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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 2 April 2011
As the zombie genre spreads exponentially into the literature community, infusing other sub-genres with the new varieties of undead or living infected, so do the point-of-views in the storylines. In the past few years, POVs include stories told by soldiers, the zombies themselves, and even the Grim Reaper. Ex-Heroes, written by Peter Clines, further mutates the genre with a zombie apocalypse tale told through the eyes of super-heroes.

Readers find out right away that in this world, zombies are known as "exes," as in ex-living. The exes also include super-hero zombies, making self-defense even more complicated. Throw in a gang called The Seventeens - basically the "bad guy" survivors, and Clines has an apocalyptic drama that unites geeks from the comic & horror fan bases.

The storyline is broken up in segments marked "Then," and "Now." "Then" chapters are flashbacks that include how the heroes came to possess their special abilities, as well as the initial virus outbreak, and the downfall of society. "Now" chapters update us on the remaining survivors, struggling to exist in a converted Hollywood movie studio lot.

"People could say a lot of negative things about the apocalypse, but there was no arguing the air quality in Los Angeles had really improved."

Clines pours an incredible amount of detail into the dialogues, character thoughts, and setting descriptions, and yet maintains a fast-pace that flows smoothly between the time changes from beginning to end...graphic, horrifying...need I say more?
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on 24 February 2012
If you like zombies, you'll like this book. If you like super heroes, you'll like this book. If you like tightly plotted, thrill a minute, plot twisting action with varied and insightful characters - maybe not so much. Super heroes are a mainly visual phenomenon and although the author handles the transition from pictures to the written word with some skill, the characters are pretty standard fare. The action revolves around one zonbie battle after another which ultimately gets boring. The actual look of the book with its numerous typos doesn't help and the plot just meanders along with no satisfying conclusion. A good attempt but not a classic.
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on 27 October 2014
The public appetite for zombies seems matched only by the esurience of the shambling undead themselves, so you can’t fault Peter Clines for floating zombies versus superheroes as an idea. Picture little devils/angels on my shoulders alternately convincing me it’ll be great/it’ll be awful before I dived in and discovered that, while it’s not as good as I’d like, it’s probably better than anyone could reasonably expect.

Characterisation doesn’t really feature too strongly – the ones you need to keep track of have superpowers and names like Stealth and Gorgon, while poor old Kate from the first page doesn’t get another look in (or, if she does and I missed her, it doesn’t really matter) – and the plot structure isn’t likely to inspire a creative writing masterclass any time soon, but then what do you expect? In full fairness, I’m choosing to interpret a meta-criticism of Clines’ in the fact that there’s a character he actually calls Richard-Something, and he has a lovely sort-of origin explanation for his apocalypse that brings his threads together in a way that honestly actually (kind of ) works. He has thought this through, and deserves credit for doing so.

Too much time spent in the past exploring the emergence of the supers and their powers curbs the amount of actual plot in the “Now” chapters – limited to some sort of ill-realised vendetta – which stops him developing things beyond mere homage into the sort of Romero Redux you want it to be. Nevertheless, there are sequels in which Clines may yet expropriate the title of Zombie-Themed Nonsense King from everyone else squabbling over it, and I’m willing to give him the chance (especially in light of the Bill &Ted reference).
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on 23 January 2014
Zombies have been prolific in the media for a while and to be honest I have gotten a bit sick of them. End of the world/zombie outbreak seen it, read it, played games of it.

So when I was looking to read a new book having just read "Blackjack Villain" which is a great superhuman style novel, I looked at EX Heroes.

I was skeptical, being so sick of zombies, but was pleasantly surprised by the book and found I couldn't put it down after a while.

The characters are great, obviously taking pages from famous superheroes, but the author knows this and plays it to his strength, making many popular culture references that we as readers know of. So I found myself smiling on these occasions. Perhaps a bit more fleshing out needed in terms of reasoning for their thoughts and feelings...but that will likely come with later novels...

Found the plot gripping and wanted to know more about what drives the characters. So all in all I would say very well written and successful!

Hope to enjoy the rest of the series as much!
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on 3 August 2012
Ok, I read this book a year ago, read the sequel soon after, just picked it up and read it again (obviously not THAT fast) and i still love it, not to blow my own trumpet (even though i can) but ive read a whole lotta zombie novels, this remains one of the very best, the Heroes and their powers do not reek of common law heroes that marvel seem to spit out whilst sitting on the man throne in the private man office, not giving any spoilers away, because that would obviously be silly and rude of me, but even the origin of the virus is pure briliiancnessness, AND if this review still lacks the ability to sell the book, let me just say, many (2) of my friends have purchased this book because of my skills and they have loved it as much as me, its funny, its violent, its clever, there are Zombies for the love of God (i dont)....if thats not enough, its also Peter Clines......seriously peeps, what is notta to love?
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on 10 February 2014
This book is everything I wanted and more. I loved the characters, the story, and the description of the settings and set pieces were fantastic. If you are a comic book and horror movie fan, like myself, you will hopefully enjoy this book as much as I did. Can't wait to read the next one.
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Yep, it's another zombie book but with a clever twist.

We are presented with a reality that has our world with superheroes - not major ones but a range of individuals with a variety of powers and the usual costumes and names. Then we have a world gone zombie and the heroes and surviving humans have moved into Hollywood studios and are defending themselves against the zombies and another group of survivors. And of course, the odd superhero may have gone zombie too....

We are offered an interesting plot, some superhero action and some quite thoughtful characterisation and conflict. And for once we are offered an explanation as to the cause of the living dead and it's one I hadn't expected and I thought was in keeping with the way the story had been built.

A lot of fun and a more then welcome addition to a genre I though had been fully milked.
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on 10 April 2014
it used to be said you can find anything on the internet.
I submit that you can now find anything on Amazon.

A friend recommended this for nearly a year as I blithely ignored his pleas to read it.
Eventually I read it out of poiteness , and immediatly bought the rest. This sounds silly. Its Superheroes vs zombies.
The superheoes came first then the zombies. and some zombies are zombie superheroes.
Its all very well brought togehter - theres no haphazard weldign of genres here - its a coherent excellent storyline bringing togther one of the best written zombie and superheroe stories together.

If you could only read one superhero or one zombie story ever again - you better make it this one.
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on 13 October 2010
With "World War Z" (brilliant, I thought) and "Passage" (ok) zombies are all the rage (although I don't suppose they can ever be as photogenic as vampires, so their film career is maybe limited). This is a novel about "superheroes versus zombies". As they say in the US, "what's not to like?". The varied superheroes are (sometimes) troubled Spiderman-types, sometimes more insouciant. The novel has moments of electric suspense, and geniune wonder, as well as an interesting interplay between (some of) the characters. An excellent genre cross-over, and a great read.
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on 3 August 2012
Two of my favourite genres thoroughly and expertly blended together to give a very entertaining view of this alternative world where superheroes give a hand with the zombie menace.

It's not at all heavy and the emphasis is on the heroes but then in a world where they exist why wouldn't it be.

I have read other forays into the zombie survivor scenario - Adrians Undead Diary etc - and enjoyed the 'one man can make a difference' attitude but this gives us the opportunity to see what difference superheroes would make.

Buy it - you'll really enjoy it!!
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