The Walking Dead: The Road To Woodbury review: The growth of Lilly.
Surprising your readers when most of them know in advance who will live and who will die is a tricky business. The first prequel to the comics, Rise Of The Governor , managed it by pulling off a twist concerning a character backstory which was at least impressively outrageous; sadly, it’s a trick this follow-up can’t play again.
It’s a book of two halves. The first follows comics character Lilly Caul (destined to have a devastating effect on Rick’s life…) on the road to Woodbury, the brutal community ruled by the despotic Governor (Fu Manchu moustache present and correct). The second follows events after she arrives in the town, and shows how the seemingly unlikely bread-and-circuses system there evolved - and fairly convincingly, too.
There are some impressive action sequences (some on a scale the TV series would struggle to afford) and there's the odd bizarre touch (zombie dwarves , anyone?). Surprisingly, there’s a romantic subplot too, as Lilly and African-American gentle giant Josh are slowly drawn together through mutual need.
But don’t expect any happy endings: The Road To Woodbury is every bit as harrowingly bleak as Kirkman’s comics, with a focus on the sexual exploitation of young women which, while sadly all too plausible, makes for particularly grim reading.
Ian Berriman twitter.com/ianberriman