Ex-Heroes (Ex-Heroes Series #1)

( 126 )

Overview

Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes, using their superhuman abilities to make Los Angeles a better place.
 
Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Billions died, civilization fell, and the city of angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland. 
 
Now, a year later, the Mighty Dragon and his ...

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Ex-Heroes (Ex-Heroes Series #1)

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Overview

Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes, using their superhuman abilities to make Los Angeles a better place.
 
Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Billions died, civilization fell, and the city of angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland. 
 
Now, a year later, the Mighty Dragon and his companions protect a last few thousand survivors in their film-studio-turned-fortress, the Mount. Scarred and traumatized by the horrors they’ve endured, the heroes fight the armies of ravenous ex-humans at their citadel’s gates, lead teams out to scavenge for supplies—and struggle to be the symbols of strength and hope the survivors so desperately need.
 
But the hungry ex-humans aren’t the only threats the heroes face. Former allies, their powers and psyches hideously twisted, lurk in the city’s ruins. And just a few miles away, another group is slowly amassing power . . . led by an enemy with the most terrifying ability of all. 

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In the years before the plague of the living dead, Stealth, Gorgon, and the other superheroes had guarded Los Angeles, keeping the sprawling city safe from criminals. Those days are forever gone. Now, with billions dead and zombies swarming almost everywhere, these mighty protectors are reduced to protecting the few remaining survivors in a makeshift fortress that was once a film studio. Peter Clines' debut trade paperback and NOOK Book original possesses a sure-handed cinematic feel.

From the Publisher
“Bound to appeal to fans of zombies and superheroes alike… If ever a book had the potential for a Hollywood blockbuster, this is it.” —SF Signal

“I was completely floored by this book’s ingenuity and charm...exemplifies the real meaning of a page-turner.” —Fantasy Book Critic

“I loved this pop culture-infused tale of shamed superheroes struggling to survive a zombie apocalypse in the ruins of Hollywood. It's The Avengers meets The Walking Dead with a large order of epic served on the side.”
—Ernest Cline, New York Times bestselling author of Ready Player One 
 
“Zombies? Check. Superheroes? Check. Awesome? Check. Ex-Heroes has it all. You’re in for a treat!”
—Mira Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Feed

“A novel that will take you on a wild and heart-warming ride...[A] creative zombie story, with in-depth characters, and filled with humor, action, and gruesome fight scenes…the final clash made my heart race in ways seldom accomplished by a book.”
Wired.com

From the Publisher
"I loved this pop culture-infused tale of shamed superheroes struggling to survive a zombie apocalypse in the ruins of Hollywood. It's The Avengers meets The Walking Dead with a large order of epic served on the side."
—Ernest Cline, New York Times bestselling author of Ready Player One
 
"Zombies? Check. Superheroes? Check. Awesome? Check. Ex-Heroes has it all. You’re in for a treat!"
—Mira Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Feed

“A novel that will take you on a wild and heart-warming ride...[A] creative zombie story, with in-depth characters, and filled with humor, action, and gruesome fight scenes…the final clash made my heart race in ways seldom accomplished by a book.”
Wired.com

Chuck McKenzie
If ever there was a novel that I'd give just about anything to see turned into a movie, EX-HEROES would be it.
Chuck McKenzie
If ever there was a novel that I'd give just about anything to see turned into a movie, EX-HEROES would be it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804136570
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/26/2013
  • Series: Ex-Heroes Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 206,590
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

PETER CLINES has published several pieces of short fiction and countless articles on the film and television industry. He currently lives and writes somewhere in southern California. Ex-Heroes is his first novel.

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Interviews & Essays

A Conversation with Peter Clines

Author of EX-HEROES

You grew up in Stephen King territory in Maine, yes? Did that make you into a zombie fan at an early age?


