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Literature: The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury

The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury is a novel written by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga. It is the second of three prequel novels to Kirkman's comic The Walking Dead, the first being The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor. It was released in October 2012.

The story focuses on a young woman named Lilly who, in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse, finds safety in the gated town of Woodbury. Woodbury, however, is ruled by the Governor and it's long before his despotic rule undermines everything that Lilly believes in.

The novel contains examples of the following tropes:

  • The Alcoholic: Bob drinks like it's water.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Megan is said to be olive-skinned but is compared to a number of white celebrities.
  • Anyone Can Die: Josh, Megan, and Scott.
  • Ascended Extra: In the comics, Lilly only appeared for a couple of pages. Her role was important, though; under the Governor's orders, she shoots and kills Lori during the siege on the prison. Upon discovering that Lori was holding a baby and that Lilly had killed her as well, she shoots the Governor in the head.
  • Anticlimax: The revolt fails, the Governor assigns them some demeaning work. The End.
  • Asshole Victim: Chad is killed by Josh after he tries to beat Lilly to death.
    • The Butcher had it coming. For killing Josh.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Governor, of course, is as crazy as ever.
  • Berserk Button: Lilly is this to Josh.
    • Lilly overcomes her terror of zombies through psychotic-rage. All to protect the children.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Josh is possibly the nicest guy to survive the Apocalypse but is a zombie-killing machine.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Late in the story Lilly wields gold-plated semiautomatic Ruger pistols that were given to her by Martinez.
  • Bread and Circuses: The Governor keeps the people of Woodbury entertained with cage fights with zombies.
  • Covert Pervert: Bob is one of these.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Woodbury appears to be one of these from the outside. In fact, this is a cover as it turns out to be just plain old crapsack soon.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: When the holiday season rolls around Martinez and his men throw up some decorations around Woodbury and the Governor plays Christmas music over the loudspeakers, but it just comes off as a minor annoyance to everyone and is quickly forgotten about.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The elders of the tent group exile Josh only to find a significant number of people following him, including their only Doctor.
    • Chad, arguably, should have seen Josh's reaction to his attempted murder of Lilly.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Governor decapitates Scott Moon and places his head in a fish tank for the crime of annoying him once. Weeks ago.
    • Sam shooting Josh right in the back of the head for not handing over some supplies and knocking him down.
  • Doomed by Canon: The Governor and (maybe) Lilly.
    • Ironically, this also applies to the rebellion against the Governor.
  • Driven to Suicide: Megan
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Megan, eventually.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Par for the course in The Walking Dead.
  • Retcon: This Lilly replaces the comic book character's backstory from the Telltale video game. For some this was enough to declare this book Fanon Discontinuity.
  • Karma Houdini: A heroic example as the rebellion against the Governor fails. What happens? They get a relative slap on the wrist.
  • Magical Negro: Josh, after being the hero for much of the book, turns out to just be the catalyst for Lilly's ostensible character change.
  • Nice Guy: Josh is one of these in spades. Sadly, it doesn't really win Lilly's heart. She just sticks with him because he's tough and good at protecting people.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The Governor deciding to spare the rebels instead of executing them directly leads to his demise in the comic book.
  • No Sell: Chad has his pistol ready for Josh should it come down to a fight between them. Josh takes it from him when he sees him going for it.
  • Scary Black Man: Subverted by Josh who is huge but gentle as a kitten. Unless you hurt Lilly.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: A surprising number of people after Josh's exile. Which proves to be good when the camp is destroyed.
  • Sex Slave: The Governor attempts to turn Megan into one.
  • The Stoner: Megan is introduced smoking pot—after the Apocalypse.
    • Several people desperately want to leave Woodbury, but are too afraid of the Governor and the zombies to actually go through with it.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The tent city sets up in an orchard. Which, admittedly, provides lots of fruit but doesn't ANYONE think a fortification would be better?
    • Megan and Scott Moon's habit of getting stoned during the zombie apocalypse. It doesn't kill them.
    • The Governor letting the rebels live as Lilly eventually kills him.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: invoked by Lilly regarding her father and Josh.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Chad blames Lilly for one of his daughters' deaths. This, despite the fact she displays exordinary heroism defending them all.