Title: The Walking Dead, Book 1: Rise of the Governor (Governor Trilogy)
Author: Robert Kirman and Jay Bonansinga
Being the ultimate fan of The Walking Dead as I am, this was of course an obvious choice of novel for me when it came to finding something to read. In fact, I was super excited to find out that these novels even existed in the first place – I got the first two for Christmas 2016 and I’ve almost finished the collection since then.
However, despite being a big fan, I was rather sceptical of these books to start off with; believe it or not. Before receiving it as a gift for Christmas, I got a sample of the novel on my Kindle first. When the sample ran out – as samples do – my first reaction was panic, because I had to know where that mystery family member was that they couldn’t locate in the first house the Blake brothers visit at the start of the story.
Of course, I started reading and – in true Walking Dead style – I was thrown into the middle of the action and, as soon as I was caught up to where the sample ended, the next chapter started and was something completely different.
“Classic Walking Dead,” I thought as I frantically read and thumbed through the pages.
I think this is what made my review so high on this book, was the fact that it was written out very similar to that of an episode you’d watch of the show on television. As you’re mid-action and desperate to know what happens, the story jumps to another characters perspective, or to an earlier time of day, or even to a few weeks back and all you can think is, “How dare you do this to me? I have to know what is happening!” So you sit closer to the edge of your seat and continue flicking through pages and pages until you finally find yourself at the end, in withdrawals and desperate for more, as though it’s some new and addictive kind of drug.
What I enjoyed most about this book is that it wasn’t about the main team, it was taking an infamous side character and fleshing him out even more. Who is Brian Blake? Does anyone even know? Can he really be the Governor if he is such a coward?
To make thinks clear now, as it did get slightly confusing for me as I read: The Governor’s real name is Brian Blake, in the comics and the books, however, in the television series he uses the name Philip Blake, and this is revealed in the books as to why (If you’re happy with spoilers, then I have written why at the very bottom of this review: don’t look if you don’t like spoilers). Philip is Brian’s brother, and Philip does feature in the book as a main character which is why I wanted to strike the confusion now.
The story starts off with the Blake brothers, Philip and Brian (Brian is the oldest). Accompanying them is Philip’s daughter, Penny, and Philip’s two good friends Nick Parsons and Bobby Marsh. As the plot begins to unfold we follow our group of survivors from the starting days of the breakout. The group have been held up in a private neighbourhood in Wiltshire Estates when they hear rumours of safe-zones in Atlanta. The story follows the group as they try to make their way to this rumoured safe haven, meeting and loosing people along the way and encountering issues one faces in a dead world.
Without giving too much away, towards the end we are left with only three characters who find their way to Woodbury’s gates. The place is a mess and a struggle of people fighting one another instead of sticking together, but, of course, as fans would know, The Governor soon straightens all that out.
I personally felt that this book was a great addition to the fandom and gives fans more of an insight into the changing world Brian Blake goes through and that ultimately turns him into the man we know in the series. Whether you’re a crazy fan like myself and want everything the series has to offer, or you just want to enjoy a little something extra Walking Dead related, then this is something you may want to get your hands on. I thoroughly look forward to reading the rest of the series and seeing what it has in store.
Still waiting to find something Walking Dead that doesn’t make me cry but what would this series be if it didn’t break a few hearts, am I right?
I hope that for anyone picking this book up, they enjoy it as much as I did.
Until next time, keep turning those pages.
Highlight below to see the spoilers – only if you want spoilers!
Philip dies as a result of his own actions. Shocked by what happened, and thinking that even in the end Philip was a good man, Brian is rattled and upset by what happens. After standing up to a man in Woodbury, the community asks Brian for his name. He hesitates before finally deciding to introduce himself as Philip Blake – in memory of his brother, and thus becoming everything his brother stood for.