Ex-Heroes, Fiction, Peter Clines, Reviews

Review: Peter Clines – Ex-Purgatory

There haven’t been any blogposts lately. Sorry ’bout that, I’ve been kind of busy. That didn’t stop me from finishing Ex-Purgatory though! I took the time to read some other reviews after I read the book. While most people seem to rate the book less than its predecessor, I think it is the best book in the series so far.

Brief Recap

When he is awake, George Bailey is living a normal life in Los Angeles. He works as a janitor at a university campus and drives around in his old Hyundai. When he sleeps, he dreams of a different George Bailey. He flies around in a different Los Angeles, surrounded by monsters, talking to people he does not know. He dreams about being shot by soldiers and fighting giant monsters.


His sleep is causing him troubles. He is getting more and more tired and this starts to affect his work. Then, the strangest thing happens. A girl in a wheelchair comes over to him at campus and says that the world he lives in is not the real world. She mentions how George is a superhero who devotes his life to save the world from the monsters after a devastating plague.

That doesn’t make any sense. George knows the life he is living is his real life. Or isn’t it? Soon, he starts seeing merges of the reality he’s living and the one he’s dreaming. Is he going insane? After contacting the people mentioned by the strange girl, they seem to also dream of a different reality. But they can’t remember what those monsters are called. And then it hits him: ex-humans. And he knows he is not where he is supposed to be.

Characters I’ve Missed

In my previous reviews, I always gave a list of characters here that you should pay attention to in the books. However, in this series, most of the characters return each time. It feels a monkey job to keep doing that, so here’s a list of characters that I have missed in the story. No worries: Saint George, Stealth, Cerberus, and the other heroes are all in there.

  • Legion was the major supervillain throughout the first three books of the series. Though he is mentioned at certain points in the plot, he does not play an active role. This is sad because I think Legion is a superb character. And really funny too!
  • Even though Zzzap is one of the heroes that lives in both the fake and real reality, I have come to like him for his humorous discussions and pop-culture references. Near the end of the story, Zzzap gets his chance to show this off again as he explains the story plot in terms of The Matrix (again). But still, after the previous books where he had a larger role, it feels like he’s left out of this one. Even if it’s only a little.
  • After making his first superpowers known in Ex-Patriots, The Driver is considered a superhero in The Mount. He is an important character in this book as he drives around with George in his old Hyundai, trying to communicate via the radio. However, it feels like he’s not giving enough credit for the powers he has. At some point in the story, it’s like he’s not used in the story at all.

My Two Cents

I liked the first books of the Ex-Heroes series, but was starting to feel like the plot was thinning out. There seemed to be only so little Peter Clines could do with his series. Especially after bringing in magic, it looked like there was more of that coming.

I was very happy with this Ex-Purgatory. It is a fresh plot in a series built for amazing storylines. At no point of this book did I think “what the hell is going on here”. Instead, I loved the build-up. The story holds you in a grip that makes you finish it at superspeed.

What made this book stand out from the series is that it shows the superheroes as they were before they had superpowers. There is a great psychological struggle they have to go through. And then, like in Ex-Communication, the story ends with an epic battle. Remember The Avangers: Age of Ultron, where Hulk fights against Iron Man? It’s totally like that, and completely different.


As I already said, I really loved this book. It is in my opinion the best book in the series so far, and deserves a 5 star rating! There’s the known formula of superheroes fighting with zombies, as well as a deeper mental struggle the characters have to go through. All in all, I regretted not reading about fights with Legion in this book. But hey, there’s a fifth instalment I can read now, right? I can’t wait to read it!


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