Todd and Kim here! Back to review the next book in The Walking Dead series. (If you’ve missed our prior reviews you can find them here: Book One, Book Two, Book Three) This series has quickly become one of our favorites to read and watch on TV. (The show is quite different then the books, so we enjoy the fact that we still get to be surprised week after week!)
We’ve now followed Rick and the other survivors through hell and back, as they’ve inhabited an abandoned prison and taken up residence. Unfortunately for them, they’re not alone (and their company is more than zombies). The Governor and his cronies, irritated by Rick, Michonne, and Glenn’s escape from their compound only weeks before, suddenly discover their location after the survivors blow up a National Guard fuel depot near the prison. Now that they are discovered, Rick and his fellow survivors must fend off a massive attack by The Governor (who has somehow survived the attack by Michonne) and all of his followers. Will they be able to make it past this seemingly insurmountable roadblock? What will happen to Rick and his family?
Todd: I definitely think this is the most depressing book so far. Although it is bleak, it is a necessary step in the evolution of the series. Every story has its low points, and this book contains some of the lowest. This is not to say that it isn’t a great work (as Kirkman usually turns out amazing stuff), but I’ve never seen this type of dark and moody writing from him before. Although some might say that this turns the entire focus of the series to a dark and depressing tone, I think it is necessary to do so in order to advance the plot and further the storyline. As much as we don’t like to see Rick and his fellow survivors in trouble, it is a realistic outcome, and we have to deal with it accordingly.
Kim: I’m still in complete shock from finishing this graphic novel. NO ONE is safe here, proving the point that in this new society you shouldn’t be too comfortable. Many of the characters talk about how they’ve forgotten how dangerous it is outside the prison walls. This was an interesting development in my opinion because I really can’t imagine ever forgetting the horrors that they witnessed in the first 3 books. Their struggle for survival, their family and friends dying or becoming zombies…I don’t know how they could essentially play house. Granted the feeling of safety probably does wonders to calm a person’s psyche, but not remaining vigilant in that world has its consequences, which Kirkman clearly expresses in book four.
Todd: I agree that it’s definitely difficult to imagine that these people could be lulled into a false sense of security considering what has happened in the past, but I think Kirkman has done a great job sticking to his original intent when he first began writing these novels. The true horror here is not what the undead do to the living, but what the living do to those who are still living. The unspeakable horrors of the Governor and those who harbor his terrible values are not finished. Although I, like Kim, imagined that certain characters could not be harmed, I was sadly mistaken. I believe that Kirkman wrote the novel in this way to show the reader the true horrors inherent to the situation. No one is safe, and it is the actions of other humans that bring this about, as sad as that seems. I applaud Kirkman for this unflinching portrait of the human experience, and I can’t wait to see what else he has in store.
Kim: Todd, I 100% agree that true intent of the novels is to show what horrors the living inflict on their fellow living. It makes you take a step back and question what goes on in our own society, and gives suggestions as to and how we can try to help curb the hatred that flows. It’s been fascinating to see the changing themes over the course of the story thus far. Kirkman has touched upon just about everything in a society, with the largest themes including social customs, laws/ruling bodies, and now war. There are glimpses of our society in each of these books, which makes me wonder: is the zombie apocalypse storyline really just a front to delve into discussion and observation about our own society?
Overall, Kirkman has yet again worked his magic to make a hell of a novel. Even though the material of this book is much darker and sinister, it had to be done in order to move the plot along. Many accolades to Kirkman for a job well done, and both of us are eager to find out what is in store for the fifth book and beyond!
Todd’s Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Kim’s Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars