Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes. Vigilantes. Crusaders for justice, using their superhuman abilites to make Los Angeles a better place. Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Despite the best efforts of the superheroes, the police, and the military, the hungry corpses rose up and overwhelmed the country. The population was decimated, heroes fell, and the city of angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland like so many others.
Now, a year later, the Mighty Dragon and his companions must overcome their differences and recover from their own scars to protect the thousands of survivors sheltered in their film studio-turned-fortress, the Mount. The heroes lead teams out to scavenge supplies, keep the peace within the walls of their home, and try to be the symbols the survivors so desperately need. For while the ex-humans walk the streets night and day, they are not the only threat left in the world, and the people of the Mount are not the only survivors left in Los Angeles. Across the city, another group has grown and gained power. And they are not heroes.
©2010 Peter Clines (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
No Plot Spoilers.
The only reason I listened to this book is because I stumbled across '14', one of Clines' more recent works. I absolutely adored that. Then I read the summary here and was... disheartened. I love superheroes. I love zombies. I couldn't imagine the two mixed. So I put this on the way, way, waaaaay back burner until I listened to The Fold, his most recent book, and became an official Clines fan boy. So, I waded into Ex-Heroes with an open mind and heart.
I was not disappointed. Action from start to finish. Brilliant pace. Insanely believable reactions and actions, factoring in the book's setting. Beautifully developed characters that I can't wait to see grow even further in the future books (thank god for three more in my queue).
I'm also not a huge fan of multi-narrator books, but it worked really well in this situation. Great performances by both, though Snyder took the primary and did most of the narration.
For those of you reading these reviews and seeing a bunch of us who, probably like you, were very hesitant to listen because of the implausible plot devices... just trust us. If you want great writing and story, mixed in with just the right amount of adult content and "oh wow, that's cool" factor; this is the book for you. Don't get me wrong, it's entertainment, not literature... but boy is it entertaining. Better than a movie (though I can't believe this hasn't been made yet).
Absolutely worth a credit. Awesome.
I kept seeing this book under the "We thought you'd like..." section after listening to I Am Legend but couldn't imagine a book like this being even remotely good. I have been a comic book fan since I was 8-years-old, so I have no problem with superheroes. The oversaturation of the marketplace with Zombie literature has made me leery to purchase any books in this genre.
After reading many positive reviews though, I finally gave in and made the purchase and it was well worth the credit. Ex Heroes is one of the more original spins on the zombie tale I have seen/read/listened to. Its the freshest take on zombies I've read since Pontypool Changes Everything. Peter Clines does an excellent job of building a seemingly realistic post-zombie apocalypse world and creating a surprisingly believable cast of characters, though they are superheroes inhabiting an America that is constantly fighting to keep the zombie masses from overrunning the last outposts of civilization.
I recommend this book to anyone. Like I said, I am not a zombie fan but I could not put this book down. Its sequel, Ex Patriots, is equally as good. And the term "Ex Heroes" doesn't mean former heroes. "Ex" is the term they use for the zombies...as in ex-human.
If you've read and loved graphic novels like 'Ex Machina', 'Y: The Last Man', 'Watchmen', or 'The Walking Dead', then this is a pipe-full of tobacco cured, aged and toasted with your palate in mind, my friend.
If you haven't read any of those, go check them out immediately; they're fantastic!
Seriously though, this is a great novel for enthusiasts of sci-fi, action, adventure and superheroes. It's also got a bit of grit, a bit of depth, but not so much that the story isn't fun.
Finally, I like the author, Peter Cline's style. I dig the way he expresses himself in narrative exposition and dialogue of the protagonists. There's a sense of rapport - like spending time with a brother or a life-long friend. It's the same in Cline's two other novels and it makes me hopeful the guy keeps writing!
I am a blind lawyer and aspiring writer, trying to read a little bit of everything but partial to sci-fi and military fiction.
Okay, so the zombie genre has gotten a bit bloated as of late, with everyone having a crack at it and employing the poor undead corpse as a vehicle for everything from pointed social commentary to gritty military science fiction. What we have here, I am happy to say, is something more in line with zombie entertainments of yesteryear, something you can and really should just take in as light entertainment. Don't get me wrong, I loved Day by Day Armageddon, and zombie apocalypse as medium for social expression is all well and good, but sometimes you just want a story in which people fight hordes of the undead and live to tell the tale. And there are superheroes? What? This should be good for a laugh or two, right? And it is.
