There's no doubt that The Walking Dead has become a bit of a phenomenon. First it was an award-winning comic book, then it was an award-winning TV-show, and now there's even an award-winning computer game. It makes sense that folks were wanting to keep milking that cash cow, but I don't see any way that the novels are going to be award-nominated, much less award-winning.
The Road to Woodbury follows The Rise of the Governor, but it doesn't follow it directly. The Rise of the Governor was about The Governor, but The Road to Woodbury starts off introducing us to a new cast of characters. Sure, they eventually wind up in Woodbury about halfway through the book, but any questions you had about the ending of the previous novel are going to be a long time coming. It felt like a big interruption to the larger story that people are interested in reading, and in better hands, it might have been handled better, but there just wasn't anything all that interesting happening along the way.
I've discovered that Bonansinga has a bad habit of telling too much. There was a paragraph where he was trying to convey the fast panic of a chaotic moment by describing snippets of the action, interrupted with "and things are happening very quickly now around the cargo bay." It was totally unnecessary, since the rest of the paragraph was telling us that all on its own, and it was just indicative of the author's lack of faith in the readers to figure it out on their own. I saw it in other places throughout the book, but that was the place where it stood out to me the most.
There was also no real connection with the characters. There's a lot of death in the book — this is, after all, set in the world of The Walking Dead — but most of them were very unemotional. Even the death of one of the principal characters, which should have been a sort of gut-wrenching affair, read more like a clinical retelling of an event for a historical documentary. It was hard to care about any of the main characters, and in the end, even their victories felt very shallow.
I wasn't all that impressed with the first book in this trilogy, but it ended on such an unexpected note that I felt like I needed to see what happened next, so here we are. The tone, writing, and plot here were about the same as what I found in the first book, and the "what happened next" part that had me intrigued to read on happened too late in the game to keep me interested. The Road to Woodbury ends in such a way as to compel interested readers on to the last book in the trilogy, but I won't be reading it. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.