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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ex-Isle by Peter Clines (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Official Author Website 
Order the book HERE 
Read Fantasy Book Critic Interview with Peter Clines 
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of Ex-Heroes 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Ex-Patriots 
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of Ex-Communication 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Ex-Purgatory
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Junkie Quatrain 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of 14 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Fold
Read I See Dead People by Peter Clines (Guest Post) 

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Peter Clines was born and brought up in Maine, he moved to California when he grew up and worked in Hollywood for a number of years. He has also been a prop master for several movies and TV shows. He has published several pieces of short fiction and countless articles on the film and television industry. He has previously written reviews for the Cinema Blend website and for the Creative Screenwriting magazine as well interviewed many famous film personas such as Frank Darabont, Paul Haggis, Kevin Smith, George Romero, Akiva Goldsman, David Goyer, Mark Herman, Nora Ephron among many others. He currently lives in Southern California.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: 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.

FORMAT/INFO: Ex-Isle is 400 pages long divided over a prologue, thirty-one numbered/titled chapters, and an epilogue. All chapters are either divided into “Then” or “Now” sections. Narration is in the first-person for all “Then” chapters and in third person for all the “Now” sections. The POV's both first person and third person are via George Bailey (St. George), Madelyn Sorenson, Danielle, Zzzap (Barry Burke), and a few other characters. Ex-Isle is the fifth book in the Ex series. And it wouldn’t be a good idea to start reading the series from this book.

Ex-Isle will be published in paperback and e-book format on February 2, 2016 via Broadway Paperbacks (Crown Publishing) in the US.

CLASSIFICATION: Mixing zombies with superheroes in a desolate world, Peter Clines’ Ex series is George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead crossed with The Avengers (Marvel).

ANALYSIS: Ex-Isle is the fifth book in Peter Clines’ exhilarating series, which has an interesting take on superheroes and zombies. So far I’ve been a big fan of the series and Peter has wowed me with each volume. So when this book was announced, I was very excited to see where he would take the story after the tumultuous event of Ex-Purgatory.

This book has two plot threads, the first one focuses on St. George, Zzzap and Madelyn the corpse girl who undertake a mission to look into an island made up of ships. On another track, we have Danielle, Cesar and the super soldiers who decide to take a sojourn out into the country to try to see if they can scrounge more help in the food department. The story takes its turns twisting both threads and upping the tension.

The main story deals with a new group that’s discovered which is ruled by a person who can be best described as this world’s Aquaman. But he’s not the benevolent kind and neither is the group. Our heroes find themselves in a quandary as the folks they decided to help look at them with scorn and distrust. Back at the outpost, Danielle is trying to overcome her PTSD and imagine life without being in the cerebrus armor. Life is made doubly hard when the exes are just on the other side of a chainlink fence and the super soldiers are acting a tad weird.

Overall this story was something that falls short of the high standard that has been set by the previous four books. Ex-Isle tries to go with a different track but ultimately isn’t quite able to shake off the malaise that hangs around the story. Yes the story is fast paced and very exciting but so far we don’t get something new and feel it’s a bit of the same. St. George and Stealth’s relationship isn’t explored much and after Ex-Isle I was hoping to see more of them together. Madelyn does get a lot more page time, which is tremendous. Her character is one of the most tragic ones and she has quite a baptism by fire within this book.

Overall Ex-Isle is a pleasant read, it doesn’t have the suspense or mystery of the first 4 volumes. It does have a charm to it and thereby making it a fun read. As a reader I’ve enjoyed reading more about all my favorite characters but as a fan I’ve come to expect so much more from Peter Clines.

CONCLUSION: To sum it up, Ex-Isle is a good read but doesn’t match the high of its preceding volumes. I’m still a fan of Peter Clines and will gladly recommend the Ex-Heroes series one and all as Peter’s writing and characters are what make this series a special one.



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