Top positive review
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on 23 May 2013
The second novel in the Walking Dead adaptations, The Road to Woodbury does not disappoint. Following on from the climactic end to Rise of the Governor, this Walking Dead novel takes it into the Governor's community as Lilly becomes the latest inhabitant.
As the novel begins, Lilly is living in a makeshift encampment with her friend Josh. Josh is busy hammering stakes into tents to secure the area when the dead attack the compound. Josh is left to tackle the onslaught as Lilly runs and hides, unable to face the threat. But as the threat is soon dealt with and Josh emerges unscathed, Lilly can't cope with the guilt of leaving him to defend himself. By some miracle, Lilly saves a few children hiding with them, but one of the teenagers is turned, and the father blames Lilly for being unable to save his girl. During the funeral he takes her aside and attacks her, breaking her ribs and Josh dives in to protect her. Following these events, Josh, Lilly and a small number of survivors leave the compound and head off in the wilderness, which will lead them eventually to Woodbury.
All of this action takes place in just a couple of chapters, and this is just right, as their arrival at Woodbury and the development of that community is what grips the reader. The threat of winter is approaching, the small group entering Woodbury has nothing, and they have to rely on the community to keep them warm, safe and alive, away from the walking dead.
This novel is very much about establishing the character dynamics as much as the action taking place. Speaking of action; it is bloody, visceral and brutal. Yet the text itself is also poetic and poignant at times. Bonansinga's text, in conjunction with Kirkman's story creates a truly enjoyable background to the comic books and the TV series, enabling us more insight into the Governor's motivations, the depth of variety of characters in Woodbury and the tension slowly building in the compound.
Lilly, who is the focus viewpoint of the novel, grows into a strong, powerful woman who jumps up from the page, just as Josh, who is physically powerful, is quite a gentle character yet a vibrant presence in the novel. At the end of the book characters have changed, developed and adopted new priorities. This is a good, solid adaptation that adds to the whole Walking Dead universe.