Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor
The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review posted at: The Owl Review, Amazon, & Goodreads.

I was looking forward to starting this book, since I've read all of the graphic novels/comics up until this point. I was eager to learn the backstory to the Governor; the horrible, twisted ruler of the dystopian establishment of Woodbury.

Getting started in reading this, the pace moved slowly. I was hoping it would pick up, but it's a very slow-reading book the entire way through. This is part of why it only gains 3 stars in my review. I just couldn't find myself being drawn into the story, except for a few instances where it started to get a lot of action going on and become interesting.

The build-up to the big end reveal is slow. You will find out how the Governor was born at the very end, and there really isn't much I can say at this point without giving away the entire point of the story. I will say that all of the way through the book I kept thinking to myself, "This isn't the kind of trauma that would give rise to creating such a monster like Philip Blake became." If you look at the people directly around him, you see they are going through all the same things and yet aren't driven to the same end. Is this difference of personality? Difference of ability to cope and adapt instead of harden and crack. It absolutely is, however, just not exactly in the way that you would initially think.

I don't like to recap the story and type out a synapsis for my reviews. That's what the back of the book, or the description on the online pages are for. I like to share with others how the book made me feel; what I liked about it, or what I didn't like. I don't think readers want to read 50 different recaps of the same story, since that doesn't give them insight into how it moves you, or how it read. I will say this, the story is good if you are invested in The Walking Dead story line already. As a standalone story, this would probably be pretty boring and not mean much to you if you aren't interested in learning what made the Governor become the person he is.

I'm not sure the author is skilled at writing novels. As a graphic novel, this would probably work fine, as most of the story is bogged down with unnecessary descriptions and information that doesn't push the plot forward, it just stalls. At times I wasn't sure if the author knew what he wanted the story to do or he was just writing as he tried to figure it out. It read a bit like trying to come up with a story when you didn't have the concept to begin with, you just knew maybe where you wanted it to end up, or the readers wanted to know the backstory and now you have to make one up. This would have worked excellent as a short story under 100 pages instead of 300 pages. I had to slog through it, and push myself forward.

I am a fan of the AMC show, The Walking Dead, as well as a reader of the graphic novels/comics. I am unsure at this point if I'd want to read the next book in this series, but for informational purposes I possibly will. We'll just have to see.

One final note: I know there's been much talk about how this should've been more aptly titled "The Birth of the Governor", but come on, it's a zombie book... even though "birth" would have been more fitting, "rise" is definitely more in tune with the zombie lingo.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1

The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1
The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review also posted at The Owl Review

This book contains issues 1-48. As of this review (4/2012), issue #96 was just released.

Oh wow, was this fun and fast reading! I've never been much of a fan of graphic novels per se (with a brief obsession with reading Spawn years ago), but this one hooked me in.

My husband and I are fans of the AMC show, The Walking Dead. Little did I know that there was a graphic novel, until my husband picked it up. This tome must have weighed at least 15 lbs, and was not the most comfortable book to read in bed, mind you... but nonetheless, I persevered and instead tried to spend most of my time sitting comfortably on the couch to read through this.

This was pure reading candy for me. It's not the happiest of tales. Not by any means. However, zombie tales which emerged out of Haitian culture, our slave culture, and our early Voodoo days down south, are always so easy to immerse ourselves in aren't they? Well, I can at least speak for myself and say they are.

This one doesn't disappoint. It's a well-woven, and so easy to believe story of our anti-hero Rick, who wakes up out of a coma, in his hospital bed. After visions of his best friend and fellow police officer, Shane, visiting him, he realizes that time has elapsed. He's weak with a not-quite-healed gunshot wound, and the hospital is disturbingly deserted, trashed, and soon he finds rows and rows of the dead, after escaping a room full of decaying people...which he learns are zombies. Roamers they are later coined in the book by Ricks group.

Rick meets up with his wife Lori, son Carl, friend Shane, and some other members that decided to stick together as they camp out nearby Atlanta. Each one is forced to come head-to-head with their current reality, and wonder if there will be any rescue attempts, and who else is still alive in the world. Roamers are everywhere, and no one feels safe. Gunshots to the head kill them, but noise draws their attention to your location.

You never know which character, no matter how important they seem, will be killed off, tragically, or just randomly. No one is safe in The Walking Dead, and characters are constantly battling for their lives, some semblance of civility, and often times their sanity.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Review: Sh*t My Dad Says

Sh*t My Dad Says
Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had forgotten I picked this up and read it last month, since it's not a typical book. It's comprised of twitter snips and expansions of those twitter snips into tiny chapters that give more background to the punch line involved.

The premise of this book comes from our amazing age where you can easily publish thoughts on media sites like Twitter, and accidentally, you get a signing for a book contract. The book itself is readable in about a couple of hours max - get it from the library unless you want to keep it on the coffee table to amuse your company (depends on your company). It's easy to flip through, and skim to the main "jokes". Justin's Dad, whom all the quotes are based upon was smart, blunt, and funny, even if his mindset is antiquated, and a little sexist.

I started reading this on the way to McMenamin's Grand Lodge and made it through all of the Twitter feed snippets and a couple of the chapters, which would have been no more than maybe 30 minutes? Reading this aloud, I admit I had tears of laughter as I tried not to ruin the point of the sh*t Justins dad said. I had all my kids in the car with me, so I had to either skip a few, or change some words to make it PG. My older boys thought this book was hilarious, yes, lots of dumb-guy-bad-language-bathroom-humor going on in this book, and I had to stop them from trying to read it themselves lest they come across the completely inappropriate sexual content (for kids).

So, it's a simple and funny book. I got it originally because I thought my husband might enjoy it, but after our read-aloud in the car, it had pretty much covered the majority of the book and that, was all they wrote. There are some slightly profound theories in there that his father had, hidden underneath all that sarcasm and bad language though. There are even a couple of heartfelt, rare, moment he shared with his son, passing on life lessons he hoped his son could avoid. You can tell, that beneath his fathers blunt exterior, he really did want the best for his kids, and wanted them to be happy, and just make good choices.

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