Saturday, August 10, 2013

What We're Reading: Zombies and Superheroes!

If the “zombie apocalypse” were to happen here in the greater Los Angeles area tomorrow, where would you go? What location would be best suited as a “safe zone”? Would you try a movie studio? With high walls and restrictive entrances already in place, could a movie studio be fortified against the walking dead? What if you add superheroes into the scenario? How would superheroes work to protect the general population from zombies? Would being a superhero protect you from the zombie plague or would you simply become a zombie with superpowers? These are just some of the ideas explored by Peter Clines in Ex-Heroes.

In the very near future, a small group of individuals begin to realize that they are developing superpowers. No one knows how or why it is happening, it just is. As these individuals begin to explore and master these new gifts, another cataclysmic event occurs: a zombie outbreak. As the new superheroes attempt to protect the vulnerable larger population, the numbers of the infected grow at an alarming rate. A safe area is established in a well-known movie/television studio. Is this the end of the world as we know it?

Ex-Heroes is told in a series of alternating chapters, shifting back and forth in time from the book’s present (our near future), after the zombie plague has taken its toll, to a time just prior to and during the initial outbreak. The story is typical of most zombie fiction (including the requisite violent attacks on both the living and the dead--squeamish readers beware!), but the addition of super-powered heroes adds some interesting twists to what might otherwise be a familiar story. The characters are nicely drawn and varied. The different powers possessed by the superheros are interesting, and Clines deftly shows how a blessing can also be a curse. While Ex-Heroes is in no way an in-depth character study, it does have a bit more substance than might be expected from a “zombie book.” It is also a great deal of fun, especially for readers familiar with the local area and landmarks.

Ex-Heroes is the first book in a new series, with Ex-Patriots and Ex-Communication already released and Ex-Purgatory due in January of 2014.

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