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Ex-Communication: A Novel (Ex-Heroes) Paperback – July 9, 2013
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Praise for Ex-Heroes:
“Bound to appeal to fans of zombies and superheroes alike… If ever a book had the potential for a Hollywood blockbuster, this is it.” —SF Signal
“I was completely floored by this book’s ingenuity and charm...exemplifies the real meaning of a page-turner.” —Fantasy Book Critic
“I loved this pop culture-infused tale of shamed superheroes struggling to survive a zombie apocalypse in the ruins of Hollywood. It's The Avengers meets The Walking Dead with a large order of epic served on the side.”
—Ernest Cline, New York Times bestselling author of Ready Player One
“Zombies? Check. Superheroes? Check. Awesome? Check. Ex-Heroes has it all. You’re in for a treat!”
—Mira Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Feed
“A novel that will take you on a wild and heart-warming ride...[A] creative zombie story, with in-depth characters, and filled with humor, action, and gruesome fight scenes…the final clash made my heart race in ways seldom accomplished by a book.”
About the Author
PETER CLINES has published several pieces of short fiction and countless articles on the film and television industries, as well as the novels Ex-Heroes, Ex-Patriots, Ex-Purgatory, and 14. He lives and writes in southern California.
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I have to mention one thing I love about these books that will probably seem trivial. I’m not fond of books that hop around in time so excessively that dates and times are tacked on to every chapter start. The more different times or dates displayed, the harder it gets to keep the book’s timeline straight. Clines has done one thing to correct this that is surprisingly elegant: chapters are simply labeled as either ‘Then’ or ‘Now’–flashback to the past or narrating the present. I want to see more authors using this instead of dates.
Issues of life-and-death, resurrection, and identity weave their way through the various plots playing out. How do you decide what is part of the ‘natural order of things’ when you’ve discovered zombies, superheroes, and super-soldiers are all real? Where do you stop? Is it possible that the zombies could still be harboring pieces of their ‘real’ selves beyond those blank stares? This is a fascinating angle to explore, and religion does get pulled into it at a reasonable level. (By reasonable I mean that while there are some fanatics, there are also much more reasonable religious characters as well. A spectrum is provided.)
Don’t worry–there isn’t just philosophical material to ponder; there’s also plenty of excitement. I couldn’t put the book down once it reached the climactic fight scenes and plot twists. They played out spectacularly.
I ended up babbling about fascinating parts of the plot and characters to my husband, which as I’ve mentioned before is often the sign that a book is good enough to make the jump from a 4-out-of-5 to a 5-out-of-5. It means the book really pulled me in, held my attention, and made me think–made me love the characters and care what happened to them.
It's been a little while since the enhanced soldiers from Project Krypton have moved in with the survivors of Los Angeles. The survivors have spread beyond the Mount (the high-walled grounds of Paramount Studios where the original safe zone was created) and built a wall of derelict cars around several more city blocks, giving their 20,000+ population real houses and apartments to live in. They're working to reestablish civilization, and beyond the regular attacks by Legion (a supervillain who controls the zombie "ex-humans"), they all actually have a life again. But Barry (who can turn himself into a ball of living energy and supplies power to everyone while he is "Zzzap") has been acting odd and been talking to himself. The heroes worry that he may have some serious mental issues, which would be a problem since they not only rely on him, but he is virtually unstoppable while in his energy form. This leads into an event where a formerly lost hero is brought back, and along with him, a horrible and terrible danger.
The plot is absolutely mesmerizing. Everything is brought to life with perfect prose and characterizations. Everyone feels real, and while the concept is that these are superheroes you would find in a comic book, it doesn't feel that way. The zombies, and the villain Legion, form a plausible backdrop to the environment. They're dangerous and scary, but are now just a part of life, with no more attention being given to them would occur naturally in the story. In other words, everything feels organic and nothing feels forced.
While one old hero is brought back into the spotlight, a new character is also introduced, and her introduction is wonderfully executed through a series of her journal entries where you not only find out about her, but understand the unique position she finds herself in. The story builds, gaining momentum, until there is finally an epic battle of good versus literal evil in a fight for the remains of humanity. What's impressive is that this grand ambition is fully met and realized, and is thoroughly satisfying.
If you haven't read them yet, get the first two books, then pick this one up. And then follow it with "Ex-Purgatory" (the fourth in the series). It's a fully engaging and captivating series.
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