Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Walking Dead: Rise Of The Governor

Ah the not so fantastic delights of wheneverly updates! Comes down to reading a lot, but not having ideas about what to put together as a review for you. But since I read a lot of cult stuff or those with a very small fan base, what's the point in writing about it if you don't recognise it?
But todays review comes down to the fact that yes I have an idea for a review and also because it's twenty past five in the morning, I have work in a few hours and I haven't been able to get any sleep, despite having worked last night and spending an hour in the gym beasting my lazy muscles back into some semblance of shape!

So without further sleep deprived ramblings, here is the review of The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Jay Bonansinga and Robert Kirkman.

Now zombie apocalypse media has become one of the more recent fetishes for hollywood and apparently the mainstream American media culture, if what I've seen as an English girl is any indicator, over the last few years and it has seen the rise of some real gems across the media. From books, to tv programmes, films, video games and even comic books, it seems that the unquiet dead are becoming more popular than David Beckham and Jordan/Katy Price/whatever the fuck the slut is calling herself these days. Good thing too as they tend to make more sense than those brain dead cretins.

Now, I don't particularily like the whole living dead thing, find it pretty gross really but as I have said here in the past, or at least I think I have if my memory serves, is that what I do enjoy about this genre is the survival aspect. The idea that the world has gone to shit and you have to try and survive with just your wits and what you can pull from the ruins. Its why I like Fallout more than Left 4 Dead. However, there are some real gems in the zombie genre I do really enjoy. I love the mixed bag that is Max Brooks' 'World War Z' despite its naive stereotypes, I thought zombieland was a slice of crazy fun, and I enjoyed the first Left 4 Dead game a lot and Resident Evil has had my vote for everything I've played in it (mainly 5 but I tried the earlier games I could find) and I'm REALLY looking forward to Operation Raccoon City and number 6 (the trailer for which looks fucking immense and just hope the game stands up to it). I also liked the first series of The Walking Dead and the balls up in their advertising for it they did on this side of the Atlantic still has me giggling like a schoolgirl in her first pair of grown up tights! So when I saw this book I was holding out great hopes for it matching the series.

Yet at this point the old adage of 'don't judge a book by it's cover' really should have shot through my mind like a 9mm parabellum. I expected Rise Of The Governor to be the absorbing character driven narrative of the tv series, but to be honest as soon as I started reading it on my kindle, I was sadly disappointed.

The writing style is confused, making it feel as if you are reading the arsewater writing of a fourteen year old with several important parts of their brain missing. There is no creativity or flair to it, and the author couldn't seem to settle on any style, be it third or first person or anything for that matter and the final result was more someone trying to describe a visual event while off their face on a few bottles of damn strong vodka. This trend of not settling into a narrative structure continued throughout the whole book, leaving it feeling mismatched, disjointed and wholly unsatisfying. I find it hard to describe the actual way the book was written as I don't think that way and the only comparison I can draw for you is reading an essay of a classmate who didn't have a good grasp of the subject matter or a strong grasp of the english language. Stumbling in the dark if you will.

The characters are two dimensional, not emotional depth to them, no scope, no proper interaction. You cannot connect to them on any level and are left more with the hope that the damn walking dead will end up just fucking eating them and doing it quickly so the damn book will end! Minor characters are brought in and vanish quickly, and most of the damn time any attempt at building up who they are only happens before they bow out of the narrative one way or another. So what is the point in even having them in there if you're not going to develop them, especially when the characters you keep don't see ANY development?

Another point that bugs me is that the author just had to play the fucking religious card. Oh whoop de fucking do, a god botherer character like we haven't seen that in just about every other piece of fricking american media! Now ok, I get it, religion is a big thing for you guys, or at least seems to be with the way elements of your entertainment industry wax lyrical about it, but do we need it in everything? And do we need such a character to be built out of one who at the start of the book showed absolutely no religious bent at all? Seriously, find another method of dealing with your characters than making one into a bible bashing retard, especially for an apocalyptic storyline where its really just not needed because its been used in everything from computer games (Half Life 2 springs to mind first of all) to movies, Independence Day for example.

Perhaps this book was aimed at fans of the comic books, and maybe the narrative and its sense of structure makes more sense to them than just someone who might just happen to pick it up off the shelf, but I'm not sure about that.

All in all, I think it was a book that had so much potential to be awesome and take its place amongst the best of the genre, but it just let itself down at every possible stage. If you are a fan of everything Walking Dead, then this might be for you, if you're not a fan, liked the series or just after something to read, forget this and find something better to spend your money on.

I give this, two out of five stars.

The Walking Dead: Rise Of The Governor by Jay Bonansinga and Robert Kirkman.
Available through bookstores and the Amazon Kindle service.