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Here’s Negan!

The Walking Dead’s favorite psychopath now has a backstory! This slim volume shows us Negan before the zombie apocalypse and in the days following, and we learn what shaped him into the charismatic villain that we love to hate.

When I bought the book it was shrink-wrapped in plastic, so a casual shopper couldn’t flip through it and find out more about Negan without actually purchasing the book. The book is much shorter than I would have expected, and was a quick read.

The book begins a few months before the world goes to hell, and we meet Negan who is a foul mouthed gym teacher who has a nasty quip for everything. He seems to respect his wife Lucille, until we see him cheating on her, despite her recent cancer diagnosis. Negan has a parallel with Rick, as the zombie’s attack while he and his wife are in the hospital. I do not want to share anymore than that, because the point of the book is to show Negan’s journey from being a regular asshole kind of guy to the monster we know him as.

But I will say- I was highly disappointed in this story. It’s hard to share why without giving away too many plot points, but Negan’s arc wasn’t as complete as it should have been.  There was more character development of Dwight and Sherry and the the group that will evolve into The Saviors, than with Negan. Plus, there seems to be a discrepancy between this book and a conversation he and Rick have in Volume 28.

I also had been intrigued that Negan seems to have an aversion to rape, although certainly not killing, and I was curious if they would address some of his contradictions. While they dance around the subject, it wasn’t truly answered. So I ended up feeling the plastic wrap was to prevent shoppers from backing out of the purchase once they discovered this book doesn’t quite pass muster. Some of the ingredients for a good narrative were there, but they were not fleshed out enough. Borrow, do not buy this book (that’s what libraries are for!) to get your Negan fix.

-Nancy

Kirkman, Robert, Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn. Here’s Negan! 2017.
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Top 5 Wednesday: Books Featuring Zombies!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This month’s T5W topics center around Halloween, and when asked to pick my favorite type of scary creature, I knew zombies was it!

Revival is a favorite of mine, and I have written a lot of posts about it. In this now completed series, twenty three people inexplicably come back to life in rural small town Wisconsin. The “Revivers” are not your typical zombies looking for braaaiins. Instead they quietly rejoin their former lives, not even realizing or remembering their deaths. Their new existence sets the town on edge, with media scrutiny, a government quarantine and religious fanatics taking over the region. The series is being developed into a movie through Shatterglass Films.

Deluxe Edition One

Deluxe Edition Two

Deluxe Edition Three

Deluxe Edition Four

The Walking Dead is the grand-daddy of all zombie series.  A fascinating premise, that is getting a bit long in the tooth now, but is still beloved by many. I list the three compendiums I have reviewed on my blog, but I have also been keeping up with the smaller volumes as they come out, and putting reviews up on my Goodreads account.

Compendium One (Volumes 1-8)

Compendium Two (Volumes 9-16)

Compendium Three (Volumes 17-24)

This book must be listened to on audio…it was beyond good. The story covers the history of the world wide war against zombies, and the narrative covers a reporter getting first hand accounts from survivors that tell about the beginning of the epidemic, the resistance, and the aftermath of the zombie catastrophe.  Some of the standout characters/stories were Todd Wainio, the Redker Plan, the North Korea speculation, the female Russian soldier, the pilot of the downed plane, and the family at the Manitoba campsite. A tiny criticism, is that I figured out every supposed surprise in the stories, and the connections between the world-wide characters strained credibility. The actors voicing the characters in the audio edition were perfect- Mark Hamill! Nathan Fillon! Denise Crosby! Jeri Ryan! Common! Alan Alda! I will definitely be listening to this story again and again.

Negan has been a prominent villain in the long running The Walking Dead series, and is a perverse mix of monster and savior. The question of how he became so twisted and his backstory during the zombie apocalypse is explained in this book that just came out the same week of Volume 28.

After is a strong collection of nineteen short stories about life “after” a catastrophic event. As with any compilation with various authors, some are stronger than others. One of the standouts was  After the Cure by Carrie Ryan. It  took the zombie story trope and subverted it. Vail is a teenager that was previously a zombie like creature but was given a cure to rehabilitate her. Society has a hard time accepting those rehabilitated people back into their communities, and the people themselves still feel some degree of hunger and a need to be back with their undead packs. Despite the melancholic nature of this story, there was a nugget of hope built into the end.

Who would have thought that zombies could be so appealing, but my reading list doesn’t lie!

-Nancy

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite “Unlikeable” Protagonists

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week the prompt is about “unlikeable” protagonists. So I’m going to share the ones I pulled for!

Negan from The Walking Dead

I love this villain! He is complex, and shows brief moments of compassion and insight, but then rips your heart out with his brutality. I hated the Governor and his over the top inhumanity, while Negan is more believable. I am snatching up the book about his past when it comes out in October.

Amy Dunne from Gone Girl

Amy is twisted. She and Nick are so outrageously dysfunctional, and what she did and all the planning that must have gone into it were awesome. The twists at the end were unexpected, and while I had a bit of sympathy for Nick, he kind of deserves it. I’ve thought about what their future holds, and the child they will raise.

Gertrude from I Hate Fairyland

Gert is a foul-mouthed violent sociopath that you will think of fondly. Skottie Young’s distinctive style will make you laugh and root for a girl who will shank you if you look at her sideways.

Jack from the Fables series

Jack the Giant Killer, Little Jack Horner, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack Be Nimble, Jack Frost, and Jack O’Lantern…these are all names that Jack of Fables is known by. Here’s another name- a$$hole, but yet you’ll be rooting for him to escape Fabletown.

Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender

I loved watching Avatar with my kids when it was on Nickelodeon. Zuko was the classic  misunderstood anti-hero who just needed someone to love and understand him in order for him to change. I enjoyed his redemption at the end, and how he and Aang were able to end the terrible reign of the evil Fire Lord together.

Rooting for the underdog can be fun, for often these characters are more complex than the typical (and sometimes boring) hero. Who would you pick?

-Nancy

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