Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

Maximum Ride

Author: James Patterson

Publication: Little, Brown and Company 2005

Pages: 464

Overall Rating:  bth_4-star-rating_zps38e772a0[1]                      

Rating for Action: bth_3-star-rating_zps73bdba73[1] 

Quantity of Action: bth_4-star-rating_zps38e772a0[1]

Age Category:  13+

Brief Summary: Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Angel, and the Gasman have escaped from the scientific facility where they were born and raised.  Doctors there created them as part of an experiment.  They’re 98% human and 2% bird.  They have fantastic vision, they’re strong, and they can fly.  Now they’re on the run, chased by Erasers  – creatures who are part human and part wolf.  But just staying free isn’t enough.  They also have to find out what’s going on – why they were created in the first place, and why the scientists are so intent on getting them back.

Age of Main Character: 14

What I Liked the Most: This is a fast paced story with relatively few breaks in the action.  Patterson keeps upping the pressure on Max and her flock, as the Erasers track them down again and again, taking away their hiding places and leaving them penniless and starving.  The moments in between action are also a lot of fun as the kids explore life outside the school, discover new foods, and find out just what they’ve been missing all these years.

What I Liked the Least: Max’s character can be a bit too snarky – actually most of them are bit on the snarky side.  No waiting around trying to think of the perfect comeback for Max and her flock.  They’ve always got something witty to say, no matter how terrifying and life threatening the situation.  That can be fun up to a point, but sometimes it gets downright annoying.

How Good was the Action? Good.  There are relatively few fights, and they don’t last long, but Max and the flock have many narrow escapes from the Erasers.  They break out of a secure medical facility, get in a car crash, make a bomb, battle starvation, and make their way through the New York subway system to find a hidden research center.  Right up to the end you keep wondering if they’re going to get caught or if they’ll manage to discover the truth about their past.

How Engaging was the Story? All six kids really come alive as individuals, and we’re quickly and easily plunged into their quest to escape the Erasers and find out where they came from.  Patterson does a great job of constantly putting fresh obstacles in their way, dialing up the tension, and tossing new twists into the story.   As some members of the flock begin to develop new and unexpected powers, and Max contemplates the idea that she was created to Save the World, the book draws us in deeper and creates a great jumping off point for the next book in the series.

Overall Assessment: This is a good read.  You get caught up in the life of the flock and their quest to uncover the truth about their past.  And as the questions about who they are and why they were created continue to grow, the book gets ever more absorbing.  The only real downside is that Max and the others sometimes sound too smart and flippant for their own good.  The endless witty comebacks and putdowns get a bit tiresome.  But even that can’t really detract from the story, which grabs hold of you early on and doesn’t let go.

Profanity: None

Sex: None.  Max does have unspoken feelings for Fang, but nothing physical ever comes of it.

Violence: There are definitely plenty of fights and narrow escapes, and some of the fights between members of the flock and the Erasers can be pretty graphic.  But at the same time it’s clear that they’re fighting nonhuman creatures, which somehow makes it feel less real.  In addition, one member of the flock is tortured by adult scientists – hit, burned, punched with a cattle prod, and made to run until she passes out.  And Max gets in a fight with a gang in which she gets shot in the shoulder.  Still, no one dies and most fights end with Max and the flock flying to safety.


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