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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:31 pm 
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Got this book a year ago. Read into chapter 5 and put it down and just picked it back up last week as my little step-daughter got me the second book The Road to Wilbury for Xmas.

In a nutshell: If you are not a The Walking Dead fan (show or comic) this book will be just another mediocre zombie novel. I hate those myself and have read plenty. I am a TWD fanboy so the Rise of the Governor has enough nods to the TWD universe that it is enjoyable and makes sense to me.

For us fans the book tells the backstory of one of the most infamous villians we've had so far, The Governor, giving more depth and detail to a universe that is steeped in things left un-figured out or explained. Part of the comic book's style is the isolation of communication that takes place in a ZPAW. Our protagonists don't know what's going on in the world outside of their immediate visual range and neither does the reader, whole plot-lines are based off this. This book pertains to the comic book version 90% of the time but can also add to the TV show version as well. Depends on what direction the TV show version goes though as that storyline is not resolved at the time I type this.

I am halfway through it so bear with me as I type about a book I am only halfway through.

We start with Phillip and Brian, brothers. Phillip is the younger, stronger, more charismatic and "cooler" of the 2. Brian is the older brother who is kind of the nerdy loser. They are in their 30s.

We also have Penny, Phillip's young daughter. She is 7 years old and all fucked up now. Her mother (Phillip's wife) died a few years ago in a car crash.

Then there is Nick and Bobby - cool Phillip's friends for life. Both are equally frazzled and flawed and it is apparent in the first chapter they are there becasue of Phillip as opposed to any other reason.

We start the book about a week into the ZPAW. Our protagonists are in a gated "McMansion" community that us TWD fans will recognize within the first few pages. We go through the whole trope of "ZPAW survivors figure out it's zombies, head shots, and find gear" process and then they come up with a plan as the McMnsion 'hood turns out to be a sucky place to be. They load up on gear looted from upper middle class to lower upper class homes and hit the road to Atlanta as all the last transmissions said it was where to go.

Some bad things happen and Phillip, our brave leader, uses raw emotion and luck to fight his way through with axes and a Ruger MkII pistol. Not all the things that he does are good.

Though I am not finished with the book yet, and I know where we end up from the comics, I have a feeling I know what is going to happen.

Some of my problems with the book, other than being full of tropes and catering to TWD fans, is editing:
1) It seems as though the writer (billed as Robert Kirkman and Jay Bowisinga ... and I am assuming Kirkman just oversaw the book while Bowisinga actually wrote it) is following to a "T" the creative writing 101 rule of "never use a descriptive term more than once in a story" rule. A little too much. The guy is burning up that thesaurus like it's a cold night and he 'aint got no wood to burn in his hobo stove.
2) It seems to me whole sentences were edited out as opposed to modified and shortened or whatever. I just read a part where our protagonists where:
a. doing something
b. one of them saw a thing and went "oh shit"
c. they all reacted to it and were really freaked out
A full page goes by before we find out what it was that freaked them out so much, it was in a style that made it seem we should've already known what it was. Looked to me editing just cut a sentence or 2 in the beginning of that sequence and didn't do any kind of editorializing to replace the cut.

I will add more to this as I finish up the book.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:13 pm 
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Uh-Oh!! They met some other survivors and most are female and there is talk of boobs and stuff. You can tell something "sexy" is going to happen because it looks like this:

Her face, caked in grime and dirt, is actually a porceline skinned face with ripe lips. Phillip sees this when she raises the hand-rolled cigarette to her mouth to pull a drag. He then notices her moon-breasts are much larger than he initially percieved as she keeps them under that baggy sweatshirt covered in dirt and ichor from the undead. ...

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:27 pm 
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"Moon Breasts". :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:54 pm 
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ninja-elbow wrote:
Uh-Oh!! They met some other survivors and most are female and there is talk of boobs and stuff. You can tell something "sexy" is going to happen because it looks like this:

Her face, caked in grime and dirt, is actually a porceline skinned face with ripe lips. Phillip sees this when she raises the hand-rolled cigarette to her mouth to pull a drag. He then notices her moon-breasts are much larger than he initially percieved as she keeps them under that baggy sweatshirt covered in dirt and ichor from the undead. ...