I'm blind, so the primary media for superhero fiction (comic books, summer blockbusters, etc) are a bit beyond my easy reach. So the story of person learns to employ superhuman powers, meets naturally or artificially imposed limitations, circumvents same, repeat, is not as tired for me as it may be for some. And the same goes for the entertainment had when the good guys get to cut loose and finally save the day, inevitable as that turn in fortune might be. There are some rather big gaps in this plot, to which you must just nod and go, "Okay, well I guess that's what they have to deal with," and move on. If you're like me and just want to be entertained, these qualifications shouldn't matter all that much, as you just enjoy the ride to its conclusion.
I was very excited by the use of two narrators at the outset, then a little concerned as the editing of some conversations and mismatch of tone occasionally suggested to me that the presentation would have been cleaner and more coherent with just one. But in the end, when asking myself if having both made the experience better, I'd say the choice was a good one.
I did wonder whether the reduced price I paid for this book during a sale played a part in my opinnion of the experience. I have to conclude that it did, given that on sale it was about half its typical member price. All the same, what I think was a great short listen at the price I paid would more than satisfy in exchange for a credit.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
Hmmm... sounds silly, doesn't it... Superheroes versus Zombies. Isn't it bad enough that we have to suspend disbelief to acknowledge the existence of one of these groups, let alone both??
Surprisingly, the answer is no. Both the zombies and the superheroes are believably written, and I found myself not even batting an eye when each new superheroes' powers were revealed... a guy who is a living sun, sure, a guy who is a light-sink, sure, a guy who is possessed by an alien demon, why not...
Yes, I'm serious, all these and more were in the story, and they were all believable within their own skill sets, and each was distinctly written (so you could tell which superhero was which when they spoke, not just when flexing their superpowers).
I liked how the source of the zombies was explained - also quite believably - and even the struggle with the "bad guy" makes sense if you think about how valuable superheroes would be in a post-apocalyptic world, particularly when they can be used as a power source, or an invincible supply-scouter.
I already have bought the next in the series. The narration is very good.
I have an eclectic taste in books. I move from Jodi Picoult to Gillian Flynn. From Ken Kesey to Janet Evanovich. If it is good, I'll read it
I didn't hold out much hope that this would be anything other than a marginally okay book. I was happy to be wrong about Ex-Heroes. This campy zombocalyptic tale will suck you in when you least expect it. I was a huge fan of comics when I was younger so I suppose that has a lot to do with my love of this story. I would recommend this to any fan of the horror and comic genres!
The dialogue between characters is very smart and realistic, given that they're super heroes. There's nothing corny about this novel at all, which was my greatest fear when I purchased it. However, to enjoy this book, you must suspend all belief in well-grounded universal physics, even for a fictitious world. There isn't an author-designed ecosystem that explains these supernatural occurrences; the book is simply too brief for that. The focus is on the character interactions and action, so it's a quick, easy, entertaining listen.
I absolutely love Khristine Hvam. The last few books I have listened to have been by her, coincidentally. Usually I avoid doing that because you don't want to think of two books with the same sounding characters... Distracting. But not with her. I am amazed by that. And I've enjoyed her readings so much I consider books read by her higher because she always narrates good books. Jay was great also. That sounds so trite after my praise for Hvam. But I really did like him a lot. W
Eh, I don't know about a particular moment. I just really enjoyed the book and definitely recommend it. Worth the credit.
Im a huge scifi urban fantasy fan, don't usually care one way or another for zombies. But this was done well, not just apocalyptic crap. Overall good book.
It rates among my top 20 but I've listened to a lot of audiobooks by the greats.
I liked how the author combined the two genres without the story feeling forced. It felt like both a comic book and a horror movie. The literary device of breaking the story into current and past time lines works well and helps to develop the heroes. Like any good comic book you need an origin story and this audiobook does a great job of including the heroes origins alongside a compelling story.
No but I really enjoyed having two voice actors for the reading. It worked to set the female characters apart from the male characters and make each one their own.
For these superheroes the end of the world was just the beginning of their story.
If you like comic books and enjoy a good zombie apocalypse yarn then you will really enjoy this audiobook.
Superheroes and zombie novels appeal to the fourteen-year-old boy in me, and when I read one, I am usually disappointed because I am no longer a fourteen-year-old boy. Ex-Heroes is the ultimate superheroes+zombies mashup, with the Earth's surviving superheroes (okay, Los Angeles's surviving superheroes) protecting what remains of the living human population from the undead hordes after the zombie apocalypse.
