& Review: Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines

Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines. Science Fiction/Fantasy. Publisher: Crown Publishing Group.

Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines. Science Fiction/Fantasy. Publisher: Crown Publishing Group.

The Book Itself: Is it weird that I like the titles for this series? Half block letters, half scrawl, very vigilante-esque. I like having a visual of the superheroes, as well. It’s hard to picture what some of them look like (except for Stealth. They like to mention how sexy Stealth looks every chance they get…)

My Review: 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. 

Zombies and superheroes. Is there a more awesome combo?!

This book only has a couple of slow spots (tactical meetings, backstory for some but not all of our undead-fighting pals), and the rest is action, action, action. In a way, it reads like an action packed TV show. It’s very “baddie of the week” (although in this case, it turns out to be the same couple of baddies).

I liked the variety of powers, and the fact that it felt like not all of the superheroes were invincible. In fact, only the Mighty Dragon/St. George (took me a little bit to realize both names were in reference to the same hero) can wade into a horde of zombies and not be bitten because they physically cannot bite through his flesh. Their emotional wounds are also present, as you might expect in a world where loved ones have turned dead and ravenous for your own flesh.

There are a couple of points where you feel as if all hope is lost (as all good action-based stories go – there have to be stakes that feel real in order for the whole thing to pay off), and our heroes pull ahead (spoiler alert?). So it definitely keeps things spicy and keeps you turning the pages.

I’m looking forward to the next installments fleshing (ha! Pun unintended…) out the rest of the hero characters. In this first book, everyone’s tragedies are just briefly touched upon. You get the most out of St. George, but you get a taste of some pretty tragic stuff from a couple of the others.

Overall, it’s well-paced and the characters interesting…so far. There are a lot of them, and I’m nervous for how that will be handled in the next book or two. Could be hard to juggle all of that backstory and still give readers characters to root for and feel empathetic for.

My Grade: B


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