Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
April 1, 2007
Little, Brown and Company
Young Adult | Science Fiction
Maximum Ride #1
In James Patterson's blockbuster series, fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the "flock"--Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel--are just like ordinary kids--only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time...like when Angel, the youngest member of the flock, is kidnapped and taken back to the "School" where she and the others were experimented on by a crew of wack jobs. Her friends brave a journey to blazing hot Death Valley, CA, to save Angel, but soon enough, they find themselves in yet another nightmare--this one involving fighting off the half-human, half-wolf "Erasers" in New York City. Whether in the treetops of Central Park or in the bowels of the Manhattan subway system, Max and her adopted family take the ride of their lives. Along the way Max discovers from her old friend and father-figure Jeb--now her betrayed and greatest enemy--that her purpose is save the world--but can she?
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson is the most ridiculous book I have ever read. BUT I can see where it will appeal to young readers. However, this book is being marketed to young adults when I really think it should be marketed it to middle graders. The voice + saving the world = total middle grade formula.
But here’s the deal: I didn’t like the voice at all, even though middle grade is one of my favorite genres to read. Just being in Max’s head was ridiculous. She has a tendency to call Angel, the youngest of the flock, “Sweetie.” Max is fourteen. (Confession: I first thought she was eleven.) Her character is all wrong, I think. She has a motherly personality and it’s like WHAT? She just really, really bothered me throughout this novel.
There was so much crammed into The Angel Experiment; a few subplots could have honestly be slashed and at least 150 pages. In the beginning, there are many POV changes: Max, Angel, and Gasman and Iggy. It was TOO MUCH. Their subplots were resolved and then it was just Max’s novel for the next 300 pages. It was like, where did their POVs go? I think if you are going to have multiple POVs, you need to be consistent throughout the story, not just at the beginning.
I mean, the flock runs around and lose sight of their mission instead of going straight to the lab where Angel is and save her. There’s a point where Nudge says “that’s where my mother is from!” and dives into a town trying to find her mother.
And not that just that: the flock goes to AFO Schmidt (FAO Schwartz)—for really no reason at all. I mean, if those chapters were cut, that would have been less ridiculous to read through. I mean, HONESTLY. What was the point of that? Anybody want to explain it to me?
And speaking of ridiculous, his name is “Gasman.” That is his name. No, not a nickname. It’s his name.
The writing is atrocious; I hate when the main character talks to the reader and it’s SO freaking obvious, which Max does. I mean, the entire prologue is basically Max writing a letter to the reader (which I skipped. Sorry, but it annoys me.)
Let’s not forget the antagonist, Ari, who is apparently seven and his father turned him into an Eraser, which like a half human, half wolf thing. O___o Ari wasn’t scary AT ALL. I find it hard to believe when a seven year old is a leader of a pack of “Erasers.” I don’t even. How can someone NOT laugh at that? Really, how?
Then there’s the ending—everybody in the flock finds out who their parents are except for Max, when it’s so, SO obvious Jeb is her real father and she still has no clue. When you make it that obvious and the MC still doesn’t get it? It makes me believe the MC is stupid. Yes, she’s fourteen, but when Jeb says, “You killed your own brother!” when Max kills Ari, it’s obvious, no? Like wtf, Max.
And yet—this appeals DOES in fact appeal to younger readers. For those who like literature that is well written with engaging characters and an awesome plot probably won’t like this book because it’s so freaking ridiculous. I would give these books to reluctant readers, those who are in junior high and have a hard time wanting to read. Maximum Ride would probably be the start of their reading habits. It’s just for me, it isn’t a book I enjoyed reading. I mean, I put it on HOLD for god’s sake. I got to page 100-something and decided to put it on hold. Then like a month later I finished it. Because of the short chapters (the average is like four pages) it was easy to say “one more chapter.”
I just wish it was marketed for middle grade readers, instead of young adult readers, as it really isn’t a young adult novel.