[Spoiler]Prepare for a disappointment..... Or more accurately, a severe twist in that particular story arc.[/Spoiler]

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:54 pm 
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Have you read the second book yet Rick'O? I'm trying to rip through this one and am wondering if it gets cooler?

I, sort of , actually like this one and am enjoying the "bad writing" like it is some inside hipster joke. I thouroughly love the nods to the comic book and really like the connections being made.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:57 pm 
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I've had an on-going joke, 2 decades now?, regarding sci-fi, action, and horror writers failing at any kind of eroticism or anything remotely close to a human to human relationship of the naked and/or romantic kind. This stems from reading Steve Perry's Matador series. That guy can write a knife fight but can't right a love-scene if he got paid.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:12 pm 
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RickOShea wrote:
ninja-elbow wrote:
Uh-Oh!! They met some other survivors and most are female and there is talk of boobs and stuff. You can tell something "sexy" is going to happen because it looks like this:

Her face, caked in grime and dirt, is actually a porceline skinned face with ripe lips. Phillip sees this when she raises the hand-rolled cigarette to her mouth to pull a drag. He then notices her moon-breasts are much larger than he initially percieved as she keeps them under that baggy sweatshirt covered in dirt and ichor from the undead. ...

[Spoiler]Prepare for a disappointment..... Or more accurately, a severe twist in that particular story arc.[/Spoiler]


Oh Snap! I was just Kirkmanized!! :shock:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:17 am 
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ninja-elbow wrote:
Have you read the second book yet Rick'O? I'm trying to rip through this one and am wondering if it gets cooler?

Yeah, I read Road to Woodbury a couple months ago. I kind of liked it more than Rise, just because it delves deeper into some of the ancillary characters from the GNs, specifically Lily Caul, Bob Stookey & Caesar Martinez.

Also, you get to see just how screwed-up Woodbury really was. Even with the Guv taking over and running the show, it was probably more dangerous behind the walls, than on the outside.


As far as the first book goes, the thing that surprised me the most was how fast the plague spread. Wiltshire Estates is completely overrun after what seems like only three or four days, and the McMansions were filled with whole families that had turned (but, IIRC, there wasn't much mention of them showing signs of being bitten).

Also, Atlanta is filled with 6 million zombies after only two weeks. :shock: ......It almost seems like the initial infection actually killed people, and only a small percentage of the population weren't killed by it because they had some sort of immunity. Or perhaps, the intial infection was fatal, but people in the more rural areas were exposed to a 2nd gen form that had mutated into a less lethal version?


ETA: Here's a thought, perhaps General Ripper was right and the fluoridation of water has polluted our "precious bodily fluids".......and all of The Walking Dead survivors had been drinking untreated well water. :crazy:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:05 pm 
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I was (have been since the first year of the comics) wondered that myself. Seems to me it was writer over-sight turned plot device. Perfectly reasonable, I do it all the time in my home-brew PF/DnD games. :wink: Your assessment seems totally viable and what I was going with too if one wants to over-think it.

First reading the book and they are in Wilshire. Find out a chapter in it's 5 days into the ZPAW. How does a whole family (7 people in the house) die and turn before that 5 days? Granted, it's not like:
Tuesday - All conditions normal and honkey-dorey. Grilled cheese sandwiches and lattes. Yoga at 7pm.
Wednesday morning - ZPAW! Cars on fire, mohawked biker gangs, millions of Biters, looting for supplies, kid-zombie tied up in attic.

For our protagonists Wednesday morning only took 2 weeks :lol:

ETA: I'm at the part they just lost the peach farm and are running around in the orchards now with no gear.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:26 pm 
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ninja-elbow wrote:
ETA: I'm at the part they just lost the peach farm and are running around in the orchards now with no gear.

