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I Belong

Review: Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Kirkman & Bonansinga

The Walking Dead: The Rise of the Governor (#1) by Robert KirkmanTitle: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

Author: Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga

Narrator: Fred Berman

Series: The Governor Trilogy (Book 1)

Publication Date: October 11, 2011

Format: Audiobook, 11 hrs on 9 discs

ISBN-10: 1427217688 (Macmillan)

ISBN-13: 978-1427217684 (Macmillan)


Following in the footsteps of the New York Times best-selling graphic novels and the record-breaking new television show, this debut novel in a trilogy of original Walking Dead books chronicles the back story of the comic book series’ greatest villain, The Governor.

In the Walking Dead universe, there is no greater villain than The Governor. The despot who runs the walled-off town of Woodbury, he has his own sick sense of justice: whether it’s forcing prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for the townspeople’s amusement, or chopping off the appendages of those who cross him. The Governor was voted “Villain of the Year” by Wizard magazine the year he debuted, and his story arc was the most controversial arc in the history of The Walking Dead comic book series. Now, for the first time, fans of The Walking Dead will discover how The Governor became the man he is, and what drove him to such extremes.

Quick & Dirty: The Walking Dead infamous Governor’s humble beginnings.


The Walking Dead has a tremendous following, rising from its humble comic beginnings to hit television show.  Now fans everywhere have the rare opportunity to learn more about the man they love to hate: The Governor.  What atrocities led such a person down this lonely and bloody path?

I have the opportunity of not just reviewing The Rise of the Governor, but getting to cover its audiobook.  Audiobooks have both pros and cons to them.  Some of the better advantages are their relatively hands-free nature.  I can “read” while driving (I get car sick if I read on the road) and while being forced to do massive house cleaning.  The downside is that the narrator can only go so fast, so books that would have taken me 4 hours to read turn into 18 hours of listening.  That time may feel like it’s going faster if said narrator’s sensuously low voice wraps around you and cradles you within the horrors of his tale.

Fred Berman brings his exceptional acting skills to the narration of Rise of the Governor. Phillip’s disassociation from the grisly events around him comes through in the deep and even commands that he gives.  This is enhanced by the terror and weakness Brian, his brother, shows with every syllable uttered.  Though Berman’s variations for each character may be hard to distinguish from each other, you can always tell the speaker from the emotions in their “voices.”

The one downfall of this particular audiobook is that it does not give you notice when the CD ends.  In my case, I worry that I broke something when the narration goes silent.  It may sound like I am over-exaggerating, but I really do have a flare for electrical failures.  While I am positive that this is not a deterrent for most, I was disappointed not to have the notification.

Overall, Berman did justice to the novel from Robert Kirkman’s dark and desolate Walking Dead Universe.   I would be very interested in learning how the “voices” of these characters match up for a reader that read the book first.

The Walking Dead: The Governor Audiobook Trilogy:

1. The Walking Dead: The Rise of the Governor

2. The Walking Dead: Road to Woodbury

FTC Advisory: Macmillan Audio graciously provided me with a copy of Rise of the GovernorNo goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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