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Maximum Ride : the angel experiment
Book
2005
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Gr. 7---9. Patterson, best known for his dark, gritty thrillers featuring psychologist Alex Cross, first dipped his toes in the waters of children's literature with SantaKid (2004). Aiming at an older youth readership this time and reworking ideas and characters that appeared first in his adult novels When the Wind Blows (1998) and The Lake House (2003), he delivers an action-packed cross between Gertrude Chandler Warner's Boxcar Children and Marvel Comics' X-Men. Fourteen-year-old Max (short for Maximum Ride) leads an usual group of children, escapees from an institution that designed them by grafting avian DNA onto human genes. Yup, these kids have wings. When Angel, the smallest of the group, is kidnapped by mutants and taken back to the school, Max and her family determine to get her back--no matter what. Patterson occasionally forgets his audience here, as evidenced by his sardonic tone and such glib adult asides as they found their prey: moi, but he's picked a comfortable formula (orphans protecting one another and making a home together), which he's cushioned with an abundance of slavering beasts, childhood heartaches, and unresolved issues--all in preparation for the sequel in 2006, in which Max will, presumably, assume the role she's been assigned here: savior of the world. Expect the Patterson name to attract a crossover audience of both adults and youth. --Stephanie Zvirin Copyright 2005 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Nonstop action carries this page-turner breathlessly from start to finish. Fourteen-year-old Max (full name Maximum Ride) and her "flock" have escaped from a horrific School that kept them in cages and tortured them in the name of scientific research. Max and her flock are genetic experiments: 98% human with 2% avian genes grafted on, they're super-powerful--and can fly. "Erasers" (violent genetic combinations of men and wolves) pursue them at every turn. Crossing the country first to save their youngest from the School's scientific sadists and then track down their histories (were they born from parents or test tubes?), they wind up in New York City's sewers. Max develops shattering headaches and a Voice in her head that crashes nearby computers and tells her to save the world. Is it a friend or the flock's betrayer? Short chapters and paragraphs are smoothly accessible; Max's easy-to-read voice alternates between immediate and sardonic. The ending reveals frustratingly few answers, leaving layers of mystery for the sequel. Speed, suspense, excitement. (Science fiction. YA) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
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?
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