Title: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor
Series: The Walking Dead Series # 1
Author: Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga
Source: Personal Library
Buy Links: AMZ/BN/TBD
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.
Case File: The Governor/Awkward Cursing/Unexpected Plot Twist/ Rape
Rating: 3 out 5
Can I just say this is not what I expected from the novel, I’m so conflicted because I want to scream and cry because I wanted to love it but I just like it.
The man who we know as the Governor is Philip Blake who is traveling with Penny, his daughter, his buddies, Nick and Bobby, and Brian, his brother to Atlanta because of the mystical refugee camp that lies there. The idea of Woodbury is implanted early on when Philip and the gang make a barrier around houses in a wealthy neighborhood but it fails so they continue to Atlanta. Oh Atlanta, how it lures men in with the promise of salvation only to damn them.
Philip Blake is one messed up character. Right from the start, he is inherently a dark person who hears voices but thrives in a walker-dominated world. It was upsetting because it seem like the Governor was just born evil and that is not true. People become evil in life because of reasons a, b, c, take your pick. I was expecting a slow descent into madness and I did not get that. I did get the awkward cursing which is so not how I imagined the Governor would curse. He becomes darker after Penny’s death but he was right on the brink of madness prior to her death. Brian, Philip’s older brother, is a weakling who struggles morally and ethically with killing the walkers and he never really descents into darkness. He just stands by watching horrible events happen but he doesn’t participate in them and makes very weak attempts at stopping them. The brothers are really different from each other. Nick becomes a religious person who is the moral compass of the group and that divides Brian between his psychotic brother and morality.
The plot twist is interesting but I don’t believe it. It should have been obvious because of whose perspective we are reading from but I didn’t see it until the Woods Showdown. Doesn’t change the fact that it is unbelievable because this character had not had any dark scenes that show that he was capable of committing such an attack. He doesn’t have the cajones as Philip says in the novel. I don’t know what is more upsetting, The Governor’s portrayal or the plot twist. The character’s personality does not support the plot twist. It does solve the problem of the Governor’s portrayal but then it’s not dark enough for the Governor. And somehow, it makes the Governor suffer from an identity crisis and makes the third season of TWD even more messed up because of what we learned about the Governor through the show.
The novel would make a fantastic TV Movie, especially for fans of The Walking Dead, I would totally watch it. As a novel, it fails in certain departments because there is no character description, I don’t know if Brian or Nick have black hair or how tall they are. I was using David Morrissey as a stand in for Philip Blake because he was not physically described. The novel expects you to have some knowledge about the show/comic already. It was a good novel in that it provides a background for the Governor but it is not a standalone novel because it relies on the show’s background which is perfect if you are a fan and don’t need details about it. TWD: Rise of the Governor should not be used as an introduction to the series, get comics or the TV show for that.
The novel is dark like the comics; there are two rape scenes and a potential one. Take it as a warning because that was upsetting to me. They are not too graphic but the second one is more unsettling.. There’s no torture in the book, just a messed up father-daughter relationship after Penny dies but we all knew that.
In the end, The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor is a decent novel for fans of The Walking Dead. It accomplishes its goal of providing a background for the Governor and that’s all there is to it.