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Amadan na Briona

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Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon, Ron McLarty
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Ellen Datlow, Laird Barron, Conrad Williams, Ramsey Campbell
Locus Solus (Alma Classics)
Raymond Roussel
Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Mira Grant, Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom
Ex-Patriots (Ex-Heroes, #2) - Peter Clines This is definitely popcorn entertainment. Superheroes + zombies: it's a novelized comic book, and it reads like one. I thought the first book (Ex-Heroes) was pretty cheesy and mediocre if enjoyable. The second book is also cheesy, maybe just a notch above mediocre. Clines's writing has improved in this sequel, and it particularly shows in the plotting. Instead of a dumb boss fight with a predictable conclusion at the end, there are several fairly clever (if very much conforming to standard superhero tropes) twists, some of which made things that initially had me rolling my eyes suddenly become more credible. The battle at the end is more complex and has more factions and is left a little bit inconclusive (well, in typical genre fashion, you can't ever have a villain decisively killed).

In Ex-Heroes, we were introduced to a gang of superheroes who were defending "The Mount," a fortress inside what was once Paramount Studios in Hollywood, where human survivors have barricaded themselves against the zombie hordes that have overrun the world. In this second book in what is obviously meant to be an ongoing series, we're introduced to a group of "super soldiers" who were engineered by the U.S. Army just before everything went to apocalypse. Led by "Captain Freedom" (yeah, yeah), they discover the Mount when they fly a predator drone overhead. The heroes send out Zzzap, their energy form hero, and soon the superheroes are meeting the super-soldiers, there is the obligatory initial misunderstanding leading to a completely unnecessary hero battle, followed by the two groups deciding to join together, followed by the discovery of sinister secrets, a hidden bad guy, a returning foe, and more "killing dead zombie celebrity" jokes.

I gave the first book 3 stars; I give this one 3.5. I don't think Peter Clines is going to be putting out anything really fantastically well-written or brilliant, but although falling a bit below my usual quality threshold for series I want to keep following, I have enjoyed both books enough that I will probably snap up the next book when it's released. This is very much hardcore zombie-superhero-nerd fantasy, but if that hits your sweet spot, take the time to enjoy the unabashed enthusiastic genre love here.