Early Book Review: Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines

Ex-Heroes is a novel from Peter Clines that does something new with two tried and true types of stories. It is scheduled for release on February 26 2013. Cline combines the classic zombie and survival tale with a story about superheros. Somehow, a number of normal people have developed not so normal powers. Unfortunately, not long after they come to grips with their gifts and how to use them, the nation faces a crisis. A virus seems to be spreading faster that anyone can keep up with, creating the walking dead. When the military, CDC, and nation as a whole fails a group of superheros gathers survivors in Los Angeles and do the best they can to survive. However, there is a group of fellow survivors intent on ruling everyone that is left, and they have some surprises of their own. The story alternated between how the world came to the current fight, and the battle to continue surviving against all odds.

Ex-Heroes was a pleasant surprise on several levels. The story lets readers into the heads of a few superheroes and lets us glimpse at their ideals and creation stories. The story also gives us a creation story for the zombies, and how the world came to end up where it stands in the book. I like that the book also gives us hope, by glimpsing into the minds of characters that really do seem to want to have a positive effect on the world and the individuals in it, as well as acknowledging the dark side of humanity on several levels. I liked the detail that went into the characterization, each major character, and a few secondary characters, felt more real than they should have based on the setting of the book. They really felt both larger than life, and they guy next store. They each had strengths and weaknesses, some of each much larger than one might expect. They felt very much like classic superheroes should- even when protecting the population from zombies as best they can. My only worry with the book, is not for today. There are a good number of pop culture reference in the story. This makes it all feel very current right now, but in ten, twenty, thirty years this book might not stand up quite as well as one might like.

I highly recommend Ex-Heroes to readers looking for something new, a new author, or both. The world and character building is extremely well done. The story itself is action packed while not ignoring the thoughts and conversations needed to give an in-depth look at the characters. I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of the sequel, Ex-Patriots when it is released in April of 2013.
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