The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor
By Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga; Read by Fred Berman
10.5 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Themes: / Horror / Zombies / Survival / Post-apocalypse / Evil /
“It may be confidently asserted that no man chooses evil, because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” — Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Men
Because I enjoyed the TV series so much, I was eager to listen to this. My expectations were not too high because (1) it’s a media tie-in and (2) it’s an origin story. Those are not a pair of my very favorite things, but I’m delighted to report that this is a very good novel. There is plenty of zombie mayhem, but foremost this is a horror story in the tradition of Stephen King. In other words, it’s not about the zombies but about people and what monsters bring out in them.
It’s also a satisfying origin story. I knew going in that The Governor (Philip Blake) was an exceptional bad guy. The story of his journey from normalcy to that level of bad could not have been an easy story to tell, but job well done. It was both compelling and surprising. Most importantly, I found the characters and their actions believable. Often reprehensible, sometimes jaw-dropping, but believable. As Philip Blake, his brother, his daughter, and others make their way to Atlanta in their suddenly changed and extremely violent world, I was forced to ask myself what I’d do in their situation, and I wasn’t always comfortable with my answers.
As far as I know, this is the first time I’ve heard a Fred Berman narration. There’s a lot of grisly uncomfortable stuff here, and I can’t imagine another narrator handling it better. I look forward to hearing him again soon. I’m not ready for another intense zombie novel, though. Maybe he’s narrated something with puppies.
Posted by Scott D. Danielson