Holy Shambling Horror, Batman!
Ex-Patriots combines superheroes and zombies, the chocolate and peanut butter of genre entertainment, and the result is delicious. Picking up shortly after the devastation at the end of Ex-Heroes, Ex-Patriots does a very clever job of relocating the heroes and keeping them out of their comfort zone. For those of you who haven’t read the entertaining first novel in this series, there are superheroes fighting zombies. If you need more than that, this novel also has a secret military program and a mysterious threat. If you need more than that, then we can’t be friends.
I enjoyed the first novel a bunch, but I loved the sequel. The setting is more compelling, the plot is tighter, and the characters are more developed. In every way, this is an improvement and you should read it.
Ex-Patriots (puns ftw!) mostly takes place on an army base in Yuma, Arizona, where a secret program to develop supersoldiers has had some impressive results. Unfortunately, because this is a zombie story, the military holds some dark secrets. This is a beautiful case of homage with a few really satisfying twists. We’re talking the “Oh man, I didn’t see that coming, but it makes perfect sense” kind of plot twist. You know, the good kind.
This is also one of the most plot-driven novels I’ve read in a while. The stakes are raised a little bit in every scene, until the dam breaks and you realize just how fraught the situation is. It is important to remember that the base is completely surrounded by thousands of zombies when the stakes are low at the beginning. Things get really messy, and it is so much fun.
That’s really the whole point right there. This book is fun. It is proud to be genre. It wears its pulpy roots on its sleeve. I can recommend this to anyone who is jonesing for a superhero novel or a good zombie read, and we both know that you are. This book is proof that chocolate and zombies work well together.
Four Shambling Armies of the Relentless Undead out of Five