If you haven’t heard of the Ex-series, now is as good a time as any to “prick your ears up”. Ex-heroes was the first book in the Ex-series, published in 2010. Since then 2 more book has been published, with the 4th book published on January 14th.
The Ex-series is a series following the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse but it’s more than this. Aside from the retro (and cool!) slow zombies, which is how they are meant to be, there is one awesome twist to the story. Around the same time a deadly and infectious disease developed to kill off mankind, so did a few individuals develop superpowers. Think X-men, only cooler. And one of the characters is an honest to god sorcerer.
St. George, Zzzap, Stealth, Gorgon, Regenerator, Cerberus and a few other heroes has taken it upon themselves to protect the last remnants of humanity in Los Angeles. They have managed to convert Universal Studios to a fortress, keeping the zombies out, but at the same time keeping the regular people trapped inside.
In many ways, the Ex-series is the coming of age of a group of superheroes who has to overcome insurmountable odds in order to save what is left of humanity. And while there’s superheroes, there’s also supervillains, who has chosen to abuse their powers.
This series reads like a great comic book or a action/sci-fi/zombie movie mixed into one. It’s a lot of fun, with some superhero clichés, lots of action packed zombie disposal, coupled with a few great hero characters.
St. George, The Mighty Dragon, is the one of the regulars, and perhaps the most cliché and unoriginal of the cast. Fortunately, he’s pretty awesome. He’s akin to Superman, only not as obnoxious, and he jumps and floats in the air, while spewing fire.
The rest of the cast and crew are more original, but that is just one of the things I like about this series. Neither the zombies or the superhero part of this story is original, but when it’s packed together, it fits just perfectly. There is a good flow and an exciting plot in all 4 volumes. The two first books especially was absolutely fantastic. That is not to say that book 3 and 4 are not good, but the first two remain my favourites.
Ex-Purgatory by Peter Clines
Ex-purgatory was published last week, and is the 4th book in the Ex-series. It picks up where Ex-communication left off. The battle for the last living souls of Los Angeles continues, although in a different manner. St. George wakes up one day and the world is back to normal. The question he has to ask himself is this: was it all a dream, or did the apocalypse really happen?
The fact is, he is back at his old job, everything is as it used to, and he doesn’t want to go back to the days of barely scraping by in a post apocalyptic world.
While St. George is battling with his inner desires of whether or not he wants to be the superhero he (maybe) used to be, or if he wants to live his old regular life.
The composition of this story is pretty much the same as always. It’s split in “Now” and “Then” parts, and we slowly go through the origin stories and former life of the different heroes. It still works great. I love a good origin story, and we get to know each character more intimately.
This time around there is far less zombies, and a lot more real world involved than in the previous volumes. I missed the zombie-fication quite a bit. The person St. George is explored more thoroughly, and he doesn’t make for the most exciting read. He’s a good person, albeit a bit boring, and all the time while reading this, I wanted to kick him in the nuts to make him do something. That encounter would most likely not end up in my favour, but there it is.
There is lots of funny moments that refer to characters or storylines taking place in the first 3 books, though the characters doesn’t know this at the time.
And when I say Ex-Purgatory is boring, do not take my word for it literally. I read the book in one sitting, and I really love this series. It’s a fast paced, but most of all fun and exciting read.
Much of this book doesn’t move the overall story of the series forward, but towards the end a lot of the book start to make sense. It’s a good sequel, but I hope the next installment will focus a bit more on the overall story and progression.
It’s a worthy sequel, and I would recommend this to anyone who wants a different, but more magical version of a zombie apocalypse.
Review copy courtesy of Crown Publishing through NetGalley