More zombies. More brutality. More death. Now that we have that covered, let’s move onto volumes 9-16, at a mere 1068 pages. Warning- some spoilers.
Volume 9- Here We Remain: I needed a break after the misery, suffering and heartbreak of volume 8. In this book, Rick and Carl regroup after their loss and deal, each in their own way, with the repercussions of what they did or didn’t do. Slowly they regroup with some of the survivors of the massacre and take in an interesting trio of new characters. What does the future hold after such a devastating loss? Who knows- but it won’t be simple or happy…
Volume 10- What We Become: I was willing to overlook this in the last book because the prison catastrophe was new, but WHY hasn’t Rick gone back to find Lori and baby Judith and put them out of their zombie misery the way he did with Shane? This bothers me. Yea, the prison is completely overrun, but still. Theme of not being what you once were: Duane and his son, the twins(!), and the conversation Rick and Abraham have after the attack on Carl. Yep, a zombie apocalypse has a way of changing things.
Volume 11-Fear The Hunters : As the story progresses the question arises- who exactly are the hunters? Is it Ben, who hunted his twin Billy? Is it Carl who dealt with Ben? Is it the fringe group who first ate their own children and then pick off humans traveling by? Or is it Rick, Andrea, Michonne and Abraham who mete out justice and avenge a loved one? This was definitely my favorite of the books so far, for the deaths weren’t gratuitous, instead they were heartbreaking and affecting. Favorite line: “Tainted meat!!!”
Volume 12- Life Among Them: The group’s journey to Washington DC continues until Eugene’s deceit is accidentally discovered. I wasn’t even mad- can you blame a weak guy for looking for an angle that will keep him safe? Soon afterwards another survivor from a nearby walled town approaches them and introduces them to the community of Alexandria and the survivors there. The residents there have maintained civility (not like the Governor and the town he ruled!) but suspicions remain for Rick’s weary band. Nothing is ever easy for any of them…
Volume 13- Too Far Gone: Rick’s group uneasily settles into the relative safety of the town Alexandria, but remain wary, as they don’t know the town’s inhabitants and safety protocols. Homes, food, and jobs are available, but at what cost? Rick is unable to relax and wishes to remain in charge, as he feels he can trust himself but is unable to put the lives of his followers in the hands of another. Andrea wisely points out that he was a better leader when he didn’t want to be one, in comparison to him wanting to do a power grab in this new community. As is typical, the group can never let down their guard, and new threats appear both inside and outside of the town’s gates.
Volume 14- No Way Out: Rick’s group settles further into the town of Alexandria. Many romances are either being established or revealed for the first time. Not happy with Abraham- throwing away a good relationship, just as Tyreese did. A zombie horde surrounds the community and some heartbreaking decisions and sacrifices are made. And yet there is actually some hope at the end, as the community works together as a team to combat the threat.
Volume 15- We Find Ourselves: The town of Alexandria cleans up the mess after the zombie horde attack- both physically and mentally. Abraham makes the situation with Rosita even worse- digging the knife in deeper after he betrays her. And then he and his new chickie think they can make a power move? Please…as if. I really like the coupling at the end between Rick and Andrea. Finally a good match for them both (although I did like Dale).
Volume 16- A Larger Fear: Alexandria has become as stable as it can under the circumstances when they meet Paul “Jesus” Monroe who tells them of another community of 200 who have survived in the Hilltop Colony. Rick and his band are naturally wary of Paul and his community, but are pleasantly surprised and consider joining forces. Nothing is ever straightforward, and they are made aware that the Hilltop is paying tribute to a group called The Saviors, who protect them from zombies but demand half of their food and supplies for doing so. Now knowing about this yet-unseen threat; Rick talks hopefully to Glen, Andrea and Michonne about partnering with the Hilltop group, and this exchange is shown in some poignant full-page spreads at the end of this volume.