Last night marked the season finale of one of my favorite shows, The Walking Dead. If you’re anything like me you are wondering how you’re going to get your fix while the show if off the air. Well, you’re in luck; St. Martin’s Press has a great companion piece for fans in their Walking Dead series of books. I had a chance to read two of these books; Fall of the Governor Part 1 (Released in October 2013) and the newly released Fall of the Governor Part 2 which just came out March 4th both written by creator Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga (The Killer’s Game). Before I delve too much into it I wanted to give a brief overview of each book.
Fall of the Governor: Part 1 follows the main protagonist Lilly Caul as she lives day to day as a resident of Woodbury. As supplies and patience run low in Woodbury the veneer of Philip Blake (aka The Governor) starts to disappear and the people he leads start to see him for what he really is. A surprise visit from a group of survivors that have taken hold at a nearby prison fuels the monstrous revelation of his true self.
Fall of the Governor: Part 2 picks up immediately after the end of the previous book (it could be argued that a single book would have worked just as well) with The Governor having been defeated and injured by Michonne. His has to pick up the pieces and finds some salvation in a character we have seen previously but develops quite a bit. Unfortunately, The Governor cannot deny his true nature and ultimately becomes his own downfall.
First, I must emphasize that this book series is highly geared towards fans of the comic book series. Descriptions of characters are very much in line with the comic book and fans of the television series might find that a bit odd in contrast to how they envision characters in their mind. Some of the plot lines also do not entirely gel with that of the television series but, generally speaking, the series is close enough that it really shouldn’t be a problem for TV fans only.
The most interesting aspect of these books is the perspective. Previously we had seen Woodbury from an outsider’s prospective but these turn that around and have a point of view from within the town itself. We see who lives there, what daily life is like, what they do to survive, and the general culture. It’s really quite interesting to see what it is, exactly, that the characters we know and love (Rick, Michonne, Glenn, etc) were walking into and how their actions impacted people and decisions.
There is a lot more insight to character development than we have seen before. This is especially true of Michonne, who is the primary target of the Governor’s brutality. Her revenge on the Governor makes a lot more sense and is, in a sense, more satisfying. Some insight is offered into the mind and motivations of the Governor, although not too much which may have been intentional to leave a little mystique to his role. The primary character in both books, Lilly Caul, is a well-rounded character that we are able to watch grow throughout the whole story. In all honesty this is more her story than anybody else.
At times the pacing is a little slow. This is primarily due to extensive descriptions of people and locations that can tend to pull you out of the story. However, the flip side of this is that much of the gore associated with the television series and comic book seems magnified in the books. Deaths are much more descriptive and gruesome and your mind will make you see things worse than any makeup artist could conjure up.
Overall, the books are a really fun read. If you are a fan of the comics you will love it and if you are only familiar with the TV series you certainly won’t be lost and should have no problems with the minor differences. It’s a fairly quick read with many breaks for you micro-readers that like to pick up a book here and there or when taking a break at work. It’s an interesting look at the universe that you already know and you might learn some things about your favorite characters you never knew.