Well, I was at the southern edges of Mr. King's fallout zone. It's a little town called Cape Neddick, a little tourist place on the coast, and someone told me once that the population was ten times bigger in the summer than in the winter. And to be honest, I was terrified of everything as a kid. Land of the Lost gave me nightmares. Heck, there was an episode of Fantasy Island that gave me nightmares. I was right there when King's career really exploded, but his books terrified me. I finally worked up my courage to read one of his short stories, “The Boogeyman,” when I was twelve or so, and to this day I can't sleep with the closet door open. The original Ghost Rider comics were my first tentative steps into horror, and even some of those freaked me out. My love of the genre really blossomed in college.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?


Well, to quote George Carlin, not in the womb, but right after that . . . yeah.
I can remember making scenes with my Star Wars figures and adjusting them all each night as their story progressed. In third grade I hand-wrote a “novel” that I called Lizard Men from the Center of the Earth, which was about . . . well, guess. Once I discovered my mom's old Smith-Corona typewriter it was all over. I spent all my free time writing comic books and some truly awful Boba Fett fan fiction before there was such a term. I even made some early attempts at novels. One of the great tragedies of American literature is that our garage flooded in high school and all of that was destroyed.
(It's not really a tragedy . . .)

It sounds like you were—no offense—kind of a comic geek when you were a kid?


When I was a kid, yeah. And a teenager. And a college student. To be honest, writing comic books was my big goal when I was little. My first rejection letters are from Jim Shooter—then Marvel's editor in chief—because I would send him some of those (in retrospect) really God-awful stories every other month. With cover art. This is back when I was maybe ten or eleven. He was amazingly polite to a stupid kid. On one level, Ex-Heroes was my chance to finally write the kind of heroes I grew up with.

Do you have a favorite superhero?


I'm a long-time Spider-Man fan. I started collecting The Amazing Spider-Man when I was about nine or ten and kept with it for years. I've got one of those big longboxes just filled with issues. I finally got so frustrated, though, with Marvel's big “Civil War” promotion, and especially how they resolved it. When Spider-Man made a deal with the devil to erase half his life, including his wife and best friend . . . well, I was done.

It sounds like you're not really interested in comics now, though. What do you think about mainstream comics these days?


Tough question. I am a bit disillusioned with the big two comic publishers. To be clear, I don't think there's a problem with using the medium of comics to tell more dramatic, adult-themed stories. The Sandman, The Walking Dead, Unknown Soldier—these are all fantastic stories by great writers. My problem is when this sort of storytelling gets pushed onto characters like Spider-Man or Superman or Captain America, because “dramatic” becomes shorthand for “really messed up.” I think it detracts from these classic characters to push them into molds they weren't meant to fill, and those stories tend to just come across as pointless melodrama. Characters have six-page soliloquies about the nature of heroism rather than just doing something heroic. I've seen people try to do “realistic” stories with the Hulk . . . a character who got his powers by standing next to a nuclear bomb when it went off. These elements can be a nice polish on a story, but there's also a point where they have no business being used. I don't think it's a coincidence that the industry has been struggling so much since this type of storytelling became the norm.

When you moved to California you ended up working in the film industry for almost fifteen years. What kind of work did you do there?


I was a property master—the person who deals with hand props—on a lot of television shows and movies. I worked on a lot of cult things like one of the Beastmaster movies, Veronica Mars, and a bunch of lesser-known stuff. I'm actually the murderer in Psycho Beach Party for most of the movie. I prop-mastered Helen Mirren's directorial debut, and she told me I looked like the type of person who should be sitting on the porch of a southern plantation writing novels.
Also, I was writing scripts on the side. People looked at some of my feature scripts and television episodes, and I made the final round in a bunch of screenplay contests. All this industry experience led to a job writing articles for Creative Screenwriting magazine, which I did for several years. I interviewed George Romero, Kevin Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Orci & Kurtzman, and dozens and dozens of other writers and directors.

So how did all of this come together to form Ex-Heroes?


