Title: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor
Author: Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
Number of Pages: 320
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.
“It ain’t the dead things you gotta be mindful of around here … it’s the living.”
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.
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.
Strengths: Crazy good character development, great story
Weaknesses: Can’t think of any complaints, this is a pretty great book
Warnings: Language, violence, rape