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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Robert Kirkman & Jay Bonansinga: "The Walking Dead: The Fall of the Governor: Part One"

Title:  The Fall of the Governor: Part One        
Plot Type:  Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Horror  
Publisher:  Thomas Dunne Books (hardback, e-book, and audiobook, 10/2013) (paperback, 6/2014)
Next Book: The Fall of the Governor: Part Two (3/2014)

     If you thought that this was the final book, think again. Part two won't be out until March, 2014. This novel is the third of four books in this lopsided "trilogy": Click HERE to read my review of The Rise of the GovernorClick HERE to read my review of The Road to Woodbury.   

     The Rise of the Governor follows Philip Blake as he transforms himself into the Governor of Woodbury, Georgia, a town of survivors. The Road to Woodbury follows the adventures of Lilly Caul and her friends as they lose most of their traveling buddies to the walkers before joining the Governor's followers in Woodbury. Mostly, this novel is an update on Lilly's life, with a spicy side dish of Michonne's torturous experiences with the Governor. Although some of the events in the book (e.g., the amputated hand) loosely parallel those on the TV show, the book-based events occur in slightly altered waysplaying out in different story sequences and happening to entirely different people. Click HERE to read my review of The Rise of the Governor. Click HERE to read my review of The Road to Woodbury

     It has been 28 months since the outbreak of the zombie plague, and the Governor has turned Woodbury into a well-guarded, relatively secure, dictatorship where his word is the only law. His loyal and well-armed top lieutenants ensure that his every wish is carried out. As the book opens, it's Gladiator Night in Woodbury, and the townspeople are enjoying some faked, but bloody, battles between two of the Governor's muscle-bound (and muscle-brained) henchmen. The Governor wants his people entertained and happy so that no one tries to second guess his decisions or cause any trouble. 

     The 18 chapters proceed along several story lines, but with no primary plot:

     Lilly Caul: In The Road to Woodbury, Lilly lost two of her closest friendsone to suicide and one to murderand she is still grieving for them. Austin Ballard, a young, handsome newcomer has been hitting on her, but she has been holding him off. On a supply run with a few others, Austin and Lilly team up, save each other's lives, and become friendsand then lovers. Lilly's romance is completely predictable; it's quite easy to figure out what's going to happen as a result of her relationship with Austin. 
We need Daryl
to liven up
the action!

     Rick Grimes and friends: Meanwhile, Rick, Glenn, and Michonne (NOT Maggie, Glenn, and Merle) arrive in Woodbury on a scouting mission only to be captured and tortured by the Governor. Michonne gets some particularly cruel treatment, and the reader gets a ringside view of her bloody revenge. (Note: Am I the only one who believes that a character named Daryl Dixon would greatly improve these books?)

     The Governor: Although Woodbury is as safe as it can possibly be in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, the Governor is pathologically suspicious of all outsiders who stumble into town. His sociopathic side takes over in several scenes, particularly those in which he murders an injured woman and tortures Michonne. Frequently, he seethes with rage when confronted by Dr. Stevens, who doesn't hold back on his caustic verbal opposition to the Governor's methods. Penny, the Governor's zombie child, is still "alive" and existing in the Governor's apartment, where he feeds her the body parts of recently dead humans.

     This book has even more scenes of graphic gore than the other two books, but the story lines are definitely weaker and they lack suspense, drama, and cohesion. In fact, that's the major problem with the book: too much description and not enough plot. Once again, my mental pictures of the zombie scenes are a series of graphic novel cellsstop-action snapshots filled with dripping gore, slimy guts, blackened limbs, and snapping jaws. Unlike the zombie scenes, the torture of Michonne isn't directly described, but the Governor's rabid, maniacal rage and the stomach-turning after-effects are laid out in great detail. Let's hope that the final book has a real plot.

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