Ex-Heroes was some random stuff I'd been thinking about for ages, and also kind of a response to a superhero-zombie miniseries I read. I started thinking about how I would've done the story, and that might've been the end of it, except a few months later my girlfriend and I got a place together. I unpacked some boxes I'd been lugging around and found a couple of sketchbooks filled with superheroes I'd made up as a kid. They were all standard comic book archetypes, and I realized if I updated and polished them a bit (and gender-swapped two or three of them), a lot of them would slot into that story I wanted to tell. So I ended up writing and rewriting this book between magazine interviews and reviews all that summer, usually nervous and worried because I was turning down assignments to work on a novel.
So that's where Ex-Heroes came from—born of nerd-rage, childhood creativity, and some blind panic.

Gender-swapped characters?


Yeah. Oddly enough, when I was eleven I didn't really see the point of female superheroes. Who'd want to see women in spandex beating up bad guys and being kick-ass? That's just silly, right? So in all those old sketches Cerberus was a man, Banzai was a man. So was Night Stalker, the character I renamed Stealth.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?


I don't know. If I could actually pick? I guess we've all wanted to fly at one point or another. I remember being obsessed with super-speed at one point as a kid. Maybe teleportation. Yeah, I hate traffic, so teleportation would be fantastic.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 126 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(68)

4 Star

(38)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 126 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I didn't want to put it down and now that I have finished reading EX-HEROES, I want to read the sequel!

    Having spent the last few years reading mostly non-fiction, this was the best escape from reality that I have had in a long time. I found the characters as compelling and fascinating as I remember the X-Men being during the Claremont years. Superheroes and zombies have not been a big draw for me since my teen years, but I loved this book and could not put it down. The way the story unfolds is gripping. This book also broached a topic I am very interested in, how do people respond in the face of disaster. Clines handled this beautifully with the complexity of his characters conflicts. As soon as I finished reading the last page, I was ready to pick up the sequel. I hope there will be a sequel!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    Great mashup of superheroes and zombies. What's not to like?

    This is a really fun read. I recommend it along with the sequel Ex-Patriots which I'm currently reading.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2011

    Entertaining Reading

    I am a fan of the zombie genre and this novel adds a nice new twist. I was a little skeptical at first but quickly changed my mind as Clines developed the characters and their assorted histories. You might think the super hero factor seems out of place but I was amazed at how well the two genres blended together to form a cohesive story. I would definitely recommend reading this novel.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2013

    When EX-HEROES mixed super-heroes and zombies, I didn't realize

    When EX-HEROES mixed super-heroes and zombies, I didn't realize how dumb un-scary zombies would be if there is no threat of dying.  Besides the fact that most of the characters are immuned to zombie bites, zombies are incredibly slow and dumb, there is also a vaccine that can be taken to cure zombie-sickness if taken soon enough.  Zombies are only cool when there's a high likeliness of the entire world's population ending up as zombies.  Zombies are not cool when some guy in flashy underwear man-handle zombies like zerglings.

    This has to be one of the most difficult reviews I've written, because I have almost nothing to say about the book.  Why?  Because the scenes are repetitive and the set-up for character introduction are redundant.

    How EX-HEROES unfolds:
    - Introduce character
    - Lengthy background
    - Scene involve the character killing zombies
    - Introduce next character
    - Lengthy background
    - Scene involving the character killing zombies
    - Repeat 6 more times
    - Introduce plot
    - End with a cliffhanger

    One thing is for sure.  I've never read a zombie novel quite like this one.  I would say that at least 80% of the novel was outright zombie killing (zombies are known as ex-es).  It's awful that I had not a single ounce of empathy for any of the characters throughout the story.  I was shocked by how often little kids were killed, mutilated  and/or zombified.   It didn't add to the story and it felt like a ploy to get the reader's heartstrings moving.

    The plot doesn't kick in until the final couple of chapters.  If the next book picks up where this one stops, then it stands a good chance of being a decent read.  But, EX-HEROES is not a standalone book.  It's an introduction to a series.  There's a huge character cast and it really kills the pacing of the book (along with several thousands zombies).  If you are committed to reading the second book, then you might not mind this.  If you'd rather a book that can survive on its own, then feed this one to your pet zombie.

