Audiobook Review: The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga

19 10 2012

The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga

Read by Fred Berman

Macmillan Audio

Length: 9 Hrs 56 Min

Genre: Zombie Apocalypse

Quick Thoughts: I absolutely loved every moment of The Road to Woodbury. It utilizes the winning Walking Dead formula of zombie mayhem amidst complicated characters. The novel left me, at times, breathless, frustrated, angry, sad and maybe just a bit skeeved out, but when thrown all together it was one of the best Zombie listening experiences I have had this year.

Grade: A

I think I am starting to fall in love with October. I never was much of an October guy. Sure, there was Halloween, which meant that the month at least offered the promise of an eventual bounty of candy, but other than that, October pretty much sucked. September always brought the excitement of a new season, with school starting, TV shows premiering and fall beginning to claim its hold on the world. Yet, by October, the excitement had worn off, the days became shorter, school became routine and winter was just a small slog away. As an adult, it always felt like one more step closer to snow and ice, and annoying holiday shoppers. Yet, two years ago something happened that made Octobers almost worth it, and that is The Walking Dead. Now, I never read the Graphic Novel series, and I plan to do that one day, but as a lover of Zombie and Post Apocalyptic fiction the start of any series involving walking corpses set on devourer the flesh of the living was met with excitement. Than last year something even better happened. They released a book. Not a novelization of the show or Graphic novel series, but a book that takes place in the world of The Walking Dead. Also, they released the audiobook version. And it was awesome. In the book I got to meet characters that are important to the Graphic Novel series, like The Governor, but before they ever appeared. I got to learn the story that led up to the story. To make things even better it is trilogy, so I know I will have one more year of October awesomeness. So, bring on the impending winter, the shorter days, filler episodes of TV series, school zones, bad Christmas commercials and the like, I got Zombies to keep me company.

The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury works as both a sequel to The Rise of the Governor, as well as introducing us to a new group of survivors trying to find safety in the changed world. Lilly Caul has always been ruled by fear, even to the point of running away during a zombie attack, leaving her friend Josh Lee surrounded by Zombies only to be saved by his quick actions. Yet, after a fatal encounter, she and Josh are exiled from their community and forced to go on the road. Eventually, they meet up with a scavenging group from a walled town called Woodbury and are invited to join them. But something is not right about the town, or its strange leader called The Governor, and Lilly finds she may have to do something about it. The Road to Woodbury is told in two parts, before and after Lilly and her friends join Woodbury. The first half, particularly the first two hours of the audiobook, left me breathless. The pacing was frantic and the zombie action intense. Despite the rapid fire pace, Kirkman and Bonansinga really get you hooked into the characters. Lilly is a complicated and fascinating character, and one that, despite some frustrating moments, I really enjoyed. I am actually glad I haven’t read the Graphic Novel series, because I came into these characters fresh, without knowing what will become of them when they eventually meet up with Rick and the crew. Part two of the book takes place in Woodbury and is more of a direct sequel to Rise of the Governor. The authors do a good job creating a tense, moody atmosphere ripe with a feeling of untapped tension within the town. It’s slower and more introspective than the first half, but works well to create a sense of impending doom. My only problem with the book as a whole is I never really understood why certain characters mistrusted The Governor. Now, The Governor is a twisted egomaniacal mess of a character, but much of that is displayed through his inner dialogue. Most of the distrust characters show comes from a gut instinct rather than any actual action the Governor takes. In fact, his public action, while super villainy, its mild super villainy in the Post Apocalyptic world. Yet, for the reader who is privy to The Governor’s internal struggles, he in many ways parallels the town of Woodbury, a streaming pot just about ready to boil. I absolutely loved every moment of The Road to Woodbury. It utilizes the winning Walking Dead formula of zombie mayhem amidst complicated characters. The novel left me, at times, breathless, frustrated, angry, sad and maybe just a bit skeeved out, but when thrown all together it was one of the best Zombie listening experiences I have had this year.

I am a big fan of Fred Berman’s narrations, particularly his work in A. Lee Martinez’s Gil All Fright Diner and Joe Hill’s Horns, yet, I had trouble with his reading of Rise of the Governor. Well, Berman is back with The Road to Woodbury, and his performance is much improved. First off, it seems that he learned how to properly pronounce the word "chassis" which was something that really frustrated me in the first novel of the series. Berman manages to give a much more emotional reading in The Road to Woodbury. I think that it helped that the main character was more likeable and expressive than Phillip Blake. Berman just infuses the reading with more life, allowing you to feel the turmoil of the characters. His pacing was just right, crisp and fast in the early action intensive scenes, and a bit slower and more melodic during the second half. From the very start of the audiobook, I was pulled into the tale, and Berman never let me escape from it. Fans of The Walking Dead, or just zombies in general, should definitely check this series out before the hordes get you.

Note: This review is part of my weekly “Welcome to the Apocalypse” series. Click on the image for more posts.

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3 responses

19 10 2012
Darlene's Book Nook (@DarleneBookNook)

Ooooooooh, I must listen to this one! I am currently watching Season 1 of The Walking Dead, and I have to admit that I never found zombies to be scary until I watched this show! I think I’d enjoy the audiobooks as well.

27 10 2012
DeAnna (@SacredmOOn1)

Great review! This is on my Audible.com wish-list! I’m happy is was a great read!
DeAnna Schultz

18 01 2013

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