Book Review: “Ex-Heroes” by Peter Clines

1599062_10208268274374052_6226891930209592590_oHow would superheroes react to the zombie apocalypse? That’s the question behind Peter Clines’s Ex-series, the first of which is Ex-Heroes.

Before the arrival of the zombie horde, ordinary humans wake up with the realization that they’ve gained superpowers of some sort. There’s the man who can generate electricity (who, slight spoiler alert, is hooked up to the main survivor city to generate their electricity), the one who has super speed (duh), and then there’s St. George, who’s pretty much impervious (but he’s not gonna test that against zombie teeth).

At first it appears that George, nicknamed by the “normal” humans (meaning the non-powered, non-zombified ones) St. George the Dragon, is the main character of the novel, but that quickly evolves throughout the book and its sequels to feature most of the other, still-living superheroes.

Yes, superheroes are affected by the zombie virus, too. As if worrying about the encroaching zombie horde wasn’t bad enough, now you’ve also got to worry about the superpowered zombies that unfortunately now reside within the horde.

We catch up with the survivors of the apocalypse about a year after the main event has occurred. As with most zombie stories, the main plotline is that the survivors, in their great walled city, are running out of resources. Someone has to go and collect those resources, and usually that someone is St. George or the other heroes. Their mission is also to search for survivors, or even another place to move their encampment (because being trapped in Los Angeles in the middle of the zombie apocalypse is not the greatest place to be).

The zombie threat is growing smarter, though, and its numbers are growing by the day, as more and more people succumb to the virus. There’s something running the zombies now, directing their every move, making them out to be more than just the mindless corpses that the heroes once thought them to be.

And then you find out who really caused the virus outbreak. And it’s a shocker.

If you’re a fan of superheroes, zombies, or science fiction in general, this novel (and its sequels!) should find itself a high place on your to-read list. The writing is pretty dang great (as I’ve read several of these in a day, because even though they’re thick, I was so entranced by them that I couldn’t put them down). The female characters aren’t just there for eye-candy, either…although the leader of the survivors, who may or may not actually have superpowers, is described as you would expect a man to describe a “vivacious” African-American female: “exotic.” Which, as we all know, is a terrible way to talk about anyone.

I promise you won’t be let down by this series. And if you are? Please, tell me why. I’m always open for a debate on books I love. It’s a recommended read at 3.5/5 stars. It’s not overly spectacular, but it got me hooked enough that I devoured three of these in one day. (You read that right.)

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Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes, using their superhuman abilities to make Los Angeles a better place. 
 
Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Billions died, civilization fell, and the city of angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland.  
 
Now, a year later, the Mighty Dragon and his companions protect a last few thousand survivors in their film-studio-turned-fortress, the Mount. Scarred and traumatized by the horrors they’ve endured, the heroes fight the armies of ravenous ex-humans at their citadel’s gates, lead teams out to scavenge for supplies—and struggle to be the symbols of strength and hope the survivors so desperately need. 
 
But the hungry ex-humans aren’t the only threats the heroes face. Former allies, their powers and psyches hideously twisted, lurk in the city’s ruins. And just a few miles away, another group is slowly amassing power . . . led by an enemy with the most terrifying ability of all.

  • Series: Ex-Heroes (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (February 26, 2013)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804136570

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