Attention everyone: the internet is a jerk. What started off as a great article soon became…a non existant article. All thanks to the interwebz.
The book I’m going to be talking about (for the second time) today is the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson.
Patterson published the first book, Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment in 2005 and has followed up with a good many books ever since.
Unlike the other books I’ve talked (rather, typed) about lately, this book really isn’t geared for very young readers. If I could put an age limit on this book, it would be for kids 10 and up. Unlike many books for little kids, this book series is a lot longer (novel-length, so about a standard 300 some pages) and contains violence, some swearing (few and far between, but it’s still there), and situations I wouldn’t classify as adult, but definately not for young children.
The one aspect of this series I really like is that the reader sees a lot of circumstances where the characters are put into situations where they need to depend on self-reliance. I think this is a great thing for young adults and teenagers (same thing? I don’t know) to experience because it lets them understand that kids are able to do way more than they thought before.
I mean, it’s hard enough getting teens to make their beds in the morning. Am I right?
So, in that regard, I think this series is great for kids to read. I also think this book introduces violence in literature in a good way; it isn’t overdone but it isn’t exactly fluff and bunnies throughout the flock’s journey either. Not that there’s anything wrong with fluff and bunnies.
The flock is what the main characters in the series call themselves. Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gazzy, and Angel are all kids (respectively ranging from ages 14-6 at the beginning of the story). They were experiments of a scientific organization they call The School and wound up being 98% human, 2% avian.
So they have wings. Pretty cool, huh?
As you can tell, the book is science fiction/fantasy, which is great for kids who love reading just for the escapism.
Now, I haven’t really had a whole lot of negative criticism on here, but I’m gonna say, even though I like the series I find myself very frustrated with it at the same time.
Mr. Patterson, if you’re listening (and I doubt you are. Does anyone even read these? Hello? Hello!) I just want to say I think this series has a great concept; the idea of avian humans is fresh, new, exciting, but I think the way you executed it could have been a bit better.
First of all, I would have loved to have seen the story in a more serious light. I understand the book is for kids and it can’t be all dark, but I think the flock’s captivity in The School has so much potential. And I haven’t read Fang or Angel OR Max yet, so I don’t know if those have more accounts of their times in The School, but I would love to read that.
This book also has an incredible amount of teenage angst in it, which isn’t bad because, hey, teens are angsty little things. This is fact. But this angst, coupled with the stress of Max having to save the world (did I forget to mention that? Oops) gets…not overdone, but…oh gosh, how can I explain this…It’s like if you were chewing on a piece of gum for a while and it starts to lose its flavor and it gets all hard and icky after a while. Yeah.
Another aspect of the book that I don’t care very much for is the whole “will-they-won’t-they” idea with Fang and Max. It’s reasonable that maintaining a realationship while saving the world would be a bit much, so in that respect it’s realistic but…ahhh it gets really frustrating.
I also get frustrated with Jeb/the Voice and their cryptic messages. They keep saying the same thing/giving the same “advice” throughout the story but nothing gets accomplished.
Alright, enough of my whine-fest. Go check it out- despite my criticisms! You won’t be sorry!
Keep reading, my peeps! Till next time!