“Zombies are like credit card payments. If you keep getting rid of the minimum amount, you’ll never win.”
Some of you may recall, when I first cracked the cover of this book, this is how I felt:
I mean, this book has ALL THE THINGS that I love. Superheroes. Zombies. Los Angeles. Written by Peter Clines, whom I adore after reading The Fold. And, it came highly recommended by another of my favorite authors…Ernest Cline.
I. Was. Ready.
As in all things, too much hype kills a thing. I wanted too much from this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent super-hero slash zombie apocalypse novel. If you like those things, you’ll probably like the book.
Where things fell very flat for me? Rampant sexism. I love superhero everything and I love superhero things that don’t treat women as objects (ohmygodsohardtofind). Unfortunately, even though the female heroes in this novel are super bad-@ss, they are also objects for the male characters to ogle. Ugh. When are we going to let this type of writing go!? She’s a superhero. She doesn’t have to be sexy as well. Her outfit doesn’t need to hug all the quote unquote right curves (those aren’t a thing anyway). I will say, Cerberus, at least, wears a big freaking metal suit, so…hard to objectify that. AND, Stealth has this whole sub-dialogue about being objectified IRL. Perhaps Clines is aware of the issue, and trying to address it. Somehow, it just didn’t work.
St. George, the superhero who cannot keep his eyes off of Stealth, is not only sexist in this regard. He’s a “nice guy”. No, really. He is. I think he does want to do right by the world.
I turned back to her and tapped my chest. “That’s what this suit’s always been about. Not scaring people like you or Gorgon do. Not some sort of pseudo-sexual roleplay or repressed emotions. I wear this thing, all these bright colors, because I want people to know someone’s trying to make their lives better. I want to give them hope.”
He has good intentions, but he also harbors lascivious thoughts (and yes, some admiration) for Stealth. The subtext seems to be, “I know he thinks all these naughty, objectifying thoughts about Stealth, but honest, he’s a nice guy.” Blech. He never comes right out and says that he should be rewarded for his nice-guyness, but he just seems super douche-y like that. News flash, St. George, she doesn’t owe you jack. Respect the fact that she wants nothing to do with you, and move on. Not great things to think about the main character in the series. I’m hoping the sexist aspects of his character evolve or disappear in the next couple of books.
The plot is essentially us vs. them to the death. The group of heroes is protecting The Mount and trying to develop some sort of normal life amidst all of the zombies, which they call exes, as in, Ex-Humans. Ex-living things. Across town are the Seventeens. A gang from Before-the-Zombie-Apocalypse that has survived and thrived due to their enormous, not-entirely-human leader. Tensions mount throughout the novel and then come to a head in an epic battle royale.
It’s a good book. Solidly written, though not as eloquent as The Fold. It checks the boxes…superheroes, zombies, fighting, survival, all in sunny Los Angeles. It just disappointed me. Obviously not enough to make me stop the series. I’m already neck-deep in Ex-Patriots (Ex-Heroes #2). *shrugs*