EX-HEROES adds to the growing ranks of post-apocalyptic zombie books filling the shelves these days. While it does not bring an entirely fresh voice to this popular genre, Peter Clines’ novel is not unoriginal, and the premise is certainly an interesting one.

Set in Los Angeles after zombies have taken over the city — and, as far as we can tell, the rest of the world — EX-HEROES focuses on a group of superheroes protecting a small colony of human survivors, struggling to stay alive and make a future for themselves in zombie-land. Holed up inside Paramount studios, aka “the Mount,” the small population relies on limited ammunitions and seemingly limited powers to stave off continued undead attacks.

Unfortunately for the residents of the Mount and their super-human protectors, the living dead (referred to as the “exes,” short for ex-humans) are not the only threat to this survivor colony. Another group of humans has survived and is now led by the Seventeens, a notorious gang of L.A. When the zombies start showing signs of thought and intention rather than their typical aimless wandering, and the Seventeens plan an attack against the Mount to seek personal revenge on select superheroes, things take a turn for the worse.

Again, Clines’ story is not unoriginal. It asks some big questions: In a world of zombies, how independent can one man be, and how much must he rely on others? What kind of hope is there in a world overrun by the living dead? How can any semblance of order be maintained in the face of the unbelievable?

Sadly, although the concept of the book showed excellent promise, EX-HEROES leaves much left unexplained and many characters undeveloped or completely forgotten. Limitations on the powers of the superheroes seem to vanish when in dire need, providing the author an easy out in saving characters lives, or not. Although the writing throughout the battle scenes is strikingly well-done — you can tell that Clines had a running image of each fight as he wrote it — dialogue and explanation throughout the rest of the novel suffer from poor editing and even worse copyediting.

Despite these flaws, lovers of zombie fiction are bound to enjoy the book, and those who might have only a passing interest in post-apocalyptic zombie novels — such as myself — will find themselves swept up in the story by the second half. Maybe not the best addition to post-apocalyptic literature we’ve seen in recent years, but an entertaining novel from an author that suggests a lot of potential. Let’s just hope Clines’ next work is slightly more polished, both in its original writing and by its editorial team. —Kerry Serini

Buy it at Amazon.

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Comment by BoozeBear
2010-04-12 22:21:22

I agree whole-heartedly. Having read the book, I was sure it was an un-edited pre-release copy, but sadly I was mistaken. It was simply that poorly copy-edited.

I truly wish the story had been better written. It had so much promise, and a great premise. In the end, though, Clines is more storyteller than author, and needs to refine his style before he can truly be considered a writer.

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Comment by David Z
2010-04-19 18:51:20

I really wanted to read this and appreciate the straight ahead review. I am a fairly easy to please reader to be honest, but bad copy editing just kills my enjoyment of book, especially a somewhat pricey under 300 pager. Perhaps my local library will pick it up, I’d still check it out just to see how the premise is put across, I think original superhero stories set in a zombie apocalypse holds a lot of interesting possibilities.

Also, you can check this out, it wasn’t great, but I liked it and features a bunch of newly created superheroes battling a zombie plague that spreads not just amongst the normal folks, but other caped crusaders as well.


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Comment by Kerry
2010-04-20 12:21:36

David – if you are into zombie stories, it is still worth the read (although it’s a relatively short book, so I’m with you on the library idea). Thanks for the link – looks like an interesting book!

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Comment by Eric L.
2011-09-19 13:47:29

All those who have left negative comments about this book are very obviously NOT zombie fans. Zombie fiction is like sex…even bad sex is still good sex! The same with zombie novels, even a so called bad novel is still great to read.
This book however is not a bad read, it’s a great book and becuase of the writing it’s easy to get past the editing which was minimal to begin with.
The above people don’t know what they’re talking about.
Zombie fans will LOVE this book and it’s sequal, Ex-Patriots.

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Comment by Eric L.
2011-09-19 13:49:35

The people who left poor comments about this book are retarded!
This novel is great. And with the addition of the sequal, Ex-Patriots, it gets even better.
They are obviously NOT zombie fiction fans.
It’s a great read!

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Comment by Sxeptomaniac
2011-12-16 21:35:45

I’m with this review, for the most part. I noticed a couple copyediting issues, but it was within what I can accept. Perhaps the Kindle version I read had been cleaned up a little.

I agree that the character development was uneven. I would have liked to get a better sense of the characters, but they mostly felt a little too one-dimensional, even the ones that had a huge amount of potential.

That said, I still enjoyed the read. I’m not really into zombie stories, but I did enjoy comic books and superheroes tremendously growing up, so this book tapped into that interest for me. Hopefully Cline will improve on this work in the future.

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