Ex-Purgatory by Peter Clines
|Ex-Purgatory by Peter Clines|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sam Tyler|
|Summary: When George wakes up and heads into work he thinks life is a little dull, but normal. How come then that he keeps seeing visions of the undead attacking him? What is going on, is George ill, or is something far more sinister afoot?|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 354/10 hours 24 mins||Date: January 2014|
A book in the Science fiction genre can easily get wrapped up inside itself if it not careful e.g. a dream on top of a vision, set in a future alternative world. Juggling all these concepts and creating a novel that is entertaining and at least in some way believable is not easy. This is proven in Peter Clines’ Ex-Purgatory, the fourth outing in the Ex series. Our heroes are used to being surrounded by the undead, but at the start of this novel they wake up in their old lives. What is a dream and what is a reality?
Ex-Purgatory is a slow burn of a book as Clines never reveals his cards too quickly. As someone who has not read the earlier books in the series I was unaware of the characters as they were introduced one by one. Fans will not have the same problem as me; why are we following a janitor around? However, they too may be a little put out by the pacing. The first half of the book is almost an awakening. George Bailey works as a handyman on a campus, but after meeting a strange student he starts to wonder if he has super strength. Over the next couple of hundred pages, he slowly realises that he may have links to someone called St George.
This part of Ex-Purgatory may be slow, but is well written. Clines jumps between George’s seeing real life and one that is an apocalyptic future. Some of the best scenes are when an ordinary situation morphs into a horrific one, only to jump back again. Clines has a great way of writing zombie attacks, the way that their teeth crumble on super hard skin means that the fights are far more interesting than your average man versus deadite story.
Where I felt the story began to unravel coincided with the unravelling of the character’s reality. I will not go into detail as it will spoil the plot. All I can say is that reality sits on top of reality too many times. You get the uneasy feeling that ‘it was all a dream’ comes into play. The issue with this narrative mechanic is that you feel cheated as what happens does not really count. Coupled with this is the fact that the ‘twist’ was visible from only a few chapters in. Clines gives too many clues to what is happening; making it obvious for any genre fan (and if you are planning to read a book about superheroes and zombies, my guess is you are a fan of genre books!)
‘Ex-Purgatory’ is not all bad. The action sequences are excellent and there is a lot of fun to be had, certainly at the start, as George and Co. jump from normality into a hellish alternative world. Fans of the series will get a lot from seeing the superheroes of earlier books as their alter egos. People new to the series don’t miss out too much either as the reveals later in the book will come as more of a surprise.
I reviewed the unabridged audiobook version of ‘Ex-Purgatory’ from Audible, narrated by Jay Snyder. Although the writing came through, at times the narration itself was a little deadpan for my taste; the characters rarely had the emotion the words suggested. Snyder was not always distinctive enough with the different characters, in particular the female roles. Earlier audio versions of the Ex Series’have had a cast of several voice actors; I think this would have worked better in the scenes where dialogue bounced back and forth.
For more in a similar vein you might like to try Hunger (Hammer 1) by Melvin Burgess and Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead by Christopher Golden (Editor)
You could get a free audio download of Ex-Purgatory by Peter Clines with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ex-Purgatory by Peter Clines at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Ex-Purgatory by Peter Clines at Amazon.com.
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