The Walking Dead

For Christmas, I was given a book that I asked for, The Walking Dead. Its a comic book about people trying to survive in a world of zombies. Yesterday, on a drive to North Carolina with my wife, my brother and his girlfriend to visit his girlfriend’s family, I re-read book one, and read books two, three and four.

The Walking Dead is, quite simply, the best zombie stories I have ever read. A while back I posted about Brian Keene’s books, and those were very impressive for horror books, but The Walking Dead, which is a comic book series and not novels, deals more with the people than the zombies. They aren’t zombie stories, they are people stories where the setting happens to be a world full of zombie like you might set a drama with a backdrop of World War II or the Depression Era US.

I recommend these books, and Amazon has a very reasonable deal for buying all 4 collections for $33 right now. The rest of this review is going to contain some spoilers, a little plot revelation, so avoid it if you want the books to remain secret until you page through them.

The story begins with Rick. He is a police officer and is shot in the line of duty. He then wakes up from a coma after missing a few months of his life. While he was sleeping, the world has gone to hell. The dead started not staying dead. His family tried to stay with him, but finally realizing they had needed to head for safety, they barred his hospital wing and left. Of course, Rick doesn’t know this, he doesn’t even know about the zombies, but he’s quick to learn and decides the best course of action is to head toward Atlanta where his wife has family. His travels are rough, but he finally makes it. Nothing is alive in Atlanta anymore. Good thing his family never made it there. He finds them, relatively safe and fairly sound, with a group of other refugees living in a wagon circle of cars outside the city surviving, but not really living. That’s the first book: learning what happened to the world, searching for his family, finding them, and meeting the survivors. Not everything goes well.

The second book takes our group on the road through a few roadblocks and stumblings, into a gated community and finally on to a farm. Things continue to go poorly for the folks, but even when zombies attack, the story maintains its focus on the people, their survival and their loss without falling into “monster” territory.

The third group of tales has the survivors finding a prison where the fences still hold and everything is dead inside. But if they can clear it out, make it safe, inside the walls behind the fences they’ll be much better off that out wandering around. Only, not everyone inside is dead, and life gets more complicated.

The fourth book, and the last collection printed so far, delves more into the weight on Rick’s shoulders as the chosen leader. The things he has to do to try and make the world safe again is crushing him, but he continues to try not to show it. Even inside the prison, life isn’t getting any easier.

I highly, highly recommend these books. Even if you aren’t the comic book type, or the zombie story type, the humanity, both its good and bad sides, illustrated within will make it work the read.

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