by James Patterson
Release Date: September 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Maximum Ride and her Flock aren’t completely human. That is, they’re a bunch of surprisingly successful genetic experiments. Part-avian, Part-human, one feature they all share in common is there wings. Apart from flying, each of them has a special ability, such as Angel’s telepathic powers. One of the main differences The Final Warning (Book 4) and Max (Book 5) have with the first three books is that Max and the Flock have gone public; they’re not running around trying to escape from various villains in secret. With connections to a new organization aimed at environmental protection. This time, the Flock is called in to investigate baffling incidences of masses of fish dying and ships being destroyed. They struggle through army protocol, random attacks by their newest mechanical enemies the M-Geeks, and strange encounters with the new super-villain, Mr. Chu, to try to figure out what is causing these new ecological problems.
Although James Patterson’s writing style is as fresh and inventive as ever, the plot line has really suffered some damage. After the first three books, I have to admit that I was surprised that there were going to be more. The fourth book (The Final Warning) just wasn’t on par with the first three and a left many loose ends. Max is quite a bit better, but just as the reader is starting to enjoy Max’s antics again, they come face to face with random plot devices that just don’t fit in. The plot leaves quite a lot to be desired. The ending also seems like a tad bit cheesy of a cliff hanger designed to stretch out the series. I’m making it sound worse than it is, but my point is just that Max might not be what most people expect after reading the first three books (The Angel Experiment, Schools Out—Forever, and Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports).
The strongest point of Max is James Patterson’s ability to write exactly as a spunky teenage girl should sound. Max is an incredible character who’s quips and snappy wit makes her a vibrant person. The rest of the Flock’s hilarious mannerisms and quirks brighten up the story and while Max might not be an extremely exceptional story, it’s still an enjoyable read.