There is a lot going on in this book. I mean a lot. Two different alien races, a bunch of super humans and a messed up future. And it is never actually explained how we ended up where we find ourselves in this book. We get bits and pieces of the story but are mainly left in the dark.
The title of the book is an apt description of the storytelling method used. And this is unfortunate because there is a good story underneath it all. Boy and unlikely hero fight to save the universe.
Broken is also the name our anti-heroine goes by. She can fly, or at least she used to be able to fly. She is one of the humans with super powers in this tale. But in a slightly predictable and clichéd fashion the reason for her loss of flight is internal rather than external and rather anticlimactic when you get to it. Broken herself is interesting but fights to break out of the box as a character.
Michael is much more interesting. A young boy who is a reluctant hero, but is not heroic about it. The moodiness and angst we expect from a young teen comes across which makes him feel like the most real character in the book.
Many of the characters never breakout of the stereotype to become unique intriguing individuals. Instead we are left with facades that offer no surprises as to action or motivation. This in turn leads to predictability where it shouldn’t be.
The lack of aliens in a book that mentions them several times in the teaser is disappointing as well.
I really wanted more from this book.
I was provided a copy of this book for review.
I shall start by stating that I am not a zombie fan. I don’t watch The Walking Dead and I generally turn the channel when any movie with “zombie” or “living dead” in the title is on.
Ex-Heroes is about zombies – and I liked… nay… loved it.
First I want to give Peter Clines full credit for coming up with an origin for a zombie virus that I can buy. I wasn’t entirely sure it was possible but he did it. Then in a stroke of pure genius he threw in some real life super heroes. And gave a theory for their origin that was slightly less plausible, but I could still buy it. And to make that mix even better set it in Hollywood and have a points system for celebrities you’ve taken out after they became zombies.
The book is written in an unusual format. It jumps between the past and present at different points. While this seemed a bit disconcerting on the surface it actually worked well for the overall plot development and more importantly the character development in this book.
It is hard to pin down a single main character or even two or three. This is a very well written ensemble book. That happens to be chalk full of pop culture references that seem natural.
The only weak aspect of this book was some of the seemingly forced sexual dialogue. I’m not sure if it was because Clines was actively trying to make the book not YA or what, but the only weak scenes involved awkward discussions of sex or descriptions of sex. Without these the book wouldn’t lose any of its edge or bite. They really serve no functional purpose and they aren’t well done enough to add to the ambience or depth.
But back to the seriously awesome stuff. The super heroes have pretty cool powers but are also very real. They are regular people just like us, who happen to have some amazing abilities. They have flaws as well and wicked senses of humor to boot.
I can’t believe I am about to say this… I am looking forward to a zombie book. As long as it is the next in this series.