REVIEW: Ex-Isle by Peter Clines

Disclaimer: I love this series, mostly because it isn’t a typical capes-and-tights superhero series. This one has zombies.
What makes it even more different is that the superheroes can (and do!) become infected with the Ex-virus, becoming zombies themselves. 

So – superheroes fighting zombies…meh, okay; but – superheros fighting superhero zombies (that retain their superpowers, even after being zombified), all the while trying to rebuild society in the wake of a global zombie plague…where the zombies are still walking around years later? Now, that’s interesting*.

While I would consider this book a solid entry in the series, it has some problems. The author readily admits to these issues, and gives an explanation in the afterward; he had a shortened deadline, and messed with his process. It didn’t end well for the book, and it shows. There are some weaknesses in this book that I’m not used to seeing from this author. For instance, there is a flashback scene that goes all the way back to Ex-Heroes, but isn’t germane to the current book. It’s just hanging there, and is never referenced again, nor is it necessary to the denouement. It leaves one feeling vaguely unsatisfied; what was the point?; did I miss something? (I actually went back through and checked, and can’t find a reason for this particular scene).

The rest of the book runs true to trope; other survivors are found, but have become xenophobic and suspicious of outsiders, especially superpowered outsiders. Lies are told, battles are fought between outsiders and supers, and then supers/outsiders vs. exes.

I think the people of the Mount were/are far more interesting than the new settlement discovered by Zzzap, honestly, probably because we’ve spent four books so far with them. They’re growing and evolving, while the new settlement people seem to have closed off and stagnated. 

Which makes me wonder – very little is mentioned of new births on the Mount, and if there have been, have any new superheroes been born? Or has anyone suddenly manifested powers, someone that wasn’t super prior to the Ex-virus? Also, I really want to know what happened to Regenerator. I’d love to see these questions addressed in the next few books.
Still, if you’ve read the others, I’d recommend this book. It’s good to discover that there are other survivors out there, other superheros, and even a supervillian or two still wandering around in what’s left of the world.

Other books in the series:

Ex-Heroes

Ex-Patriots

Ex-Communication

Ex-Purgatory

*Plus, the constantly-clicking teeth motif gives me the serious heebie-jeebies. It’s an awesome conceit.