of the book in general.
While everyone seemed to enjoy this book much better than the last, some are suggesting that it could have been longer. Both Nikki and Lesley argue that, while we do understand The Governor better after reading his backstory, we still have not seen his ‘rise’ as a leader and that the title of the story itself is misleading. I would partially argue against this, but cannot support this claim without giving away too many spoilers. Regardless of this, I would urge anyone to go and read this book. I’m reluctant to rate anything as perfect, but (like last time) I think this deserves 4.5/5! I’ve already started the sequel – The Walking Dead – The Road to Woodbury – and imagine this will be just as good!
Our next book is Sarahjane’s choice and takes us on a journey through time – ‘The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August’ by Claire North. Join us again in September and find out how we get on with the next one!