Todd: The more I read of this series, the more I like it. As a disclaimer, this book is definitely darker than the first, and Kirkman explores depths of the human experience that are usually only reserved for despair and the bleakest of times. We join Rick and company soon after the end of the first book, as they find a prison that they attempt to make into their new home. However, just as in the first book, zombies are not their primary problem. Inner conflicts within the group boil to the surface, and the group must make peace with a few surviving inmates that inhabit the prison. Everyone barely maintains composure day-to-day, as the constant stress of their situation takes a toll on their psyche and breaking points. Everyone is tested constantly, although none more than Rick. Can he continue to lead the group? Can they continue to survive this horror?
Kim: As Todd stated the book is definitely darker. Now that the group has found a suitable and seemingly safe location to rest their weary feet, we begin delving into the deeper and darker problems of re-establishing society. We begin to see a theme of crime and punishment establish itself. What I mean by that, is that crime begins to happen amongst the survivors and they must decide how those guilty will be punished. Since there is nothing left of the old society they were part of, they can create their own rules and regulations and begin from scratch. It’s a test for all of them to search deep within themselves and do/say what they think is right. I think the fact that the writers of the book explore these complex societal issues make it so much more interesting to read. How many of you out there can honestly say they’ve read a zombie book that delves into themes such as these?
Todd: That’s definitely a good point. Up until now the characters have been basically reactionary, where they respond to the events around them and barely survive. Now, as they begin to settle somewhat, they must decide how to enforce a moral code. I find the struggle that Rick undergoes internally pretty astounding. He already has a lot on his shoulders trying to act as the moral compass of the group, and for the most part he succeeds. However, it is when he begins to crack and his emotions begin to cloud his judgement that we begin to see Rick as more of an individual with faults just like the rest of us. I like how Kirkman doesn’t place him on a pedestal and make him into a superhuman heroic figure. He has a breaking point just like the rest of us. How he changes and reevaluates himself as the situation around him deteriorates is so interesting and I think beyond the realm of what most of us would have to experience.
Kim: Agreed! Due to all of these scenes I found that the book became a lot darker and also more gruesome. There were murders in cold blood, attempted rape, sexual conflicts, and much more. For those with more sensitive tastes I would not recommend reading this. For those with braver sense I would definitely recommend it, not only for its amazing illustrations, but for the thematic concepts the book touches upon. It’s interesting to read about a society trying to re-establish itself. It makes you question what you yourself would do if placed in that situation.
Todd: Very true! I think I would last all of 5 minutes out there! All in all, I think my favorite part about this book is that it has stayed so true to its original intentions. Kirkman writes these characters and their interactions just as I would imagine them happening. It’s almost as if the zombies are unnecessary at this point. The stress and conflict have gotten to a point where it is self-driving. I think it is an awesome introspection into our lives and how stress affects us, and I can’t wait to see what Kirkman has in store for book 3!
Todd’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Star
Kim’s Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
This is my ninth completed review for the Page to Screen Challenge