The Heart’s Desire picks up from Dexter’s ultimatum that ends the previous compendium. Rick takes an opportunity in undead chaos to kill for the sake of his group, letting them all believe it was a stray bullet. It’s darker, and this initial death plays back into the morality of mortality.
If it’s for the greater good, and with the best intention, does that make it right? Well, that’s certainly up for debate throughout these pages, culminating with a renovation in their set-up. No longer are decisions solely down to Rick; they will run as a democracy.
The group dynamic changes, and that’s the other strong theme present. The new girl alienates certain people and warms to others, particularly Tyreese. A minor indiscretion away from the group (a fancy way of saying blowjob, really) was witnessed by Carol, who is heartbroken and asks him to move into his own cell.
Their break-up causes the biggest fight in the book, where Rick accuses him of exacerbating the fact the group is falling apart. But, it raises another question. If you live a life where you could die at any moment, would you stay with someone to keep things calm, or do what made you happy at the time? Ultimately, the heartbreak is evident on both sides – temporarily at least – but succumbing to temptation is treated as a cardinal sin, because ultimately it’s chipping away at the group bit by bit.
The development of the group really raises many ideas for thought, and what would be done in that situation. As said before, it strikes as being realistic rather than overdramatic for the sake of it. Even as wrists are slit in dismay, it definitely treads on dark ground, but when the world is falling apart, it’s not difficult to imagine others doing the same.