Seems like a major theme in the books, even more so than in the GNs, is "survival by accident".....And not necessarily survival of the fittest.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:14 pm 
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The genre is rife with that. It's I like our boys, Tony Faville and Raptorman's books (Kings of the Dead and Day by Day... respectively) so much. These books have preppers in them and there is still plenty of drama and conflict to get through. It's part of our human and 1st world condition though:
1) We like rags to riches stories more than person of means gains more means stories. <<< Preppers being analogized loosely as "people of means".
2) We like a good "shopping" sequence in our entertainment. We travel and hit up gift bazzars for cheap loot. We play RPGs (table top and video) that a core mechanic is "shopping". We like a good shopping/gearing up scene in our movies and TV shows. Popular threads on ZS are gear lists. The number one trope in ZPAW media is "shit, I'm naked ... must find an abandonned store...". We battle this trope daily on the ZS forums and F2F when I do chapter outreach.

I can see where this book is going, so I understand the reason for the trope being so heavy in the story. The colonial peach farm house is what, the 3rd time they have been in "oh shit, naked..." phase? I did just finish up that sequence and am glad it was resolved and turned around so quickly. We are now in aftermath. Since I know the overall outcome (The Governor) I can see why
***** SPOILER *******
one of the Blake brothers (I'm guessing here)
*****/SPOILER********
becomes him.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:27 pm 
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I'm no child psychologist, and I'm fairly certain that the writers aren't either, but it's interesting how the more they try to shield Penny from what's going on, the worse she gets. Where as Lil Carl was "packing heat" and shooting walkers as far back as the Atlanta camp.

But it's probably just the writers falling back into the stereotype of girls being "dainty, and in need of protection", and the boys being told to "toughen-up and walk it off".

Sadly, you'll see more of the "defenseless/helpless" young women and girls stereotype in Road to Woodbury. :|

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:47 pm 
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That's another general trope I am tired of and not on a "feminism" level but an "old-ass played-ass trope" level. Unfortunately the opposite is what we get when there is a change-up. Women are either helpless or just a female version of some shitty male arch-type. They either stay helpless or have to "become" men. One of the reasons I am such an Alien/Aliens fan is Rippley - not helpless but not a macho personification of Mack Bolan in female form either.

In this book we have:
Penny - 7 year old that is fucked up and as soon as she adapts she gets whacked. The catalyst that breaks the camel's back and sends Phillip off the deep end.
April - Phillip's victim. Starts off as a plucky gal that can handle her own but is later... well, we know.
Tara - Strongest female character we get - and she is fat, ugly, bitchy, and undesirable.
"Cher" - Junky turn raider turn another Phillip victim.

What I do like now is the exposition we get os what "created" The Governor - a character we all think of as a creepy asshole that has some power. We now get to see where that came from.That is the only reason I finished Star Wars I-III. I've always liked stories that contained some aspect of "evil is not born, evil is created".

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:59 pm 
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ninja-elbow wrote:
What I do like now is the exposition we get os what "created" The Governor - a character we all think of as a creepy asshole that has some power. We now get to see where that came from.That is the only reason I finished Star Wars I-III. I've always liked stories that contained some aspect of "evil is not born, evil is created".

[Spoiler]He has a couple of Smeagol/Gollum "episodes" in Road to Woodbury.[/Spoiler]

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:40 am 
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Finished. It was kind of awesome - coming from the standpoint I am a fan of the comics and TV show. My guess was right about who actually becomes the Governor too. I had a feeling something was up with the story and I enjoyed the little twist.

Except: "6 rounds of deadly .38 caliber hollowpoint Glaser Safety Slugs..." :roll: Man, writers need some gun education or at least some advisment on simple technicalities. I know a dude that does it as a side job (Rory Miller - http://chirontraining.com/Site/Home.html)...(Just met him this last Orycon and he "advises" many local authors on militaria, fighting, et al. and does a great panel on the subject at cons as well).

I have 2 recommendations:

If you are a The Walking Dead fan - get this book and read it. It expands a lot on the world you are a fan of.

If you are not a TWD fan - this book will be low on your list of zombie books to read. Nothing new or innovative for you. Give it a try if you want though and you may get into the comics and TV show.

Now, I wonder, how much of this book is canon for the TV show?

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