Book Review: Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines (1 star)
Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines
Publisher: Permuted Press
Published: February 25th, 2010
Genre: Horror, Superheroes
Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes. Vigilantes. Crusaders for justice, using their superhuman abilites to make Los Angeles a better place. Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Despite the best efforts of the superheroes, the police, and the military, the hungry corpses rose up and overwhelmed the country. The population was decimated, heroes fell, and the city of angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland like so many others. Now, a year later, the Mighty Dragon and his companions must overcome their differences and recover from their own scars to protect the thousands of survivors sheltered in their film studio-turned-fortress, the Mount. The heroes lead teams out to scavenge supplies, keep the peace within the walls of their home, and try to be the symbols the survivors so desperately need. For while the ex-humans walk the streets night and day, they are not the only threat left in the world, and the people of the Mount are not the only survivors left in Los Angeles. Across the city, another group has grown and gained power. And they are not heroes.
When EX-HEROES mixed super-heroes and zombies, I didn’t realize how dumb un-scary zombies would be if there is no threat of dying. Besides the fact that three of the main characters are immuned to zombie bites, zombies are incredibly slow and dumb, they’re developing a vaccine to cure everyone of zombie bites so eventually everyone will be immune. Yay. Zombies are only cool when there’s a high likeliness of the entire world’s population ending up as zombies. Zombies are not cool when some guy in flashy underwear man-handle zombies like zerglings.
This has to be one of the most difficult reviews I’ve written, because I have almost nothing to say about the book. Why? Because the scenes are repetitive and the set-up for character introduction are redundant.
How EX-HEROES unfolds:
Scene involve the character killing zombies
Introduce next character
Scene involving the character killing zombies
Repeat 6 more times
Introduce plot for next book
BAM! The end
One thing is for sure. I’ve never read a zombie novel quite like this one. I would say that at least 80% of the novel was outright zombie killing (zombies are known as ex-es). It’s awful that I had not a single ounce of empathy for any of the characters throughout the story. I was shocked by how often little kids were killed, mutilated and/or zombified. It didn’t add to the story and it felt like a ploy to get the reader’s heartstrings moving.
The plot doesn’t kick in until the final couple of chapters. If the next book picks up where this one stops, then it stands a good chance of being a decent read. But, EX-HEROES is not a standalone book. It’s an introduction to a series. There’s a huge character cast and it really kills the pacing of the book (along with several thousands zombies). If you are committed to reading the second book, then you might not mind this. If you’d rather a book that can survive on its own, then feed this one to your pet zombie.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)