Book Review: Ex-Patriots
This was a review copy provided by the publishers so I haven’t read the first novel in this series, Ex-Heroes. That might be a disadvantage because that first book appeared to be the introduction to all four of the main characters. There were moments where I felt like I was missing an inside joke. This isn’t a knock on the book, just a note that it’s probably not the best place to jump in. And jump-in really does best describe the story here.
We fall into the story after the crazy part of the zombie apocalypse is over and when long-term survival has become the bigger concern. The four superheroes have become the de-facto rulers of a safe zone, the Mount, in the middle of Los Angeles whose survivors have been struggling along for two years in the middle of 9 million zombies. Then the thing everyone has been waiting for happens – the US Army shows up.
Turns out the Army had been working on a new breed of supersoldier shortly before all-zombie hell broke loose and Project Krypton (the supersoldier project) has been continuing to develop over the last two years. There are all of the usual suspects present – the brilliant but crazy scientist, the mysterious government liaison, the patriotic and dedicated military leader, and lots of meatheads (of both genders) just there to prove something. So the Army shows up and offers to take over for the intrepid heroes, but they want to check things out first. This is where the story really takes off.
There are new foes to contend with, and an old one, for the team of superheroes. The story isn’t complicated and the characters are more archetypal than layered but the action keeps things moving along at a quick pace. This novel strikes me as probably lighter on the zombies than the first but there’s enough fighting to not miss it. There are a few twists and turns in the story, not all of them were what I expected, so I found the novel pretty entertaining overall.
Note: as expected for any novel where there are military meatheads as characters, there is some blatant misogyny. Most of it I had no trouble shrugging off but there were some times where it struck me as entirely unnecessary and other times it was completely over the top. Most times, the characters who used the excessively degrading language didn’t really need to be distinguished as characters so I was confused as to why such horrible things were part of the dialogue. Other uses just didn’t really add anything to the character so it bothered me that this was a common theme in the words of certain characters. There were also a couple of instances where it went way further than made me comfortable, so for anyone who is sensitive to misogynistic language or might be triggered by references to non-consent this book might be one that’s better to miss.
A good summer, beach or by-the-pool, read.
Story: Peter Clines
Plot: 7 Writing: 6.5 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Broadway Paperbacks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review