Having enjoyed Peter Clines' Ex-Heroes (Canada, USA, Europe), I was curious to see what was going to happen next. So when I received a personalized copy of the sequel, Ex-Patriots, I wasted no time to find out if it would be another engaging read!
And I'm pleased to report that Ex-Patriots is even better than its predecessor! Clines raised the stakes and came up with another fun and entertaining read!
Here's the blurb:
Originally published by a small, print-on-demand press without any publicity or marketing support and almost no physical distribution, Peter Clines’s fantastic debut, Ex-Heroes, still managed to draw an incredible cult following and had genre fans all over the blogosphere raving when Broadway released the paperback in February. Now, Broadway is thrilled to introduce the second in Clines’s sci-fi, thriller, and horror fiction mashup series, Ex-Patriots (Broadway; on sale April 23, 2013; $14.00). Featuring the same cast of brilliant original superheroes (including Zzzap, able to transform into white-hot energy, power a small city, and transmit messages directly to phones and radio, among his other talents), expert thriller plotting, cinematic action scenes, and tons of fun geek and pop-culture references (and set in L.A., where a number of celebrities make rather humorous cameos as zombies), Ex-Patriots is one of those rare sequels that is even more gripping than the first and is sure to establish Clines as one to watch for by fans of such hits as Watchmen, World War Z, and Ready Player One. In Ex-Patriots, it’s been two years since the plague of ex-humans decimated mankind. Since then, the superhero called St. George, together with fellow heroes Cerberus, Zzzap, and Stealth, have protected the people of Los Angeles at their film-studio-turned-fortress, the Mount. But the fight is getting harder every day—and the heroes are wondering how much longer they can hold out. Then hope arrives in the form of a surviving U.S. Army battalion, and not just any battalion. The men and women of the Army’s Project Krypton survived the outbreak because they are super-soldiers, created before mankind’s fall to be better, stronger, and faster than normal humans—and their secure base in Arizona beckons as a much-needed refuge for the beleaguered heroes and their charges. But there is a secret at the heart of Project Krypton, and those behind it wield an awesome and terrifying power.
With the same wry wit and light touch that bedazzled readers of Ex-Heroes, Ex-Patriots features great new characters, cool new threats, and jaw-dropping plot twists that will amaze even the most well-versed in the adventure genre.
One of the facets I particularly enjoyed about Ex-Heroes was how chapters were split into "Then" and "Now" installments. Peter Clines used the same structure in this sequel and once more it works extremely well. Not only does it allow readers to follow events occurring in "real time," but the "Then" chapters focus on the members of the military personel and the civilians who became a part of Project Krypton. I felt that the balance between the "Now" and "Then" chapters was even better in this one. Indeed, the transitions between the past and the present are more fluid and make it easier to streamline the storylines.
The setting consisting of a devastated city of Los Angeles continues to create an arresting imagery. And yet, to a certain extent, I felt that Clines has done pretty much all that can be done in that particular environment. Hence, I was happy to see most of the action move to the Project Krypton military base. And since only four heroes from the Mount make the trip to Arizona, a more limited number of protagonists allowed Peter Clines to write this book with a tighter focus.
As a POV character, once again St. George gets a bit more "air time" than the others. But it was fun to get inside the head of the friendly Zzzap. It was also interesting to see events unfold through the eyes of both Stealth and Danielle. On the military side, protagonists such as Captain Freedom, John Smith, and Doctor Sorensen added several layers to this tale.
As was the case with its predecessor, Ex-Patriots is a relatively short work that is paced to perfection. It's an action-packed page-turner from start to finish. There is a lot more here than meets the eye, and this sequel demonstrates that there is much more depth to this series than I first believed. Ex-Patriots may not be the kind of book that will be nominated for various genre awards. Yet it's definitely an entertaining work filled with engaging characters that should satisfy even jaded SFF readers ready to root for an unlikely bunch of superheroes trying to save their little corner of the world from being overrun by zombies.
In terms of feel, probably due to the strong military influence, this work was pretty similar to Myke Cole's Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier. If you are looking for perfect summer/vacation reads, Peter Clines' Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots will scratch that itch! Looking forward to reading the third volume, Ex-Communication.