Book Review: Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines (1 star)


Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines

Publisher: Permuted Press

Published: February 25th, 2010

Pages: 274

Genre: Horror, Superheroes

Links: Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Author Links:  Goodreads  |  Blog

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:

Introduce character

Lengthy background

Scene involve the character killing zombies

Introduce next character

Lengthy background

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.


F rating

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)

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  1. Yikes! I read the synopsis and it sounded like something I would like. I really dislike cliffhanger endings. It’s okay if everything is dealt with and then the author introduces the next concept so you know what to expect, but that’s it. I feel like it’s a tactic to try to make money off of 2 books instead of writing one good book (even if it’s cheap- it’s bad writing!)Anyway, good review!
    eightbitbrit recently posted…Feature and Follow Friday #4My Profile

    • That’s so odd I LOVED this book and I didn’t think it was a cliffhanger ending at all. And I hate cliffhanger endings. I felt like it was a satisfying you could leave off and not read another book type ending. I reviewed it also and I’m sad that Lizzy and I have such a differing opinion on this one! I loved the super heroes lol and thought it was a fresh take on the genre.
      Pabkins recently posted…Guest Post: Shopping List for a QuestMy Profile

      • Definitely a unique approach, but so was Alice in Zombie land and that dissapointed me for similar reasons. Now THAT book did have a vaccine and the zombies were “spiritual” feeders or something.

        But when there’s no chance of a character dying to the bite, zombies stop being scary. Its like vampires that don’t drink blood or werewolves that dont shift into wolves.

        Sorry, ranting now. Heh.

        The ending just left so much open. I don’t want to completely spoil it. I just wish that the bad guys were defeated, the zombies erratication, or there was some proclimation of love. Something to fill me up on instead of just leasing me to the next book Its definitely bit a standalone. Gotta read the whole series to love it.

        And yes, i love your difference of opinion. :) .

        Typos are my phone’s fault. It didn’t pass 2nd grade English.
        Lizzy recently posted…Book Review: Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines (1 star)My Profile

  2. I’m one of those weird readers that I love when my buddies vastly disagree with me about a book – because it can spark such awesome debates! Do you mind debates? I hope not – cause here’s my rebuttle: hahah

    I think you might have caught the vaccine part wrong – I don’t believe there was a working vaccine though they were trying to develop one. And the Super Heroes weren’t immune to the disease – as evidenced by the various zombies that were ex-super heroes.

    It’s too bad you didn’t like this one. I quite enjoyed the bits of background story we got with each Super hero.
    Pabkins recently posted…Guest Post: Shopping List for a QuestMy Profile

    • Working off notes since its been a few weeks since reading, so I might be wrong about the vaccine. Three of the superheroes were immune to the zombie bites…I should clarify not all, but even one person is just too much for me. Zombie bites are suppose to be the end all.

      The ending bothered me because there was so much buildup and so little plot, no romance really, no connection to the characters, and people died just to die. It just didn’t seem to justify the pages spent setting up the plot .

  3. Wow I can definitely walk away from this review knowing that this one isn’t for me. I love the progression of the story that you have in the list form there *shakes head* Sorry this one completely missed the mark with you, I hope your next read is awesome!
    Jenni recently posted…Book Girl’s Don’t Cry – Things You May Not Know About MeMy Profile

    • I promise I got some 5 star reviews up-in-coming. Like, the Program by Suzanne Young…and I’m going to see her for the 3rd time next week at a signing…and I’m totally not stalking her. *shifty eyes*

  4. Wow, did you read the same book as I did? I *loved* this book and most of the characters. Maybe the one I read is totally different or was rewritten or something? The Ex series is published by Random House, not Permuted Press. Anyway, this is one of my FAVORITE series and I generally hate zombie apocalypse books.

    Cliffhanger ending??? Um, how are you getting that it’s a cliffhanger? Leaving an opening for more books, yes, but cliffhanger means the book’s main crisis/mystery was not resolved…and it was.

  5. Can’t seem to edit, but meant to say, this is the edition I read
    (not sure if it’s the same one you read?) but there is definitely no vaccine, in fact (without giving away any spoilers) it’s pretty apparent that even most of the superheroes are vulnerable to death by zombie and by other means.

    • I edited my review on Amazon, but forgot to edit it here. DOH! There’s actually 3 (instead of most) of the main character superheroes that are entirely immune to the zombie bite. And Pabkins was right, the vaccine was in development but not implemented. Sorry, I wrote this review off of notes a few weeks after reading, so those mistakes are mine. Which is a habit I try not to do for this exact reason.

      I still standby my thoughts on the cliffhanger ending. There’s nothing resolved. There’s a lot more deaths, but in the end they’re just under a different organization and still killing zombies and fighting the same ex-people. The ending just isn’t a proper ending. The entire book feels like a series introduction. We find out that they’re going to fight zombies and ex-heroes for two more books. Yay. That’s the ending.

      Goodreads and Amazon have the publisher listed as Permuted Press, while B&N has the publisher listed as Crown Publishing Group. IDK which one is correct.

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