Review: Ex Purgatory by Peter Clines

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Publisher: Crown
Publishing Date: January 2014
ISBN:9780804136617
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2.0/5.0

Publishers Description: When he’s awake, George Bailey is just an ordinary man. Five days a week he coaxes his old Hyundai to life, curses the Los Angeles traffic, and clocks in at his job as a handyman at the local college. But when he sleeps, George dreams of something more. George dreams of flying. He dreams of fighting monsters. He dreams of a man made of pure lightning, an armored robot, a giant in an army uniform, a beautiful woman who moves like a ninja. Then one day as he’s walking from one fix-it job to the next, a pale girl in a wheelchair tells George of another world, one in which civilization fell to a plague that animates the dead…and in which George is no longer a glorified janitor, but one of humanity’s last heroes. Her tale sounds like madness, of course. But as George’s dreams and his waking life begin bleeding together, he starts to wonder—which is the real world, and which is just fantasy?

Review: This novel is one of the first that has me in a rating quandary. I enjoyed the story-line/plot, even with the undeveloped characters that seemed one dimensional. There were interesting moments in the story-line that kept you guessing along with the characters, as to whether the world they were in was valid. So you have this band of “super heroes” one of which can fly, breathe fire and is indestructible. Sound like Superman? Pretty close but he can still bruise and feel pain. Also the zombies are slow, shambling teeth clackers whom our heroes destroy at their leisure without breaking a sweat. Now where is the challenge in that? Superman as a comic hero was largely boring unless his mortal coil could be challenged. The only threat to our super hero is his close attachment to his group. And you still don’t have a sense of threatened panic when the others are attacked because the writer just didn’t develop those inter-relationships.

Here is my problem. You have page after page of aforementioned superhero and super-gang, obliterating hoards of slow moving zombies in graphic fashion. There is really no challenge to our hero’s in the form of zombies that can kill them, even though the author creates this dire dialogue between the characters. Although this novel has a real inventive story-line with colorful descriptions, it is drawn out with replicated fight scenes…. CRASH!…BOOM!….BASH!

Besides the crappy cover art, this novel was a letdown. You get tired of the mashing of zombies by a group of people that really fear nothing. Their only challenge is Mr. Smith (Matrix referent in novel) whose evil power is the crafting of dream states and controlled responses through verbal suggestions. Scary, right? Not. The only well-developed character was Corpse Girl, but then the author abandons any further development of Corpse Girl, except as comic relief perched on the shoulder of Captain Freedom.

This novel had a real good chance of scoring high, only if the characters had some flaws, both physical and mental. The zombies were too benign and should have been the crazy-fast, wall climbing type. This novel needs a huge re-write in both character development and story-line compression. I rated this 2.0/5.0 as it is half way to completion.

*UPDATE*
I have received a couple of real nasty comments about my review, although I think the review is not that bad. It seems the author and one of his sycophantic groupies are being bad. No worries. I thought I would read the novel again, as they had some salient points about reading the prior novels in the series in order to gain a sense of continuity. So after reading it again, I have dropped my score even lower, as it still sux. If a novel in a series cannot stand alone and entertain, then it is still crap. So thanks to all you creepy/nasty cultists of Ex-(your name here) for making me waste reading time on pure drivel.

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3 thoughts on “Review: Ex Purgatory by Peter Clines

  1. Thanks for your review even though I am a bit apprehensive.

    I’ve read the first three books in the series and enjoyed them all to varying degrees. I read the vague Publishers Weekly review:
    http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-8041-3661-7#path/978-0-8041-3661-7

    That did mention reading the first books in the series before this one.

    Starting at book four, especially if you don’t like the genre, isn’t really a good idea.

    Anyone who enjoys zombies, superheroes, and pop culture references should start this series from book one (Ex-Heroes).

  2. This installment was definitely a letdown. I really enjoyed the first three novels in this series but this one just didn’t match up to them. Repetitive is probably the best word to describe this novel.

    • The worst of this review process has been the attacks by either the author or his groupies. I almost took it down as it was getting real negative.

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