Ex-Isle: A Novel
Paperback | Kindle | Audio
Written by Peter Clines
Release Date: February 2nd, 2016
What would the X-Men do during a zombie apocalypse?
Okay, so not the X-Men specifically.
Peter Clines Ex-Heroes series has examined this “super” interesting “what would you (superheroes) do” scenario – Clines has his own “metahumans,” both heroes and villains. And sometimes… not even human. Once the “Ex” dust settles, what is life like for these heroes that live amongst the humans, and the little society they have created? Ex-Isle is that story.
A mysterious man-made island was found out at sea by Zzapp (who can turn into a traveling bolt of lightning) – an island made of many ships and boats tied together. Together he, St George (can fly, jump crazy heights, has impenetrable skin), and Corpse Girl (not an ex, is dead, exes don’t notice her, can regenerate when ripped apart, mind almost erases every day) go to check it out, and hopefully rescue some people. They definitely find some people, but it is not what they were expecting. Plus, Lumeria has one of the sickest ways to keep people in line I have read about in a long, long time. You’ll see.
Back at the Mount, tensions are high between the different groups. Danielle aka Cerebrus is trying to get over her massive zombie (Exes) PTSD, but it is nearly impossible. Can you blame her?
There were two standout distinctions about this novel. The first, the unique first person perspectives of both villains and heroes (especially when it came to Eliza). Villains were described as such when it was the ex-heroes turn to narrate, but then every so often it would be their adversary speaking up, giving the (very credible) reasons behind their motivations. The second is the imagery. I could hear and see and smell the story, just by the twists of the language.
“Gray intestines spilled out onto the deck, and lumps of meat and muscle fell after them.”
When I do book reviews, I try to stop every chapter or so to jot down a brief summary, with the intent to use later to build the review. I could not do that with Ex-Isle. One, because the action was continuous, and two… well, because the action was continuous. I thought people were going to die on every page. For this novel? Could. Not. Stop. And don’t get me wrong, people did die… I’ll just let you read to find out who though.
Peter Clines once again draws you in to care about these ragtag heroes, even the human ones. My only criticism (and it can’t be helped) is that there are so many heroes now (and hints of more out there), that some of the others had no room to be further developed. The series may have to branch out to “one-offs” with simultaneous timelines, some heroes guesting in others (like crossovers).
All in all, fans of the series will enjoy the revisit to The Mount, delight in the new visit to Lumeria, and even new readers can start the series here, without diminished enjoyment. This novel does explain a bit of the history to catch you up, without bludgeoning you over the head with it – much like how Madelyn’s journal serves her.
“It is an easy thing to rule by fear.”
It’s been years since the tidal wave of ex-humans washed over the world. Since then, thanks to St George and his fellow heroes, the community known as the Mount has been the last known outpost of safety, sanity, and freedom left to humanity.
But even for the Mount, survival still balances on a razor’s edge—and after a disaster decimates the town’s food supply, the heroes must make a risky gamble to keep its citizens from starving.
And then the news arrives of a strange, man-made island in the middle of the Pacific. An island populated not just by survivors, but by people who seem to be farming, raising children, living—people who, like the heroes, have somehow managed to keep the spark of civilization alive.
Paying this place a visit should be a simple goodwill mission, but as the island reveals itself to be a sinister mirror-image of what the heroes have built at the Mount, the cost of their good intentions becomes dangerously high.