    (I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2012

    Awesome!!!

    Skeptical before I read, but now I am a believer. Great twist on the zombie genre that might be getting a bit over played.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2013

    Thoroughly entertaining, this is a light read with some entertai

    Thoroughly entertaining, this is a light read with some entertaining twists on the superhero genre.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    I like the characters and the idea was new and interesting but i

    I like the characters and the idea was new and interesting but it ran into the same problem a lot of zombie books and movies run into. In America there is no lack of guns or ammo. If a zombie Apocalypse happens anyone left alive will have enough guns and ammo to kill all the zombies in the world no problem. Still a very nice read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    Great book

    Will be buying the sequal

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    Zombie Apocalypse? Yes, please.

    I have been out of the reading routine for far too long, and I am so glad I picked this title by Peter Clines to make my return to reading again. I absolutely loved this book. For me, it has everything in a book that I like. Heroism, zombies, post-apocalyptic setting, and even a hint of romance. I recommend this title to anyone remotely interested in SF/Fantasy. An easy read that I found exremely hard to put down. Can't wait to read the sequel!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Great read.

    Normally the whole zombie thing is not something that interests me. This is my first book about zombies to be honest. When I saw it was about super heroes and zombies my interest was peaked, and by no means did this book disappoint. If you like super heroes, zombies, and/or both this is a great book. Characters felt real, back stories were great and no useless bs to bog down the story. Only complaint I it is to short.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 16, 2014

    Interesting!

    Not as corny as I thought it would be...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2014

    Awesome sauce

    You like zombies? You like super heroes? Mash up! A lot of post said this was boring but I found it thoroughly enjoyable. Let's face it the dystopian zombie genre has been lame and boring for a while. This book really brought the genre alive again.

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  • Posted February 10, 2014

    An interesting take on the current zombie craze. Not only are t

    An interesting take on the current zombie craze. Not only are there zombies, but there are super heroes in our world, and they’re working to help keep the world alive. The book probably falls into a more guilty pleasure type since there really isn’t much character development just a lot of fun zombie action. The author jumps back and forth from before the outbreak to the current post apocalypse time. By doing this he gives a good back story on each of the heroes and how the current predicament came to be. The story’s fun and interesting with enough action to really make it a good ride.

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  • Posted February 9, 2014

    So much better than expected

    I love superheroes, who doesn't? But write a book on how they would deal with the threat of a zombie apocalypse and you have a fun, exciting, nerdy read.
    The author has great character backgrounds and gives each hero their own unique personality. A great sci-fi read

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  • Posted February 7, 2014

    I'm not a fan of end-of-the-world settings, but the originality

    I'm not a fan of end-of-the-world settings, but the originality of this one grabbed my attention. Clines takes two tried, true, and overdone genres and puts both on their ear. If I had any criticism it'd be that there's not as much character development as I might like. But Clines substitutes artful character revelation, where you learn more about them, which is spread throughout this and the other books in the series. Good plots, heady action, overall very entertaining reads for anyone. How can you say "no" to the Avengers meets World War Z?

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  • Posted January 28, 2014

    Superheroes in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse! This seri

    Superheroes in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse! This series is a blast, very likeable heroes, a great sense of humor and tons of pop culture references. I read all 4 back to back and would have happily continued were there more to read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2014

    ?

    ?

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  • Posted August 23, 2013

    Loved it

    I loved this entire series. The Heroes aren't ridiculously overpowered and they have real depth to them. Heroes and Zombies (Ex's), I love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Interesting

    The zombie genre has been done and redone over and over, leaving little new ground to cover. This book changes that. It was a refreshing breath of air into a genre of books I had almost given up on. An interesting first read that introduced me to both a new author and a new world. I will be reading the rest of the Ex series, as well as the rest of the writers work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    Awesome

    Very good read! Highly recommend to every zombie fan!

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 126 Customer Reviews

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