This very "high concept" premise makes for a fun story that would make a pretty entertaining comic series, and Clines delivers plenty of gonzo superheroic action combined with gonzo zombie gore. You can really see he is trying to describe multi-panel superhero slugfests and gut-ripping zombie action in full four-color spectacle just as it would appear on the pages of a comic book, which is why the fight scenes are prolonged and detailed and full of roars and screams and sound effects and people getting knocked through walls and blasted about, interspersed with hero/villain banter and the occasional monologue. So Clines has the feel of the genre for sure.
But that's all this book is: a novelized comic book. The characters are interesting insofar as we get flashbacks to their origins, a description of their powers and major personality quirks, and then their current doings in post-zombie-apocalypse LA, but no one really comes alive as more than a comic book illustration accompanied by a list of vitals. Cerberus is the chick in the mecha suit, Stealth is the emotionally detached mastermind who dresses in leather lingerie, Gorgon is the guy whose underage girlfriend got zombified and now he is muchly angsted, the Mighty Dragon is Superman with fire-breath, etc. The Big Bad, when he finally appears, is only mildly threatening since we're pretty much told he's an idiot, which means he'll rack up a few casualties and then be defeated.
Clines delivers servicable action, but his writing is not great and his characterization is about par for a comic book. This is a fun but eminently forgettable romp, though I might listen to book two the next time I need some entertainment only slightly less mindless than a zombie movie.
"Ex-citing, Ex-traordinary, Ex-tremely entertaining"
If you like the Zombie genre, are open to super heroes and alternative universes this is the book for you.
I loved it, the Super heroes are well thought out and have all the classic powers, and a few that are rather different. The zombie issue has more imagination than most zombie novels making it more realistic and has a great final origin twist.
Ex-Heroes is well paced and full of action with just the right amount of humor. Mr Clines has written a well thought out, entertaining tale, combining two great genres of modern day writing.
Then getting Jay Snyder and Khristine Hvam, to take you to Clines besieged Hollywood Lot and infected LA with their remarkable acting and story telling techniques is a stroke of genius. All of Clines exciting characters spring to life from the speaker. St George (Brilliant idea,) is voiced so you know he's a cool hero and a nice guy. With Stealth a sexy mysterious genius leader and Lady Bee leaving a mans blood pressure up. The whole narration of this brilliant novel leaves you with a desire to hear more, more, more.
I am a big fan of the Walking Dead and Science Fiction in general, this is why I was attracted originally. The story is set in L.A the not so distant future, millions are infected by a virus that has turned them into flesh eating Zombies. The heroes battle daily along side the non infected for survival and there are some great heroes in this tale. A gripping story line well narrated with great characters.They could turn this into movie and I would really like a sequel.
"Good and enjoyable"
Granted you like like superheroes and/or zombies you'll like this release. It's quite humorous at times and a nice mixture of genres. The characters have interesting backgrounds (how they got their superpowers etc) and the narrative works really well and the obligatory final battle contains an interesting twist or two.
The two narrators are also doing a very good job. All in all a good buy, if you ask me.
"different take on the zombie world"
As I do do a lot of travelling , audio-books are an essential part of my travel kit. its nice occasionally to hear something a little bit different and slightly off centre . mixing two genres is difficult at best but is done with skill and with obvious affection for the leading characters, enjoyed this and the follow up immensely.
Peter Clines is my new favourite author, after listening to 14 and now Ex-Heroes. This is the 1st book in a series, and I can't wait to get stuck into the next!
Not only has LA been taken over by zombies, but a while before, people started to discover superpowers. These new superheroes are now helping to protect a group of humans from the zombies, and a nasty gang.
The heroes are all brand new, and well thought out, and as the book progresses we get to know a lot more about them, as well as how the 'zombie invasion' came about.
The writing is clear and easy to follow, and it's so easy to picture this as a film or mini-series. In fact, I'm amazed it's not been snapped up already!
A note about the narration - some of the chapters give the backstory of a female character, and these are read by a female narrator. In other chapters though, the bulk is read by the male narrator, with the female speaking just female line. This is a little unusual at first, but soon sounds quite natural - if you find it off-putting, give it time.
"A nice take on the zombie apocalypse."
This is one book where the narration adds an extra layer to the story itself. No spoliers from me, just listen to it!
"An interesting take on Zombie Apocalypse"
I have to say, although the subject matter has been done time and time again in books and TV, this version gave it a bit of a twist by introducing Heros - reminding me a bit of "First of the North star" for those of you who know your Manga. I would read another for a bit of fun / mindless entertainment, but not top of the list.
The ending was dramatic and about what you expect from the way the story was set up.
Not listened to any others.
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