Horror Book Reviews

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

Holy origin story Batman! Rise of the Governor takes a look into the past of one of the most notorious villains of The Walking Dead series, Philip Blake, otherwise known as The Governor. The story starts at the beginning of the apocalypse and follows Blake as he eventually makes his way to the town of Woodbury. As the days pass, Blake makes a slow descent into madness, becoming The Governor that comic and television fans of the series know so well.

“It ain’t the dead things you gotta be mindful of around here … it’s the living.”

This is a strong first entry into The Walking Dead book series and it added so much to the character of The Governor. After reading the books it made his later appearance with Rick’s group that much more troubling to me knowing his full history. Rise of the Governor presents an interesting new cast of characters and does a wonderful job at developing them throughout the story. Things go wrong quickly and there is a lot of action to keep the book moving. The characters develop quite well and in not so predictable ways. The universe that Kirkman built becomes even creepier in the novelization and I love it.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the nod to the comics at the Wiltshire Estates and a particular sign that comic book fans might recognize. I really love these sorts of small connections to the rest of the series that add some interesting new layers.

Overall I found Rise of the Governor to be an enjoyable read. I loved many of the characters in the book and was blown away by how the events played out. Maybe I’m biased because I’m already a fan, but I don’t really care. Any fan of The Walking Dead series, whether it be the television show, the comics, or the video games will enjoy this origin story. If you haven’t gotten into The Walking Dead series yet but are a lover of zombies, this is an excellent place to start.

Title: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor
Series: The Walking Dead #1
Author: Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
Number of Pages: 320
Format: Ebook
Source: Purchased

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.


  1. I love origin stories! There’s something so fulfilling to take a character you know and love (or perhaps, in this case, hate) and providing them even greater depth.
    I haven’t read any of The Walking Dead comics, nor seen the TV show, but it sounds like this is well connected. You said this is the first book release? Do you know if there are other books planned?

    Great review, Jamie!

    1. The books are a few years old now and there is a series out now. 🙂 The books came out a little before the TV show covered this story arc and they took pieces from the book and comics for that season.

      I read the comics and enjoyed it, and loved that the books were released to really develop the character of The Governor. To my knowledge the rest of the books cover all of the hidden events that led to some huge events that happen in the story. Since the comics are only told from the POV of Rick and his band of survivors you don’t really get what was going on with the other side.

  2. So, this isn’t one of the comics, its an actual book?

    1. Yup! There is a book series that revolves around the Governor and follows the comic series of events as to how he fell. The TV show took heavy inspiration from the books for the final arc. 🙂

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