Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment - James Patterson

I'm not a fan of James Patterson's fiction for adults, but I was offered the opportunity to read and review his YA novel Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (and its sequel Maximum Ride: School's Out - Forever). I established that they were thrillers with a Science Fiction element and agreed to give them a try. The eponymous Maximum Ride is a 14 year old girl, and she and her five adopted family members are mutants. They have 98% human DNA and 2% avian DNA: which means they have wings and can fly, they have raptor-like vision, are far stronger, have far greater stamina and far bigger appetites than normal humans. The six children (Max, Fang and Iggy - also 14, Nudge - 11, Gazzy - 8, and Angel - 6) were created as experimental recombinants in a lab called the School. Jeb, a sympathetic scientist, helped them to escape and looked after them for two years, before disappearing two years before the story starts, and since then they've been living on their own. They find themselves on the run from part-human, part-wolf predators called Erasers, who used to work at the School. The Erasers have orders to kill them so that the world will never find out that they exist, and to this end Ari (the son of Jeb and a childhood friend of Max's) tracks them down, kidnaps Angel, and transports her back to the School so that "the whitecoats" can do experiments on her again. The youngsters are forced to use their special talents to rescue her whilst attempting to learn about their pasts, and their destinies.

This book is fast-paced, with lots of short chapters to speed the reader on a ride of their own. The characterisation is limited, taking second place to the plot, but it will doubtless appeal to teenager fans of thrillers and the X-Men. I didn't find it as well written as Anthony Horowitz's "Alex Rider" books, but it's an enjoyable quick read.


Kelly said...

Hi Michele!
I'm glad you didn't find them a complete waste of time :)

Michele said...

No... Whomever it was that suggested they were the American equivalent to Alex Rider was clearly suffering a bout of wishful thinking, because they're not a patch on Horowitz's books ! Patterson's are popcorn books; at least Horowitz develops Alex's character somewhat !

Anonymous said...

Hi Michele,

Thanks for the reviews. I don't care for Patterson's adult books, either (I was traumatized by a predator story set at my undergraduate university, and haven't read any of his books since). But I do think that I'll give these a look at some point.

Michele said...

Really ? Yikes !

I've been told that these books appear to be reworkings of two of his books for adults, which he mentions in a "note to readers", then denies that they're the same kids !

Anonymous said...

I'm a Maximum Ride fan! Big time! I saw that you got to review the book before it came out! I'm sooooo jealous.

Anyhoo, their website ( has a blog and even some sneak chapters of it. I hope it doesn't give too much away!

Thanks for the review!!!

Michele said...

You're welcome. Believe me, I'm properly sensible of the honour that was done me by being allowed to read and review it beforehand.