I’m thinking that there are two things going on in The Walking Dead as an overall series. One of these is the occasional moment of plot shock. You may remember opening a certain door in the prison and learning exactly why a certain prisoner had been imprisoned, for instance, or more recently the outcome of a certain gunshot. Clearly these moments, while meaningful to the characters and their lives, are the simplest parts of the story creatively. So I’ve been trying to figure out what else is going on, especially after the mislead regarding a cure that kind of caught me off-guard and left me wondering if the series is even still worth reading. I do like the shocks and to see what happens next, don’t get me wrong, I just need to know that there’s some kind of plan to what happens next, and I’ve had my moments of doubt on that point.
As of A Larger World, I think I finally know what’s going on. This is… something I already said in the last review. And now I’m already halfway in with nothing more to say. Unexpected! See, my point had been that the series is basically Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, with zombies. Our heroes started out just trying to not die, and then to find shelter and food and love, and now they are nearly at the end of the journey. There is safety, some amount of acceptance, and the promise of other survivors out there in the, er, larger world. Does this mean that communities can be built and the world return to normal? Yeah, I dunno, but I do know that you can’t carry the story farther than the outcome of that question. There might be one more book to the series, or there might be two, but I cannot believe there can be much quality literature beyond that point.
(I’ll still read it, because there will still be characters I care about struggling against zombies. But the story, such as it is, will be over.)